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Sunday, November 08, 2009

November 5, 2009
Scott Foley

A recent email from a publicist proclaimed, "I've seen the future of Americana, and it's ..." I won't mention the artist here, but the post brought me to thinking about what exactly americana music could look like in, say, five years.

Truth is, our genre isn't exactly an evolving entity. Seven years ago, as a matter of fact, the Americana Music Association's Album of the Year recognition went to ... Buddy & Julie Miller for their self-titled release. Buddy & Julie were seen most recently cleaning up at September's 2009 Awards. I would argue that Band of Heathens might represent the Ghost of Americana Present. Of course, AMA is what passes for the genre's mainstream. By definition, the genesis of an evolution can be found as the exception, rather than the rule; musically, the future of americana might be glimpsed on the genre's fringes.

While artists like the Millers, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, et al. will continue to be feted as the superheroes of our metropolis, more recent artists such as the Avett Brothers (AMA Emerging Artist of 2007), Joe Pug, Alela Diane, Felice Brothers or Elliott BROOD might be laboring to determine the direction of our evolution. I'm also hopeful for the community of artists behind the Revival Tours of '08 and '09: Chuck Ragan, Austin Lucas, Ben Nichols, the boys from Drag the River. While I can guarantee these artists will never replace Buddy & Julie as the face of the Americana mainstream, isn't some form of evolution necessary for the survival of the genre?

* Chad Price, "Going Away" Smile Sweet Face (Suburban Home, 09)
* Nanci Griffith, "You Asked Me To" Lonesome On'ry and Mean (Dualtone, 03)
* Elliott BROOD, "Valley Town" Mountain Meadows (Six Shooter, 09)
* A. A. Bondy, "Oh the Vampyre" When the Devil's Loose (Fat Possum, 09)
* Supersuckers, "One Cigarette Away (live)" Whole Foods Live (Self, 07)
* Tom Russell, "Criminology" Blood and Candle Smoke (Shout Fact, 09)
* Tom Waits, "Falling Down (live)" Glitter and Doom Live (Anti, 09)
* Brandi Carlile, "Touching the Ground" Give Up the Ghost (Columbia, 09)
* Pete Anderson, "Prophet for Profit" Even Things Up (Little Dog, 09)
* Doug Moreland, "Marfa Lights" Barnstormer (Big Hat, 09)
* Joe Ely, "Gulf Coast Blues" Twistin' in the Wind (UMG, 98)
* Los Cenzontles, "Best of Me" American Horizon (Self, 09)
* Rosie Flores, "Halfway Home" Girl of the Century (Bloodshot, 09)
* Auld Lang Syne, "Rusty Prayer" Midnight Folly (Viper Bite, 09)
* Eliza Gilkyson, "Borderline" Paradise Hotel (Red House, 05)
* Marah, "Put 'em In the Graveyard" Put 'em In the Graveyard (single) (Valley Farm, 09)
* Madison Violet, "Lauralee" No Fool For Trying (True North, 09)
* Chris Scruggs, "Troubled Times" Anthem (Cogent, 09)
* Southern Culture on the Skids, "Doublewide" Mojo Box (Yep Roc, 04)
* Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard, "Sea Engines" One Fast Move Or I'm Gone (Atlantic, 09)
* Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons, "My Heart Would Be There" Death Won't Send a Letter (Black Seal, 09)
* Audra Mae, "The River" Haunt (Side One Dummy, 09)
* Califone, "Ape-Like" All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (Dead Oceans, 09)
* I See Hawks In LA, "California Country" California Country (Western Seeds, 06)
* Jill Andrews, "Sweetest In the Morning" Jill Andrews EP (Self, 09)
* Ox, "Burnout" Burnout (Weewerk, 09)
* Greg Trooper, "Catherine Don't Slip" Williamsburg Affair (52 Shakes, 09)


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