Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Americana Mama

Marcus Americana Papa. (sigh).

It wouldn't take long for anyone who keeps up with this blog to realize that, without a doubt, I am a Canadian Americana baby. I love this type of folky, rural and collaborative music that is exploding out of sweaty, packed stages everywhere nowadays - with bands like Mumford and Sons and The Head and the Heart taking notes from the forefathers of the quirky genre like Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, and Whiskeytown. Aside from the above mentioned favourites of mine, you've without a doubt heard me rave about (a man at the top of my list of 'husbands') Ryan Adams, Wilco, Band of Horses, and Fleet Foxes - who are also pioneers of the budding Billboard craze.

This music genre received an unbelievably notable nod from Spin Magazine recently, which featured the men of Mumford on the cover and detailed exactly what it is about this banjo-thumping, Southwest-touring, vest-wearing trend that's driving fans wild after years of gradually edging onto the scene. When I say gradual I mean the slide into this type of music being a mainstream obsession - because I wouldn't dare insinuate that this musical tradition hasn't been around for decades, or even centuries. Americana was birthed from the most basic of musical evolutions; it was parented by a number of incestuous moments when popular genres interchangeably paired together. With Americana, it took a bite out of the first musical organism of blues, the communal feel of blues-rock, the cultural relevance of rock n' roll, the storytelling folk genre, the heartfelt country-folk, the versatile folk-rock, and the new wave of indie-folk. It's something that's always been; it originated from a little of all of these things and grew into a grassroots, front-porch party of jamming, heart-filled instruments and harmonies that represented only the best kind of music - that of which you couldn't deny came from somewhere special.

"They may borrow from ancient strains of folk music, but their sepia-toned approximation of those sounds is almost incidental: It's all about the heart." - Amanda Petrusich, Spin Magazine

Everything about the wave of Americana and it's step above the overdone "indie" attitude of acting like you don't care, is undeniably infectious. The best part about it? Band members living and breathing that old homegrown jam, singing their earth-rumbling harmonies like there's no tomorrow, touring tirelessly, and proving exactly the opposite of some of the unfortunate too-cool-for-school celebrity musicians of today. What they end up proving, other than how uncool they may be, is how much they actually do care - and how they're going to show us.

Here are some of the Americana newcomers you should be looking out for in the near future:

"Barton Hollow" - The Civil Wars (the best heartfelt Americana duo out there)

"Glory Days" - The Avett Brothers
(I wonder why I like this cover)

"Rise to Me" - The Decemberists (new album...fabulous)

The Chambers and the Valves - Dry The River (big hit at SXSW)

The train is a-rollin' by, you best jump on.

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