"What is Americana?" Lonesome Heroes in Rolling Stone Australia


What is Americana?

We recently sat down with the few artists from the Dashville bill to discuss what the label ‘Americana’ specifically means to them.


The Lonesome Heroes (USA)

americana lonesome

Flying Burrito Brothers "Wheels"

Gram Parsons understood the notion of Americana before there was even a name for it. The Burrito Brothers combine old-time Bluegrass Harmony with the screeching fuzz tones of Sneaky Pete’s pedal steel and honkey tonk piano to make country music that the hippies of the 60’s could dig. Finding Gram Parsons in my 20’s was like finding the missing link between Hank Williams and Wilco.

Bob Dylan "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You"

Nashville Skyline was my first exposure to country music. I had never heard a Dobro, pedal steel, or Johnny Cash before this record. I could separate my musical life to BNS (before Nashville Skyline) and after. Fifteen years after discovering this record, I still love it. I think good Americana and roots music has a timeless quality to it and never gets old.

Magnetic Fields "Two Characters In Search of a Country Song"

I grew up in NYC and had little exposure to country or folk music as a kid, but a plethora of great 90′s indie rock. I remember getting a copy of 69 Love Songs in High School and falling in love with Stephen Merritt’s witty lyricism. Later in College I found Charm of the Highway Strip, an album of highway songs with country and folk instruments mixed together with distorted dance like drums. It sounds nothing like any folk or country music I have ever heard, but still uses classic song writing motifs of American Pop music. He is one of the few writers that can name drop historical figures like Jesse James, William Tell, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill in 3 minute pop song, and make it sound so cool. I like to think of our music as a combination of older roots sounds with modern sounds, not an attempt at a retro throwback sound. Stephen Merritt is the master of this.

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