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Music

The New Oral History: Chris Shiflett and Steve Dawson's Smart, Listenable Podcasts

There are more podcasts than you can shake a flash drive at these days. Though the number of 'casts that embrace Americana music is growing, these two stand out.

Recent
Music

The Los Lonely Wolves, Los Lobos, Is Still Brilliantly Defying Classification

It's hard to imagine an American band that's more inventive, death-defying and affable as Los Lobos. A new book and record reveal why.

Music

John Moreland Restores Hope in a Hopeless World

John Moreland sings tales that crawl through the soil, hiss in the night, and burrow themselves into the heartpocket of listeners.

Music

Let Us Now Praise Dale Watson, American Treasure

Dale Watson wants to secede from country music and all we can do is hope that this is one rebellion that comes to a happy end.

Music

Beyond Record Store Day: Digging Up Some Choice Used Americana Vinyl

There are plenty of good reasons to visit an actual record store besides that one hyped day in April.

Music

Do iPhones Dream of Boxcars? Joe Ely and Sci-Fi Country

In 1983, road-weary Texan Joe Ely hovers over gadgets and wires, entering a brave new world of technology. Is he creating science-fiction country music?

Music

The Rainmakers Find Heaven and Hell in the Heartland

Since the early '80s, The Rainmakers have been among the best bands to emerge from the Heartland Rock boom of that decade. They may be the best that's still at it.

Music

Is the Sadness Gone from Country Music?

Has country music lost its capacity for brutal, unshakeable loneliness? Or are we just experiencing some calm before the next, inevitable heartache?

Music

When the Man in Black Went to Bat for Native America

A recasting of Johnny Cash's most controversial album, Bitter Tears, raises questions about the inclusiveness of American music.

Music

David Dondero: A Poet of Vehicles

Living out of step fits right in with Dondero's songs of tough and kindhearted outcasts, eccentrics and survivors who live out of sight, but in plain sight.

Music

Our Jason Isbell, Ourselves

Jason Isbell delivered one of the strongest records in 2013, and in doing so, he helped redefine the parameters of Americana.

Music

On Country Music Outsiders... and Fakers

Let's compare Eric Church's macho, white-power Outsiders to some newly reissued country outsiders from the '70s, the out-gay-country group Lavender Country.

Music

The Beautification of Country Stars

You can call 2013 the year that country-music album covers looked like advertisements torn from fashion and lifestyle magazines.

Music

John Fogerty Is Still Square, But He's Kinda Cool, Too

John Fogerty has teamed with a group of contemporary artists to deliver a celebration of his songs and of American music with Wrote a Song for Everyone. It couldn't be a more welcome celebration.

Music

Country Music Ain't Black & White: 'Hidden in the Mix'

These explorations of the African-American presence in country music are welcome at a time when country music is treated, by insiders and outsiders, as a purely white genre, and exceptions to that are treated as aberrations, gimmicks or novelty songs.

Music

Wrote a Song for Everyone: Slim Dunlap's Art/Roots Marriage

Former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap's roots run deeper than punk rock, but he's got an arty flare you might not expect from a man who loves Hank Williams and Chuck Berry.

Music

Same Old Song: Tributes to Kris Kristofferson

There are at least four various artists tribute albums to Kris Kristofferson, all released in the last 11 years. Why him? Is it about the songwriter or the songs? The musicians or the listeners? The present or the past? The albums themselves might provide the answers.

Music

Always It’s You: Why the Everly Brothers Still Matter

Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie “Prince” Billy pay tribute to the Everlys with What the Brothers Sang, and the Chapin Sisters with A Date With the Everly Brothers, in their new tribute albums.

Music

Jonathan Goes Country, Country Goes Jonathan

Revisiting Jonathan Richman’s brief “country moment” offers another window, through the eyes of an outsider into the genre.

Music

Is Hero Worship All There Is to Country Music?

All of the albums that critics/fans who fancy themselves “pure” country defenders have praised as the best of 2012 carry a heavy aura of the past about them. But how much can country music progress if it’s spending all of its time looking back?

Music

Is Taylor Swift Still Country? Do We Care?

It’s hard to determine anyone in the genre who has built up more of an aura of hype and expectation around each new release than Taylor Swift. Each album takes a different step outwards.

Music

In the Heart of Country Music in the Heart of the Country

How the Midwest remade country music in its own image -- and without even trying.

Music

Bruce Springsteen, Country Music Idol?

Country singers of all stripes have covered or referenced Bruce Springsteen in their songs, yet the reasons they do so, and what they see in his songs, is not as easy to read as you might expect.

Music

What Nashville Might Learn from the Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Carolina Chocolate Drops show us why it's important that country music gets in touch with its real base: rural America and the many gifts that rural America offers.

Music

Confronting the Enemy: Rascal Flatts

I vigorously defend lots of country music that sends others running. Yet there is one band that drives me absolutely batty. I need to confront and dissect this visceral feeling that their music is the worst, ever. It's time to face my enemy: Rascal Flatts.

Music

Black Country Communion: Darius Rucker and Lionel Richie

Despite country's southern roots, there remains a dearth of black artists. Darius Rucker dipped his toes in those muddy waters in the past, but alas, Lionel Richie's new country album doesn't wade in much deeper.

Music

Psycho Country: Your Favorite Singer is Out to Kill Me

The perfect smile of your favorite country star might be hiding something sinister. Country songs can get kinda crazy.

Music

Americana May Be Country, But Country Is Rarely Americana

Like punk rock and heavy metal, country music has a formula and violating that formula is a kind of betrayal, a heresy for which one may not be forgiven. In Americana, such betrayals and unexpected turns are often welcomed.

Music

The Mythical Country

Where are these towns and neighborhoods that Montgomery Gentry sing about? The Mythical Country; the country that exists in the collective imagination of Nashville songwriters and singers, and that of the audience.

Film

Queer Country: Chely Wright’s Coming Out

The upcoming documentary, Wish Me Away, centered on country singer Chely Wright chronicles the pains of coming out in Nashville and raises questions about why more country musicians haven’t come out.

Music

When Indie Musicians “Go Country”

A lot of these indie musicians who wouldn’t call themselves "country" sound more country to me than Rascal Flatts or, for that matter, than Fleet Foxes, who are described as “alt-country”.

Music

Old Country Comfort: How the British Might Save American Music (Again)

The British saved rock 'n' roll, reignited the blues, and may just make country music more American.

Music

Country Music's Me-First Jesus

These days, a country singer will bow down to Jesus at least once by the end of his album, even if he spent the rest of it cheatin’, mistreatin’ and fightin’. Jesus is that reliable way to feel good even if you’ve been acting bad.

Music

Is Country Music Treading Water in 2011?

It's been a dead enough year in country music to make fans wonder what's going on. Is the genre taking a year off, or just jogging in place for a while?

Music

Fit to Be Tied: Country's Angry Women

Modern country music is in love with a new trend: women inflicting violence on men, when the men deserve it... and even when they don't.

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