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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.

Jack Cade – The Glitter Around Your Eyes: Achingly Affecting Americana

Bewilderland by Jack Cade and the Everyday Sinners

If you always turn to Cohen, Waits and Nick Cave for sonic solace, redirect your quest for sanctity toward Jack Cade’s folk-meets-alt-country LP, Bewilderland.

His gruff baritone notes against Helen Muggeridge’s glassy-with-soul harmonies create a heart-wrenchingly sentimental dynamic in the standout single, The Glitter Around Your Eyes. Like all of the most affecting love songs, the alchemic feat of Americana lyrically locks into the minute details of affection to elucidate how deep in the veins the affection runs.

Around the bluesy guitar bends, honkytonk piano keys that give the track a touch of the 70s and the roots-wrapped tones as a courtesy of the slide guitar, the two vocalists portray a hesitant yet fervent testament of passion which reaches the epitome of compelling. Slow dance to it, cry your heart out to it as you mourn lost loves, or make it a playlist staple; whatever you do, don’t pass up on this timelessly touching serenade from the UK-hailing conduit of candour.

The Glitter Around Your Eyes was officially released on January 26th; stream the single and Jack Cade’s seminal LP, Bewilderland, on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

In Tune with Matt Camillo: An A&R Factory Exclusive Interview

Dive into the musical mind of Matt Camillo, where the echoes of Americana Folk-Rock blend with bitter-sweet indie melancholy. From the romantic balladry of his latest single ‘Stop to Look Around’ to his explorations across Funk, Jazz, and Post-Punk, Camillo’s narrative is as diverse as it is profound.

Discover the inspirations behind his debut EP, his evolution from a MIDI-tinkering teenager to a multifaceted musician, and his aspirations to impact the music world.

Matt Camillo, welcome to A&R Factory! We’d love to know a little more about your latest single, Stop to Look Around, what’s the story behind the single, and what do you hope listeners will take from it? 

“It was the last song I wrote for my debut EP. It was written very quickly with the intention of writing a romantic ballad, but it turned into this Americana Folk-Rock thing or something Jewel could have written, though I got told several times that it sounds like Oasis for some reason.

This song is basically about doing the best with what you’ve got here and now, but once it’s out in the world it’s not up to me anymore to attach a meaning. The listeners can literally do whatever they want with it.”

Is Stop to Look Around reflective of who you are as an artist or are there more multi-faceted sides that will become exposed in your future releases?  

“I wouldn’t use it to describe who I am musically, but I feel like it’s a good representation of my Folk-y side. The songs I’m working on right now span from Funk to Jazz to Post-Punk even though I’m still working hard to make these different styles match together when it comes to an EP or Album.”

When did you get into music, and how has your relationship with music changed since the creative spark first ignited your desire to create? 

 “I started at 13 years old just writing instrumentals with MIDI in my bedroom. Then the guitar and the piano entered the scene, and eventually I found my voice (literally!). It’s always a discovery, this music thing. Every time I feel like I’m comfortable with a certain style or approach then I tend to move to new territory, but I always feel I’m still proving something to that kid in the bedroom.”

With such a wide range of influences, was it hard to create your own sonic signature? 

“Doesn’t matter how hard I try to find that sound, I’ll never catch it. I’m more focused on what’s naturally gonna come out of my failed attempts. And that should be good enough, I guess.”

What was the first and last single that had a profound impact on you? 

“The first Coldplay record (and the first one I ever owned) changed my life and helped me to bring out that same bittersweetness I’ve always felt as a kid. More recently I fell in love with ‘Live At Montreux, 1976’ by Nina Simone. She represents everything that an artist should be. Farless, honest and passionate. But she managed to be even more than that. So, I’d say ‘Trouble’ by Coldplay and ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’ by Nina Simone.”

Where will your artistic journey take you next?  

“Right now I’m doing early attempts at my first album. Just experimenting and combining different worlds together until I feel something is moving. I’m taking my time. I’m giving way more space to the electric guitar, arrangements and production. Also messing around with my lower vocal range. It’s gonna be way different from what I already released, to say it short.”

If you could make one positive change with your music, what would it be? 

“I just want my music to help people connect more with reality and with who they really are or at least to offer them a new point of view.  Real music is so much more powerful than any other medium and that’s why the state of this industry is in such conditions.  Maybe I wanna prove that it can still free us or maybe I just wanna have my own fun. Music won’t stop tho.”

Stream Matt Camillo’s latest single, Stop to Look Around, on Spotify.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

The West Midlands era fusionists, Three Mile Island, triumphed once again in ‘Sidearm’s House of Games’

What do you get if you mix 70s rock with Americana and add a dash of brashy and swaggering 90s Britpop? Hit play on the latest single, Sidearm’s House of Games, from Three Mile Island and find out for yourselves.

