Jeb Loy Nichols: A journey into 'Cosmic American Music'
While making The United States Of The Broken Hearted with Adrian Sherwood, Jeb Loy Nichols mentioned Gram Parson’s concept of ‘Cosmic American Music’, the melting mix of musical genres that constitutes a uniquely American sound. Nichols had in mind a music that floated in the American air, a music as primal and damaged as the people who were nourished by it. If America was a country built on violence, Cosmic American Music was both its soundtrack and its apology. A music made of dislocated visitors and homesick wanderers. A music that disregarded national purity and replaced it with a new purity of hope. Gospel, jazz, blues, country, soul, hip-hop – music that was rooted in the soil, beauty, money and chaos of America. An ecstatic music that reached for the eternal but stayed rooted in the hard fought present. A music that shamelessly, like a good neighbour, borrowed and shared, that didn’t recognise borders. The sound of a people trying to make sense of a senseless world.