Roger Knox and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts Stranger In My Land

Roger Knox and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts Stranger In My Land
7
It's likely a little-known fact in North America that country music — that very white genre — has long resonated deeply with Australasia's indigenous peoples, the Maori and Aborigines. Roger Knox is a veteran Australian aboriginal singer who is legendary down under (he's nicknamed "the black Elvis") and whose reputation will hopefully be spread here via this compelling disc. Stranger In My Land is a collaboration with the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, the star-studded roots collective headed by Jon Langford (the Mekons and Waco Brothers). The likes of Langford, Sally Timms, the Sadies, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Andre Williams, Kelly Hogan, Dave Alvin and Charlie Louvin add spirited accompaniment, but it's the vital, hearty voice of Knox that takes centre stage. He covers songs from his aboriginal peers, including the great Archie Roach (the heart-wrenching "They Took the Children Away"), as well as several unrecorded, handed-down folk songs. They describe his people's deep love for their land, as well as depicting the brutal oppression and racism they have faced. Closing track "Home in the Valley" is a gorgeous duet with Sally Timms, backed by the Sadies. This album isn't just a fascinating cultural artefact; it's a powerfully moving musical statement that demands attention. (Bloodshot)