Americana music is that vague middle ground between country music and folk—too twang-y for the folk circuit, but sometimes overly brainy for Nashville. But if you don’t need your music restrictively defined, this compilation is a pleasant hayride through the fertile back roads of the Americana music scene. Robert Earl Keen and The Little Willies (which sports Norah Jones as a member) may be familiar to you, but the rest of these performers are probably only known to their diehard fans. You’ll likely become fans of few of them if you give this CD some good, sincere attention. RobinElla’s spiritual rumination of “Down the Mountain” is a great disc opener, and Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez’s sprightly “Sweet Tequila Blues” rolls along at a peppy clip. Eliza Lynn has the makings of a fine singer/songwriter, and Old Crow Medicine Show is an excellently topical bluegrass act. It’s is Americana the beautiful, indeed.
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