American music comes in all forms. It stretches across the musical universe creating a distinct sound that incorporates everything that came before it. Americana is a genre that aims to harness all the traditional sounds of American music into one form.
Listen to Audacy’s Americana Exclusive Station curated by WXRT’s Lin Brehmer
According to the Americana Music Association, 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.”
If this sounds right up your alley, you’ve come to the right place. Check out Audacy’s Americana Exclusive Station featuring hand picked songs from WXRT’s Lin Brehmer.
If you’ve recently discovered the station or are new to the genre, here are 7 essential Americana artists that you’ll fall in love with right away.
Hailing from East Los Angeles, Los Lobos are a melting pot of musical goodness. The band incorporates a wide variety of Rock including Roots, Chicano, Latin, Heartland, and Punk into their sound, but also uses Tex-Mex, Country, Zydeco, R&B, Folk, Blues, and Soul. With 16 studio albums to their name, Los Lobos was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
Harris’ storied career has seen her take home a total of 14 GRAMMYs, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and a total of 26 studio albums. Harris is an incredible lyricist as her music continually captivates listeners. Harris’ last studio album came in 2011, but she continues to tour to this day.
Jason Isbell has crafted quite the successful solo career since he departed Drive-By Truckers in 2007. He’s been nominated for four GRAMMY Awards and has won all four times. Those awards include two Best American Roots Song awards and two Best Americana Album awards for his records Something More Than Free and The Nashville Sound.
Considered one of the main figures of the Americana genre, Prine is one of the finest songwriters in music. His ability to offer social commentary and musings about life and philosophies through humorous lyrics served as an influence to many musicians. Prine received the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and won five GRAMMYs in his career.
Lucinda Williams is frequently cited as one of the best songwriters in America and has become beloved by many for her ability to seamlessly infuse Rock, Blues, and Country together to give her distinct sound. Williams has won three GRAMMY awards during her career including Best Country Song, Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Williams released her most recent album Good Souls Better Angels in April 2020.
Formed in 1994, Wilco had a frequently evolving lineup for their first decade as a band before settling on what is now their current lineup in 2004. Wilco has released 11 studio albums with their most recent record, Ode to Joy, coming in 2019. While their foundation is in the Alternative Country genre, Wilco utilizes a wide variety of sounds ranging from Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental, Jazz, Folk, and more.
Lovett is a four time GRAMMY winner that has released 13 studio albums in his lengthy career. Lovett’s 1996 album The Road to Ensenada won a GRAMMY for Best Country Album. His music stretches well beyond the Country genre as he frequently incorporates Folk, Swing, Blues, Jazz, and Gospel music. Although his last album came in 2012, Lovett still tours frequently to this day.