The uniqueness of the sonic imprint is far from the only achievement in this minefield of indie rock hooks, which proves how tight the West Midlands-hailing prodigal sons are despite their influential differences – each element gets room to breathe and transcend into something completely new in the release that proves that time isn’t always linear; multiple eras can exist cohesively under the sonic duress of those talented enough to amalgamate them.

Having garnered attention on BBC Sounds and Planet Rock Radio, ‘Sidearm’s House of Games’ is a testament to the band’s skill in crafting songs that are not only enjoyable but also resonate with a deep understanding of rock’s evolving landscape. It’s a compelling addition to the indie rock genre, highlighting the band’s potential to leave a lasting impact.

Sidearm’s House of Games is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast  

Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her indie-folk Americana release, Peak Season


Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her latest indie-folk reverie, Peak Season; a single that resonates with the soul’s longing for renewal and connection.

The Pittsburgh-based multi-instrumentalist, drawing inspiration from the likes of Bear’s Den and First Aid Kit, infused her latest single, taken from her Garden for Winter LP, with a unique blend of indie, folk, Americana and naturalism, and signalled her departure from her more whimsical approach to songwriting from her debut. By delving into more profound themes of mental health, resilience, and hope. The single is a harmonious amalgamation of lyrical depth and orchestral richness, with crystalline vocal harmonies commanding the ensemble with an effortless grace.

The track opens with a melodic embrace that gently uplifts the listener, symbolising the shedding of winter’s weariness. Lounna’s voice, soothing yet potent, weaves through the instrumentation with a narrative that echoes candour and resounds through universal relatability.

The orchestral backdrop, carefully crafted with Slate’s collaborator Daniel Blake, adds a panoramic dimension to the song, allowing each instrument to converse and complement the vocals, rather than overpower them. Peak Season allows you to stand at the shores of your own introspection while washing over you as a cathartic release from the clutches of life’s darker moments. It’s a sublime feat of originality and expression, that has left us with bated breath to see what’s to come from Lounna.

Stream Peak Season from February 16th on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Brian Berggoetz pulled the strings of the soul with his amorous Americana serenade, I Know I Love You

Brian Berggoetz

The Tuscan-hailing poet of the heartstrings, Brian Berggoetz, prepared his most affectingly tender love song to date for his Valentine’s Day release, I Know I Love You.

With hints of Springsteen within the cultivated charm of the folk-infused Americana release, I Know I Love You, which sees the serenader’s vocals coalescing with the duality conjured through female harmonies, is a timelessly captivating love song, which alludes to how Cupid’s arrows cut deep, especially when they bring insecurities and a sense of imperfection to the surface.

The musical arrangement is a masterclass in subtlety and crescendo. The folky strings rise and fall like the tides of emotion, each note becomes a heartbeat in the song’s narrative. The guitar strings ring with an assurance that draws listeners into the very core of this country folk serenade. It’s as if each strum is a call to explore the depths of our own hearts.

Berggoetz’s voice is the guiding light in this exploration of fallible, beautiful romanticism. His vocal delivery, imbued with a sense of both wisdom and wonder, captures the essence of a soul laid bare. I Know I Love You is a musical journey that promises to leave listeners both moved and inspired, eagerly anticipating the future chapters in Berggoetz’s evolving musical saga.

I Know I Love You will debut on Valentine’s Day; stream the single on Spotify.

Get better acquainted with Brian Berggoetz via his official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Phil Coomer prescribed love as a drug in his latest release, All the Medicine I Need

The folk-pop evocateur Phil Coomer used all his award-winning song-writing stripes to decorate his latest single, All the Medicine I Need, with a sense of sentimentality that will see your soul swell with gratitude for everyone who sweetens your world.

As the orchestral strings quiver, the tenderly fingerpicked acoustic guitar strings amplify the warmth spilling from Coomer’s folky Americana harmonies which shine with crystalline soul as they emanate the soft and intimate folk vocal style of the late 60s and carry the same affecting mesmerism of Nick Drake.

Even when artists pen their own material, it isn’t a given that they will orchestrate something original; there’s never any danger of assimilative pedestrianism when you slip into a Phil Coomer folk score; just how it is possible for a salve for the soul to feel so expressively raw is an alchemic paradox that stands as a testament to his songwriting virtuosity.

All the Medicine I Need will be available to stream and purchase on all major platforms from 05/06/2024. Until then, you can stream the music video on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ayla Schofield put a serenade in motion in her country pop release, In Your Car

Tracy Chapman meets Taylor Swift and Bob Dylan in Ayla Schofield’s latest country-pop anthem of affection, In Your Car. If you want to take a scenic drive through the countryside of emotions, hit play. Released just in time for Valentine’s Day, In Your Car is a testament to Schofield’s growing artistry and her ability to blend the soul of folksy country with the heartbeat of contemporary pop.

