Notable Quotable: Adam Machado of the Arhoolie Foundation

By Rebecca Sutton
quote by Adam Machado

“Today there are 7 or 8 billion people mashing together, and we don’t always play nice. Music is one way we can help to develop and nurture that sense of kinship, and maybe even a little kindness.” — Adam Machado

When Chris Strachwitz founded Arhoolie Records in 1960, it was clear that he had a different approach than most record producers. Rather than bring musicians into a studio and finesse songs to sonic perfection, he traveled the country seeking out the very best regional musicians he could find, from Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin’ Hopkins to Los Pinguinos del Norte, and if possible, recorded them on the spot. He wanted to capture the kind of spontaneous magic he heard when they played in small venues for audiences, which Strachwitz felt helped breathe energy into the performances. The first take was typically the only one he wanted.

“He likes to think of himself as a song catcher,” said Adam Machado, executive director of the Arhoolie Foundation, which documents, preserves, and raises awareness about roots music, and which recently received a National Endowment for the Arts grant. “It's a snapshot, he likes to say, of a moment. It's never going to be the same again. That's where the catching comes in—you’ve got to catch it where it is, as it is, when it is. MORE