What Makes Americana Music Americana? 

If you’ve ever listened to music Americana, you know that there are many different genres and dozens of artists who are part of the genre. There are a number of different elements that make Americana music distinct, from the Symbolic lyrics to the Roots of early folk and country music. In this article, I’ll discuss these and other features of this music genre. 

Storytelling 

Storytelling is one of the most important components of Americana music. This genre of music draws its roots from the African American spirituals, which rely heavily on symbolism and figurative language to tell stories. Americana music lyrics often incorporate these elements and offer raw and authentic emotions. 

The art of storytelling is as important to artists as it is to fans. It helps them connect with their audience in ways that transcend their music. To do this, musicians must first create an unique universe and then tell a story that will engage their audience in a compelling way. This is the most difficult part, but the most successful artists understand the value of storytelling and the power it has to sell themselves to fans. 

Symbolic lyrics 

Symbolic lyrics in Americana music often reflect themes and ideas in life. They combine traditional bluegrass and blues styles to create songs that convey real emotions and ideas. For example, the lily, commonly known as the amaryllis, is a symbol for life and death and is often used in funeral arrangements as a symbol of innocence and transition. 

Symbolic lyrics in Americana music often speak of loss. A song like “Rainbow Valley” may refer to the dissolution of faith and innocence in the 1950s, and a song like “Rolling Stone” may refer to the “rolling stone” Dylan wears on the iconic cover sleeve of his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. 

Roots in early folk and country music 

Americana music has roots in both country and folk music. The genre was first conceived as music performed by white people of European ancestry in the rural South, and it later expanded to include the music of African-Americans and other ethnic groups. These genres communicated the experience of ordinary people and their way of life. Today, Americana music also includes the music of Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Cajuns. 

The genre is also influenced by folk music, which was revived in the 1960s by folk singer Bob Dylan. His music helped popularize Americana, and his songs never really fell into any specific genre. 

Contemporary perspective 

Americana music has many connotations. It is a romanticized view of America’s past, eschewing the commercial culture of today. It evokes images of small towns before the onset of the big box stores. It conjures up a time of community-based rituals in which fistfights and beer settled debts. The genre is also a form of mythmaking, evoking the old days when life was simpler and folk musicians were the only musicians in town. 

The Americana genre has been the breeding ground for collaborations spanning several generations. It has produced such legends as John Prine, Loretta Lynn, and Mavis Staples. Many of these artists have also influenced the current crop of artists and musicians.