Schofield, a former contestant on The Voice of Germany, has been carving out her niche in the music world and made an ever-lasting imprint. Her collaboration with Oliver Anthony has already captivated over 1.3 million viewers, a clear sign of her rising star status, ahead of the unveiling of her upcoming debut EP, Little Big Journey, produced by the Grammy-nominated Michael Hanson.

The track opens with a gentle strumming that sets the stage for Schofield’s tenderly powerful Alison Krauss-reminiscent vocals which carry purity and resonance by the smorgasbord. The fiddle, an extension of her expression, weaves through the song, adding layers of depth and emotion against the honkytonk keys.

Lyrically, ‘In Your Car’ explores the intimacy of shared moments, the kind of silent understanding that speaks volumes. Schofield’s songwriting prowess shines as she captures the essence of love’s quiet, unspoken bonds. The chorus is a crescendo of emotion, a harmonious blend that feels like a divine intervention.

In Your Car was officially released on February 2nd; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Cat Rian conjured smoky Americana alchemy in her latest single, Read the Room

Cat Rian cast an arcanely bluesy spell in her latest synthesis of country, soul, pop, and feminine firepower, Read the Room. The Las Vegas singer-songwriter delivered a fatal shot to the kinds of protagonists who only get anywhere in life through manipulation. The demure, smoky refrain of “read the room, it’s the least you can do” is an olive branch of catharsis to anyone who has ever felt the frustration of dealing with someone with no boundaries or self-awareness to compel them to step away after the damage is done.

The flawless command of her sultry vocal lines atop the organic luxe grooves allows you to slip into an alchemic sonic experience; one which evokes a sense of emboldened empowerment. Read the Room is right on brand for Cat Rian. Who, along with fronting resident bands at notorious landmarks on the Las Vegas strip, has also teamed up with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, donated proceeds from her song, You are Strong, and headlined the Anti-Bullying School Tour.

As she continues to stake her claim in the industry, she’s determined to bring others to a position of power. She’s an icon in every conceivable way.

Read the Room will be able to stream on all major platforms from February 2nd. Stream it on here first.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Luanne Hunt strummed soul strings in her poignant echo of Americana, The Vice

In Luanne Hunt’s 2024 album, Miles & Memories, the single, The Vice, is a standout feature in the series of vignettes, soul-stirringly portrayed through the lens of Americana folk nostalgia.

The lyrical journey is a testament to Hunt’s magnetism as a storyteller and musician. The song’s stripped-back arrangement, accentuated by the haunting resonance of folk strings, creates an intimate soundscape that allows Hunt’s narrative to take centre stage.

The Vice is a serenade that delves into the life of a man ensnared by hedonistic desires, a theme that resonates with the album’s overarching exploration of human experiences and memories. Hunt’s portrayal of this lone wolf ‘king of bluff’, with his penchant for Jim Bean, is both evocative and empathetic. Even those who live by the live and let live ethos will come to pity the protagonist. Hunt’s ability to paint vivid portraits and bring you emotionally in tune with them is unparalleled.

Each note and chord was meticulously chosen to complement the storytelling. The quiver of the strings not only reverberates through the heart but also underscores the emotional depth of the lyrics. Luanne Hunt, with her 24th album, has created a piece of profound resonance, which transcends the boundaries of genre and style. We can’t wait to hear the 25th.

The Miles & Memories was officially released on January 15. It is now available to stream in full on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Shotgun Waltz Fused Americana and Echoes of the Alt-90s to Craft the Ultimate Derision of ‘Pity Party’ Throwers

Single: Pity Party by Shotgun Waltz

.What do you get when you fuse the roots of Americana and alt-country with the nostalgia of the alt-90s? Hit play on the latest single, Pity Party, from the raconteurs of cliché-averse aural experimentalism, Shotgun Waltz, and find out for yourselves.

The first shimmering notes tease you into expecting a soundscape akin to The Madness’ eccentric spin on ska pop before the quintessential rock lead guitar work starts to blaze through the college radio rock production that makes it impossible not to warm to the outfit and their no prisoners held approach to lyricism.

Shotgun Waltz made it definitively clear that they wouldn’t be blowing up balloons for the wallowers in their circles. Instead, the pity partyers are mercilessly derided for their tunnel-vision naval-gazing as the ultimate reminder that self-disgust is still self-obsession is laid out across the exhilarating rhythms.

With echoes of new wave indie jangling through the release which never lets go of its Americana twang, the energy in Pity Party is riotously infectious, which bodes incredibly well for the Boston-based artist’s upcoming LP, which is expected to drop in April 2024.

Grab your invitation to the Pity Party by heading over to Bandcamp where you can stream or purchase the single, which was officially released on January 22nd.

Review by Amelia Vandergast