Friday, November 07, 2003

So what is alt.country/Americana anyways?

When I first started this blog, I was trying to explain to a friend what the alt.country sound was all about. It's definitely a difficult genre to define because of the evolving boundaries. Even more so because of all the variations on alt.country like Americana, hick-pop, y'all-ternative, etc.

So I found this article by Tom Cox from the Observer over at Americana UK that tries to answer the question "What's Americana?":

"It sounds like a lot to ask, yet it's possible that this ultimate modern movement - this genre that provides an opposition to everything stodgy and corporate - is already here. The fact that it's been around for a bit, growing in ranks, right under our noses, just makes it an even more perfect response to everything transient in pop. It's been called Americana, neo-country, and alternative country, and it was born - depending on who you ask - when the American grunge movement died, when the angelic country soul singer Gram Parsons declared his vision of 'Cosmic American Music' in the late Sixties, or when Hank Williams first strapped on his two-dollar guitar.

Over the past five years, it has encompassed the hick-hop of Jim White, the cosmic bar blues of the Jayhawks, the doomy porch songs of the Handsome Family, the ragged exile-on-back-street rock of Whiskeytown, the leather-trousered gal power of Lucinda Williams and the northern gothic chill of the Willard Grant Conspiracy, to name just a fraction. To give you a measure of its diversity, it wouldn't be too strong to say that if every musician in the world making any music other than alternative country died tomorrow, rock music would suddenly be in its healthiest state for years. "


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