In recent years, Americana music has experienced a surge in popularity. Despite this, many artists refrain from featuring classic car snapshots or rural farmhouses on their album covers.
Americana serves as an umbrella term, encompassing various music styles such as roots music and country. With the increasing presence of the internet, this subgenre is gaining wider recognition.
Unraveling the Origins
The term “Americana” emerged in the 1990s as musicians sought to carve out a distinct genre. Subsequently, the Academy of Americana Music formalized these efforts by establishing an awards show and setting genre criteria. The term itself pays homage to traditional American art forms like film noir and abstract expressionism.
Americana blends elements of contemporary country, folk, rock, blues, bluegrass, and R&B, resulting in a unique fusion. It encompasses both older roots sounds and newer forms, drawing inspiration from pre-rock ‘n’ roll genres. Despite its diverse influences, Americana often remains outside the mainstream music scene.
Differentiating Americana from Country
It’s important to note that Americana is a broad category encompassing music beyond mainstream country. While not necessarily independent, Americana often showcases more experimental approaches and ideas compared to typical country music.
Sales figures also distinguish the two genres, with country outselling Americana by millions of units annually. However, Americana maintains a dedicated audience, albeit smaller than country music’s fanbase.
This overview has shed light on the history and defining characteristics of Americana music. While its longevity may be uncertain, Americana will undoubtedly continue to hold a special place in American culture for years to come. So, if you appreciate good old-fashioned music, give Americana a chance—you might just discover a new favorite artist or album.