Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Si Kahn: New Wood [June Appal, 1975]
I was put off at first by the indifference to sales claimed in the booklet that accompanies this. Such smug anticommercialism usually betrays mixed motives in a purportedly political artist, and I associated this smugness with Kahn's willfully austere Appalachian music. But the songs soon shone through, correctives every one (despite an occasional baldness of instructional intent) to the romanticizations of Southern pastoral individualism that are currently so profitable. Kahn is an aficionado of poor-white virtues, but not at the expense of his vivid understanding of the labor, sadness, frustration, and small-mindedness that go along with them. B+