Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (from Various Artists on Numero Group) - Country Rock as a term was a function of the music industry to understand and market the mix of musical styles in bands like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Poco, The Band, Grateful Dead, Mother Earth, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and host of other groups that saw genres as a buffet where they pick and choose rather than commit to just one choice. Musically, it was that freedom in sound that prompted Gram Parsons (solo, The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers) to coin the term Cosmic American Music. Gram was considered the father of Country Rock, though he hated the term. He felt that ‘we are playing roots music. It’s a form of love music, a binding type of music between people’. Numero Group is an archival record label that has gathered some unheard sounds from the period. A time when Rock radio was dominated by major label superstars like Linda Ronstadt and Eagles. Indie artists were stuck with small, local labels to get their music out to the world. A time when making an album took more than having electrical outlets in your bedroom. Wayfaring Stranger: Cosmic American Music goes to calendar pages from 1968 to 1980 for the nineteen recordings on the album.
The music on Wayfaring Strangers is familiar in sound to the bigger artists of their era. The stories, much like the music, were buried in the past. Numero Group found bits and pieces of the background for the musicians, and carefully curates the album art and details on the album booklet. The Black Canyon Gang were farm and ranch hands making music for their own entertainment as were Jimmy Carter and the Dallas County Green. Artists had career dreams stopped when their demo went unheard (Mistress Mary) or were a part of sham record deals (Sandy Harless). Kathy Heidiman was a San Jose artist that did an album of songs written by Dia Joyce with a history lost in the past and Kenny Knight simply trashed his masters by throwing them into a dumpster. Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music gives air time to music that deserves to be heard and given a chance to become ‘a binding type of music between people’.