What Classifies Americana Music? 

Americana is a broad term that describes a wide range of styles in music, including alt country, folk rock, and country rock. Basically, it includes anything that resembles old time music, but excludes genres such as punk and grunge. The subgenre also includes bluegrass and old timey sounds. Lucinda Williams, Gram Parsons, and Buddy Guy are all examples of artists who have influenced the sound of Americana. 

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Van Lear Rose 

Van Lear Rose is one of the most exciting records of the 2000s, and its release is a milestone in the Americana genre. A collaboration between Loretta Lynn and White Stripes lead singer Jack White led to the creation of the album. The two partnered up after a chance get-together. Despite their differences, both artists have a common vision and sound. 

While the songs on Van Lear Rose are stripped-down country, they’re still powerful, atmospheric, and full of energy. The album is filled with living music, and Lynn’s lyrics are some of the best in years. While the album’s style and composition might not make it a classic, it definitely ranks among the best albums of the genre. 

The Byrds 

The Byrds are often classified as Americana artists. Their music is rooted in the American South. The band was popular among the hippies but was met with skepticism in the conservative south. Their lyrical content was at odds with conservative beliefs. In fact, their songs were part of the culture wars of the 1960s. 

The Byrds were influenced by country music. Gram Parsons loved country music and Chris Hillman hailed from a bluegrass background. So, they decided to record a country album in Nashville. Although they had dabbled in country music before, The Byrds had never recorded an album in Nashville until this time. They recruited some of Nashville’s best session players to help record their music. 

The Band 

The Band is a band that makes rootsy Americana music with elements of several genres. They have been likened to the Grateful Dead and Tom Petty. Some even call them the second coming of The Band. While many people still classify The Band as Americana, they do not see it that way. They believe that the genre has evolved over the years. 

The band’s debut album was a tribute to the Carter Family, one of the first groups to record mountain folk tunes. McCrae’s accentless vocals are reminiscent of Gillian Welch, and Douglas’ fiddle and Good’s guitar weave soft harmonies into the songs. The songs are full and sparse, inviting and lonesome while still maintaining an authentic, hard-scrabble sincerity. 

Alison Krauss 

Robert Plant, legendary singer of Led Zeppelin and Americana legend Alison Krauss are collaborating for a new album. On Sept. 6, the duo will play a concert in Nashville at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre. Their new album is a reimagined collection of classic covers by the two stars. 

Alison Krauss’s early career has been marked by both her fiddle playing and her voice. She signed to Rounder Records at the age of fourteen and was performing at the Grand Ole Opry by her early twenties. Her music has also led to collaborations with producers such as T-Bone Burnett, who used her songs on the movie soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? 

Robert Plant 

Robert Plant has been listening to American roots music for years. He’s studied the seminal recordings of blues masters who inspired Led Zeppelin’s heavy rock of the ’60s and ’70s. Plant’s recent concert at Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium showcased the classics of Americana music and revamped them with his trademark Plant edge. His performance charmed 3,000-plus concert-goers. 

Plant’s new studio set, “Band of Joy,” is almost entirely American roots music. He enlisted the help of Sandy Denny, a former member of Fairport Convention. Denny is also a female vocalist on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore.” The 11 tracks on “Band of Joy” span a wide variety of genres and geographic regions. However, they all have a common ground in their country of origin.