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Americana Music Blog

America has been serving up slices of Americana since the mid-19th-century. The genre is an all-encompassing term for a variety of music styles that found their roots in America, including blues, bluegrass, country, and roots-rock. More often than not, Americana is a fusion of one or more forms of roots music, and it is commonly synonymous with folk-based country and singer-songwriter music.

Some of the most iconic Americana artists include Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earl. Steve Earl remains popular to this day; his 2021 album, J.T., was listed as one of the best Americana albums of the year. Other artists that featured alongside Earl on the albums of the year list included Brandi Carlile, John Hiatt, Jack Ingram and Strand of Oaks.

Prior to 2010, Americana was considered a niche genre, yet in a transition that no one anticipated, Americana moved into the mainstream. The artists responsible for pulling the genre into the limelight included The Lumineers, the Avett Brothers, and of course, Mumford & Sons. Despite being a British band, Mumford & Sons became one of the best-selling Americana artists in recent years. They made history when they became the first British band since Coldplay to make it big in the US and sell more than a million albums. Yet, Mumford & Sons held their hands up to admit that without The Lumineers, their success wouldn’t have been possible.

In the late 90s, the Americana Music Association was established in Nashville; and they still have their finger on the pulse to this day. In 2021, they named Black Pumas as the group of the year, Brandi Carlile as the artist of the year and Charley Crockett as the emerging artist of the year. It’s not surprising to see Black Pumas named as one of the Americana artists of the year; the Austin-based act has amassed over 100 million streams with their most popular soul psych song, Colors. They also picked up three Grammy nominations in 2020.

Americana received another uptick in interest with the release of the blockbuster film, A Star is Born, which followed a roots music raconteur (Bradley Cooper) on his quest for fame. Bradley Cooper’s character may have been fictional, but plenty of Americana history and culture was poured into the critically acclaimed film that became an overnight sensation; both Lukas Nelson and Brandi Carlile appeared in the film. It seems that as long as there are artists committed to planting roots of Americana into their music, it will never go out of trend.

Derek Cramer shows us the future though “Power of the Metaverse”

https://open.spotify.com/track/4lYFeoPAb2MzGXjxUJ2UcA?si=76fb802d0569457e

The Metaverse may give some people the fear and bring connotations of a cold new world that won’t allow us to touch grass; with his single, Power of the Metaverse, the Ohio-based alternative artist, Derek Cramer, has shown us its potential.

The 80s-inspired alt-rock hit has psychedelic undertones along with high-octane over-driven guitars while Cramer energetically attacks the lyrics that illustrate the freedom that metaverses can grant us. Cramer chose to focus on the positives of decentralization, digital connection and augmented reality, such as the potential for increased self-expression and community.

Those lyrics with such nostalgic rock tones almost feels like a paradox is aurally unravelling before you, and therein lies the sheer ingenuity of the release. We can’t wait to hear what follows.

Power of the Metaverse is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Meet your new slide guitar hero in Forest Ray’s psych-folk single, Always

Forest Ray

The notion of forever may be farfetched, but Forest Ray’s title-single from their upcoming album, Always, melodiously exhibits the beauty in love persisting. The folky psych rock soundscape carries the finger-picking influence of the late and great John Prine as the psychedelic nuances freshen the familiarity under the honeyed timbre of Forest Ray’s vocals.

The soaring guitar slides bring an absorbing dynamic to the release, entrenching Always next to the roots of Americana while simultaneously bringing in the future of psych-rock. Forest Ray deserves to be equally as revered as Kurt Vile for their hazy and cathartic sense of soul that leaves you with no question over their sincerity. For your sanity’s sake, delve in.

The single, Always, will release on January 22nd with the official music video.

Check out Forest Ray on SoundCloud, Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Until the End of the World gave pop a noir twist in their latest single, Easy Come, Easy Go

For their latest single, Easy Come, Easy Go, the lockdown-born outfit, Until the End of the World, gave pop a noir twist. With the 90s-style pop harmonies that will throw you right back to the days when Say You’ll Be There was dominating the airwaves while simultaneously captivating you with the same haunting mystique as Mazzy Star, Easy Come, Easy Go couldn’t be more beguiling.

