Jake Blount (pronounced: blunt) is an award-winning interpreter of Black folk music based in Providence, RI. Initially recognized for his skill as a string band musician, Blount has charted an unprecedented, Afrofuturist course on his pilgrimage through sound archives and song collections. In his hands, the banjo, fiddle, electric guitar and synthesizer become ceremonial objects used to channel the insurgent creativity of his forebears. From transfixing solo sets to full-band festival appearances complete with crowd-surfing and ecstatic chants, Blount’s performances - like his recent Smithsonian Folkways release, The New Faith - seamlessly merge centuries-old traditional songs with the trappings and techniques of modern Black genres. This “genrequeer” approach to the traditions has earned his music a place in the very same archives from which he extracts his repertoire. In defiance of genre categories, revisionist histories and linear time, Blount fashions an “Afrofuturist folklore” that disintegrates the boundaries between acoustic and electric, artist and medium, and ancestor and progeny.
Balancing his taste for arcane source material with his desire to reach diverse audiences, Blount has shared his music at venues including Carnegie Hall, Newport Folk Festival, the Library of Congress and NPR’s Tiny Desk. His knowledge and skill have deepened over the course of his still-young career, and his vision has grown more ambitious - but his music has only grown in popular appeal. Blount’s debut solo record, Spider Tales, was ranked among the best of 2020 by outlets including Bandcamp and The New Yorker. NPR, The Guardian, Rolling Stone and more named The New Faith one of the best roots releases of 2022. With the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, two International Folk Music Awards nominations and two first-place ribbons from Clifftop already under his belt, Blount’s star continues to rise.