What is Americana?
According to Jed Hilly, Executive Director of The Americana Music Association:
Americana is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.
These are some of the best Americana songs from 2015, even though some of them might not really be part of that genre. Philadelphia’s Son Little might more accurately be categorized as R&B, Pops Staples is a blues man, and Bill Fay might have time traveled from the 1970s with some unpublished progressive folk. Father John Misty’s semi-autobiographical I Love You Honeybear was one of the most solid albums of the year, making it hard to chose just one song from it, so instead, I’m including his song that turned me into a fan, “Well, You Can Do It Without Me.”
Pretzel Bun – Americana Playlist
Ryley Walker – All Kinds of You
Vetiver – From Now On
Mac Demarco – The Way You’d Love Her
Rayland Baxter – Yellow Eyes
Gun Outfit – Compromise
GospelbeacH – Your Freedom
Jake Xerxes Fussell – Push Boat
Elyse Weinberg – My My My
Rising Appalachia – Rivermouth
Richard Hawley – Serenade of Blue
Pops Staples – Somebody Was Watching
Son Little – Lay Down
Bill Fay – Underneath the Sun
Meg Baird – Counterfeiters
Opez – Dead Dance
North Mississippi Allstars & Anders Osborne – Dyin’ Days
Father John Misty – Well, You Can Do It Without Me
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.
-Charles Caleb Colton
I didn’t discover all this music myself. I was turned on to most of this music by Gil Matus and his radio shows, Flight Mode and Morning Flights, which you can stream on Mixcloud. If you can understand him, this Israeli DJ will teach you a lot about Americana, psychedelia, folk, funk and soul. Even if you don’t understand him, his soothing voice and excellent selections make for some great radio.