From the Alan Lomax Archive, hope amid ‘Hard Times’

"Songs of Hard Times: Up, Over & Through"
"Songs of Hard Times: Up, Over & Through"

People have always dealt with hard times by singing about them, and that seems to provide a source of comfort not only to the singer, but to listeners who might be enduring hard times of their own. Songs about “the trouble I’ve seen” are an indelible part of American roots music traditions and those of other countries as well. Nathan Salsburg — who, as curator of the Alan Lomax Archive, knows a thing or two about those traditions — has drawn 20 recordings from that voluminous resource for us to listen to in our current difficulties. Entitled “Songs of Hard Times: Up, Over & Through,” the collection ranges across American blues, folk, and sacred music to vernacular selections from Trinidad, England, and Spain. And as the title indicates, these songs aren’t just about hard times, but about overcoming them — which is what, Salsburg hopes, they will help us do: “May they provide some additional inspiration to you on your way up, over and through.” The collection is available at alanlomaxarchive.bandcamp.com