Americana: when you hear this word you’d be forgiven for thinking of rootsy, earthy and possibly ever-so-slightly chintzy American ‘stuff’. I’d never heard it used solely in the context of music as a genre but that might be because I’m a Limey, and wouldn’t have had reason to. Anyways, we were introduced to this style of music as being ‘kind of singer-songwriter but doesn’t have to be, lyrically deep and usually played by musicians with life experience’ by a new Nashville friend, Mr Jefferson Fox. Completely by chance, we arrived in Nashville on the first day of the Americana Music Association‘s four day music festival. And again, by chance, we decided to pay a visit to Grimey’s New and Preloved Music store where we someone kindly gave us a recommendation to go to it. So we did: at the Basement club, behind Grimeys we were treated to two quite different kinds of Americana-style music (and the more I use it, the less I like the tag). What a GREAT club the Basement is, by the way!
First up was Hayes Carll, a singer-songwriter with a wobbly voice and his own take on country-style singing. His style reminded me a bit of Dylan and his voice is a bit of an acquired taste, but the set gradually built up and by the end, the crowd was rocking along… he has a reputation for being a hardworking guy and his songs tell tales of love, the road and family life, all with a self-deprecating humour that was quite endearing.
He seemed well-loved by the people here, and many of them left after he finished. Which was a shame because next up were:
The Defibulators are from Brooklyn, New York and they hit the ground running. A huge burst of bluegrass energy: fiddle, banjo and close harmonies picked us up despite our tiredness (camping in bug-infested stormy swamps doesn’t always allow us to get the best night’s sleep). You can listen to one of their tracks on Grooveshark. They seemed well up for it, and their enthusiasm was infectious. Enjoyed.
So, ‘americana’. To me, it’s another label for intelligent country music – and believe me, the radio in the USA plays some dumb-ass country music – and it’s nice to step into a genre that I’ve not really been that exposed to before (despite the whole alt-country thing that I’ve been into for a while
More photographs on Flickr, here.
Video coming soon (we’ve really not found it easy to take the time and edit all our videos but we promise we will start soon!)
UPDATE! VIDEO! ALERT! VIDEO!
A little shaky, and I’m not sure that the quality is right, but here it is anyways: