I've been traveling a lot of late. One thing that has been a nice tonic is listening to Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio hour on my iPod shuffle as I drift from airport/cab/train, to site to yet another flight.
I am of an age when I can remember Dylan from his early start. A fokie in NYC, a rebel in Newport, etc were all seminal works for me. I had all his albums and once worked with one of Zimerman's high school colleagues.
Theme Time Radio Hour is a fantastic series. Dylan the DJ takes a theme and spends an hour looking at music that supports it. Most of the music is less than mainstream, which is what makes it so much fun. This is a real look at American music, and some very interesting narrative. As a DJ, Dylan is a poet, a guru, and has great taste not to mention an incredible knowledge.
As I create this post, I'm listening to the 17th show, Friends and Neighbors (see the playlist on XM's site). The music and musicians are ones I do not know for the most part. But the music is very good. I have no idea as to the copyright situation, so I won't link to any download site. But If you search for it, there are some downloads you can find.
I hope that this entire series is sent to the Smithsonian. This is an amazing look at American music of the 20th century. There is some music from outside the US, but the bulk of the tracks are early.