Americana Artists with Country Music Influence
51 Tracks | Play Length: 3hr 5min
Country music is currently experiencing a renaissance- a revival in both interest and talent that has the number of young listeners and artists growing beyond the bounds of the country music audience of the last 10 to 15 years. A large part of that revival is seated in a return to the genre’s roots, fueled by Americana and American Roots artists puling influences from old-timey country legends.
New Country Music is Fueled by Americana Songwriters and Country Traditionalists
Ever since Garth Brooks made the stylistic leap (combining classic country music styles with 70s singer-songwriter sensibilities and song structure) from country music to pop music, country music labels and Nashville in particular were blinded by dollar signs– leaving tradition to die in favor of a formulaic pop sound that left listeners barely able to distinguish between the works of the artists. While this approach was successful at first, over time the industry began to cave in on itself– so much so that many listeners returned to the older generations of country music. Merle Haggard and Hank Wiliams, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton– these were the country music songs that younger listeners began flocking to. In fact, newer bands began to emulate the sounds of these artists. As those pioneering bands gained ground, other bands and singers followed their lead. The trend towards a return to the classic sounds of country music was set in place and is gaining traction, as evidenced by Jason Isbell’s Grammy win, the second wind in the careers of artists such as Willie Nelson, and the rapidly growing popularity of the artists featured in this playlist.
An Americana Playlist for Modern Country Music Fans
You won’t find songs about drinking Corona on a beach or driving your truck through the mud. That’s another kind of country playlist. This playlist features the intricate songwriting that was once prominent in the country music genre; songwriting that highlights the daily struggles and concerns of the working class while adding a philosopher and a poet’s touch. Each artist brings a different sound to the table and something totally their own. Sure, I’ve got recommendations– but I you should listen to them all. No two artists are alike.
Standout Artists on this Playlist:
There’s kind of a wide variety of styles and no small number of acts on this playlist– despite it all technically being from the same genre. All of these artists are worth giving an honest listen, but some are especially remarkable.
Still relatively new, Loveless has honed in on that late 80s/ early 90s country music sound. Her song “To Love Somebody” features spacious guitars and heavy drums that give the tune a very polished, studio-finished sound which the songwriting and vocals succeed in backing up. For fans of Miranda Lambert, Reba, and Dixie Chicks.
A Midwesterner with a knack for true, cowboy style storytelling. Lucas revives the approach to country music songwriting made popular by the likes of Marty Robbins and Hank Williams and, like Hank, he’s got a distinctive twang. His polished style would fit right in on most country radio stations, but still manage to stand out at something wholly different from contemporary country music.
What if Garth Brooks had recorded at Muscle Shoals? Then you’d have Lauderdale. This is a polished southern rock outfit with a strong resemblance to country rock acts like Garth Brooks, but with something of a Bob Seeger edge. Or perhaps they’re more Seeger and less Brooks– I could be thrown by that Southern Drawl. Regardless, their songs are potent and hard hitting, as well as skillfully crafted.
There is no greater spectacle in rock and roll today than Cory Brannan. A man who often shows up with just himself, a microphone, and a guitar, and proceeds to floor you with the energy and passion of his performance and the force of his love for his craft. He’s a killer songwriter too, well credited amongst the new outlaw country set to which he belongs. Listen to the track– and if you like it, look him up and see him live. Leave all expectations at the door. There’s nothing like it.
He has a songwriting prowess to beat the best of them. The themes and lyrics are country as they come. Getting by in hardscrabble places, suffering for the life you love, the pains of living in a small town… he’s covered it all with a voice you won’t soon forget. This too blurs the lines of country and rock, but there’s some blues in there too.
There’s a slim chance that you both like country music and haven’t heard of Sturgill Simpson– particularly after his riveting SNL performance. The man sounds just like Meryl Haggard and has some of the sharpest songwriting wit in any genre.