Until the End of the World consists of the Nashville-based singer-songwriter Meg Olden and the English ex-pat, Ian Webber; their sound is equally as international as their formation. There are obvious hints of Americana in the deserty guitar tones, with nods to the likes of the English singer-songwriter Richard Hawley in the melodies. It isn’t every day that you stumble across an artist as authentic as this. Until the End of the World definitely isn’t an outfit to underestimate.

Easy Come, Easy Go is due for official release on February 21st; check it out for yourselves via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Christopher Kremer has released his elegantly poetic allusion to languor ‘Electron’

If you still hold a candle for the melancholia of Elliott Smith, consider the new EP from folk singer-songwriter Christopher Kremer as an unmissable release. Major/Minor carries just enough reminiscences to tease nostalgia as the Chicago-based artist leaves you enamoured by his down-but-not-out authenticity.

The soul-fizzingly sweet lead single, Electron, is equally as instrumentally melodious as the most cathartic singles from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The vocals and lyrics lace the soundscape with an all too relatable languor, but even with the poetic allusions to entropy, the hazy choral textures ensure that Electron resonates as a transcendently uplifting release.

Major/Minor is now available to stream in full via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Folk singer-songwriter Holloway James showed us the beauty in candour with ‘Seven Come Eleven’.

US folk singer-songwriter, Holloway James, has never been one to evade candour. Yet, his latest cinematic single, Seven Come Eleven, artfully takes the listener on a journey from fear of living to enlightenment in a way that allows you to appreciate the precariousness of our consciousness.

Seven Come Eleven paid homage to the storytelling roots of folk by weaving an unfiltered tale of new beginnings after scapegoating the self-awareness that attempted to shine a light on an inability to find love internally. His alt-country vocals and accordantly melodic instrumentals pull together to paint a panoramic picture of triumph over self-inflicted adversity. We would need a concussion to forget it.

Seven Come Eleven was officially released on January 7th; it is available to stream via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Chuck Solo – Only time remains: A roots-rock effigy to love lost and unrelenting emotion

Only time remains by Chuck Solo

Sydney-based singer-songwriter, Chuck Solo, has released his roots-deep country pop-rock single, Only time remains, which runs through as a bitter-sweet effigy to love lost and unrelenting emotion to the tune of bluesy, choppy guitar chords and shimmering reverb.

Each note is plucked on his Strat by hand to boost the folky twang in the minimalist roots-rock track that allows his soulful yearning vocals to resound. Chris Isaak and Neil Diamond fans will instantly feel familiar with Only time remains through the stridently candid delivery of the sharp lyrics. Yet, Chuck Solo didn’t fall short on experimentalism with the sublime sonic layering of Only time remains. Which is accompanied by the equally as psychedelically sweet B-side single, Holding on (too tight). The crooned vocals and just as affectionate choral chords are enough to test your soul capacity’s to feel.

Only time remains is now available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Pleasure And Pain: Idaho-based storyteller Bosco wonders where the love went on ‘UNME’

As he looks deep within her fiery soul to see where the love went to after all these years, Bosco is worried that the darkness might be too far within and covering up all the former radiant light on his latest single called ‘UNME‘.

Bosco Oliver aka Bosco is a proud father and unique solo indie Americana/Country/Blues singer-songwriter who is based in Pocatello, Idaho.

This music is all I own, and I only own that as long as my mind works. I’ve spent my life writing music. It’s a spirit world to me.” ~ Bosco

With a towering presence that has you downright absorbed from start to finish, Bosco seems to possess the kind of raw voice that makes you take note and stop what you are doing immediately. He is a Dad first and an artist second – who shows us into his world that is soaked with gritty stories – that are only filled with truth and absent of that fake flash that so many unwisely fall into.

UNME‘ from the experienced Pocatello, Idaho-based Americana/Country/Blues solo artist Bosco, is such a striking track that it automatically takes you to a time when a past lover started to really concern you. He sings with real depth and these are proper lyrics that have been written by a man who has really lived – and could easily write a few books – that would be filled full of exciting stories.

This is the kind of classic sounding single, that you feel could live in any era as it makes you feel like you have heard one of those true underrated artists who like to stay underground as they make music for the love of creating memories.

See this new honest music video on YouTube and see more info via his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The Captive: Craig Gould tells us the sad story of the lonely prisoner who is held by the ‘Captain Of The Seas’

https://open.spotify.com/track/2J2Le7qQkuer24LJtqPn37?autoplay=true

After the well-deserved success of his much-loved debut ‘Ain’t No Place To Hide‘, Craig Gould returns with the 2nd single that shall form part of his full project which is due for release in Spring 2022 on this heartbreaking tale about the fearsome ‘Captain Of The Seas‘.

Craig Gould is a Burton-on-Trent, UK-based indie alt-folk/Americana/country singer-songwriter and is also a highly inspirational Mental Health Campaigner with CALM.

As the heavy oceans take down someone who shouldn’t be chained up so cruelly, Craig Gould brings us a thought-provoking new single that takes you into such a thoughtful place to ponder deeply. There is so much to like about such a memorable track like this – that takes you into a whole new world of thinking – and imagining a life where you are at the mercy of someone so unnecessarily evil.

Captain Of The Seas‘ from the Burton-on-Trent, UK-based indie alt-folk/Americana/country singer-songwriter Craig Gould, is a vocally-pleasing effort of excellence that might have the hairs on your arms standing up to attention. He sings with such a joyful style and the well-constructed lyrics completely grab you by your soul, to lead you to into this cinematic-like story.

Being free is something we should never stop fighting for no matter what.

Hear this captivating single on Spotify and see what unfolds on his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Indie-soul singer Evan Meulemans mainlines optimism into his latest single, Morning Fades.

https://open.spotify.com/track/4NDmZI8uuudcr3joSIBz7B?si=e34ab6e2d7604687

US singer-songwriter Evan Meulemans’ fresh fusion sound is a cocktail of indie, reggae, Americana, blues, and his authentic brand of soul. If his sound has evaded you so far, his single, Morning Fades, is the most affable introduction to his meaningful approach to music.

With his effortless out-reaching bluesy indie vocals falling into a Grammy-worthy instrumental score that will instantly melt fans of Jack Johnson, Brett Dennen and Cas Hayley, Morning Fades leaves you questioning how Meulemans isn’t already a household name.

Like all his music, Morning Fades compels the listener to find the beauty in what can often feel like a loveless world. His advocation for harnessing love, creating balance and seeking contentment and connection is exactly what we need on the airwaves. Especially given the timeless resound of his optimistically-rendered sound.

Morning Fades is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vanedergast

New Earth Farmers share their reverent soul in their psych-tinged compassionate single, Everything Was Beautiful, Goodbye.

Into The Great Unknown by New Earth Farmers

After the pandemic inspired Nicole Storto and Paul Knowles to share pensive narratives with the world by forming New Earth Farmers, the duo delivered the resonance that the airwaves have been crying out for. Instead of musing on the most obvious facets of torment and malaise that gripped the world in 2020, New Earth Farmers delved deeper and explored ego-loss in their latest single, Everything Was Beautiful, Goodbye. Tom Petty and Bob Dylan fans won’t be disappointed with the vintage ease that the single carries through the progressions.

The track would bruise a few narcissistic egos if narcissists were emotionally aware enough to fathom their nefariousness. Considering that they will only ever look in the mirror with rose-tinted glasses, this sweetly psychedelically-tinged single is one for the enlightened.

Everything Was Beautiful, Goodbye, is now available with the rest of their album, Into The Great Unknown,  via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast