To paraphrase a famous quote from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I don’t know what Americana Music is, but I know it when I hear it”
Even the Americana website has to go to some lengths to describe this music genre:
“Americana is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.”
In other words, it’s music that could potentially fall through the cracks and not be recognized were it not for the truly passionate people that believe in the music, its history and its future.
With that in mind the Americana Music Association has released the 2014 AMERICANA HONORS & AWARDS NOMINEES.
It’s a good list but sometimes limiting (Laura Marling released an amazing album last year but is English. Is that why she’s not recognized?). It also favors the veteran artist, not that that’s a bad thing but since 2002 when the awards began the winner of artist of the year has been under 50 only twice (Gillian Welch age 44 in 2012 and Ryan Bingham age 29 in 2010).
Bob Dylan has a new album out this year and I’m going to predict he wins the award in 2015.
Btw, you can hear the first Bob Dylan song from his upcoming album, a cover of “Full Moon & Empty Arms”, on his website now.
You can see all the 2014 Americana Award nominees here but let’s salute the kids by posting a song from each of the Emerging Act nominees. I don’t like to play favorites but it sure would be great to see Valerie June win it this year. Even without a genre label, it was one of my favorites of last year.
The awards will be announced on September 17, 2014 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.