Americana (Folk/Bluegrass/Blues/Country) Overview February 2015

Compiled by Rick Hiduk

Lyle Lovett

Robert Earl Keen (top) holds down three position in the top 10 of the quarterly Americana chart, each from Keen’s “Happy Prisoner – The Bluegrass Sessions” album, which features several other well-known Americana artists, like Lyle Lovett (above) and Natalie Maines.

Bluegrass artists make an impressive showing on the latest installment of The Americana Chart on and their influence can be heard in both modern folk songs and a smattering of up-and-coming country music hits. Actually, Folk music seems to still be borrowing from and influencing many sub genres simultaneously.

The Blues remain strong but perhaps immune to any sort of renaissance. Nonetheless, there are several fine examples that I would love to hear on an Americana radio station, if any still exist.

My peers and I agree that both bro-country-rock and hick-hop peaked last year. There is a sense that country radio wants to get back to its roots, and the artists seem poised to follow. Some of the biggest current country radio hits are not represented below because they are either too similar sounding, or they were on the November 2014 Americana chart and therefore not repeated.

Given a real change in the sound of country radio in the coming three months, you might see more country hits at the top of the next Americana chart in May. In the meantime, there are many songs here with which you might not yet be familiar that are but a YouTube listen away. Local country performers who have shared with me their disdain for modern country will find some already proven gems here.

The following chart represents a loose ranking of 40 of more than 150 relatively new releases (past four months) in the aforementioned genres that I have listened to over the past few nights and that I believe effectively combine the many elements of American roots music and speak for rural America and simple living. As always, your comments are welcome.

  1. Robert Earl Keen f: Lyle Lovett – T For Texas
  2. Rhiannon Giddens (right) – She’s Got You Rhiannon Giddens
  3. Robert Earl Keen f: Natalie Maines – Wayfaring Stranger
  4. Gloriana – Trouble
  5. Kenny Chesney w/ Grace Potter – Wild Child
  6. Little Big Town (right) – Girl Crush Little Big Town 2015
  7. Robert Earl Keen – Hot Corn, Cold Corn
  8. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4
  9. George Ezra – Blame it On Me
  10. Dave Barnes – Darlin’
  11. Gary Clark – Catfish Blues (live)
  12. Keith Urban f: Eric Church – Raise’m Up
  13. Brad Paisley – Crushin’ It
  14. Hosier – Work Song
  15. Lost on the River – Kansas City
  16. The Lone Below – Then Came the Morning
  17. Joe Bonamassa – I Gave Up Everything for You ‘Cept the Blues
  18. Toby Keith – Drunk Americans
  19. Mickey Guyton – Better Than You Left Me
  20. Rodney Atkins – Eat Sleep Love U Repeat
  21. Decembrists – Los Angeles I’m Yours
  22. Dierks Bentley – Say You Do
  23. Tim McGraw w /Catherine Dunn – Diamond Rings and Old Barstools
  24. Maddie & Tae – Fly
  25. The Lone Below – You Never Need Nobody
  26. Ryan Bingham – Fear & Saturday Night
  27. Joe Bonamassa – Different Shades of Blues
  28. Lady Antebellum – Freestyle
  29. Miranda Lambert – Little Red Wagon
  30. Josh Turner – Lay Low
  31. The Earls of Leicester – Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
  32. Eddie Cotton – My Boo
  33. George Ezra – Budapest
  34. Tyler Farr – A Guy Walks Into a Bar
  35. Frankie Ballard – Young & Crazy
  36. Lost on the River – When I Get My Hands on You
  37. Ryan Bingham – Nobody Knows My Trouble
  38. Canaan Smith – Love Me Like That
  39. Father John Misty – Bored in the USA
  40. The Earls of Leicester – Big Black Train

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *