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Taking a short break from discussing the current insanity from the current resident(s) of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue... to take on maybe an even more controversial topic....
Americana. As you may know by now, here at E2TG, I don't care much about genres or classifications of music. But, I do recognize that for some artists who are finding their place in a still relatively new landscape of the music business, it can make a difference in trying to find the right representation or the right people to approach or whatever...
While similar issues may come up about rock or country or pop or whatever, I think that Americana is it's own "beast". According to the Americana Music Association, Americana is not a genre. In fact, it can encompass several different genres like country, folk, blues, even bluegrass, soul, rock...
Still, some "Americana" radio stations treat it like a genre - telling artists they are "too (fill in the blank) to be Americana." Sue and I did our AMA themed show last year called it, "It's Americana is we say it is". It was tongue-in-cheek. Look, the Americana Fest each September is a blast (basically Nashville's live music scene on steroids - with lots of industry parties and showcases and the like). From an outsiders perspective, the decision on what is or isn't Americana can seem pretty arbitrary. An artist may be "too blues" for Americana - but a more established (and arguably) blues artist can be honored by the association. This is not to mention the pop bands who had a fiddle or other "roots" instrument to their lineup and are suddenly "Americana" (especially if they achieve some level of success or notoriety). But, I am not cynical about it all... (maybe because I am not a musician trying to find my place). There is a ton of great music being made and put out into the world. I'm gonna try to hear as much of it as I can, and I am going to not worry about things that really don't matter to me. To my artist friends, keep being you, keep doing your thing. If you are accepted as "Americana", wonderful. If not, keep on moving and let it go.
So ends my (likely) simplistic take on what is a big deal for some artists...
Today is Tuesday when we jump back into the "new music" playlist and see what's hot on E2TG. I will leave it up to you to decide (or not) which, if any, of these are "Americana". To me it's all great music.
"The Old Swimming Hole" by Fendrick and Peck
We begin with a track from the Sandhill Crane by Fendrick and Peck. A beautiful song about slowing things down. Seems like this theme keeps coming up, I wonder if there is something I need to get from this..."Country in the City" by Lesley Kernochan
Next up, California songwriter-singer Lesley Kernochan from her recent album A Calm Sun. She is currently touring in Colorado and has an East Coast tour set for later in the summer. Her album includes players who have played with the biggest names in the music business.
"Cooties" by Kristin Hersh
Next up, we have another track from Kristin Hersh's double album Wyatt at the Coyote Palace. As I mentioned, she is formerly of the band Throwing Muses. The album came out last year, but was just released in vinyl earlier in 2017. I got the opportunity to get this as part of the promo for the vinyl release. Dig it!
"Pirate Song (We'll All Go Down with the Ship)" by Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers
Pirate bands are nothing new. But, leave it to Nashville to have the best pirate band around. It's a delicate balance sometimes and Tom Mason walks it amazingly well. Humorous without being campy, genuine without being pretentious or overly serious, with the added bonus of featuring high quality songwriting. Tom Mason is a newlywed, and so E2TG wishes him and his bride congrats and best wishes.
"How to Tell a Friend Goodbye" by Mike Younger
On Little Folks Like You and Me, from which this song is taken, moves effortless from the political to the personal. Actually, it can be hard to tell political from personal sometimes. This song is lovely and heart-felt.
"Call Up Work" by Dan Montgomery
GONE is one of my favorite albums of this year so far. Really glad I got to make it out to the Nashville CD Release show a few weeks back. Dan Montgomery is from Memphis, and he has a killer band backing him on his awesome songs.
"I Get Lost" by Jon Byrd
Jon Byrd may be the hardest working musician in Nashville right now. He just released his latest album Dirty Ol' River, and this is the lead off track and our first official listen to it. He doesn't rock, ever, but he does play real deal country music with an original flare.
"Poor Boy" by Mark Robinson
And we close things out with E2TG favorite Mark Robinson and a track from his album Live at The 5 Spot which is now available at the usual sources. The track is Robinson's take on the much covered tradition blues song... his version adds words and music by Mark Robinson and Davis Raines. I am happy to see all the wonderful press Mark is getting for this album - it is well deserved. I have said before and I will say again, Mark Robinson Band (whatever configuration) is one of my favorite bands to see live. His residency shows last year were awesome, and I am glad they were recorded and made available.