Americana Music Video: How Country and Roots 

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Written By DanielHaldeman

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Created a “Brand New Dance”. Jed Hilly, Americana Music Video Association’s executive director, joked that T-shirts with the word “Americana” were being sold. “It’s still off the radar,” he said. “We’re not super-commercial.”

The musical landscape changed dramatically over the next five years as Americana music became a bona fide hit. Chris Stapleton’s Americana album Traveller was the seventh most-sold album of 2016, surpassing records by Beyonce and Rihanna.

Merriam-Webster defines Americana as “a type of American music with roots in folk and country music.” Americana bands are typically built around acoustic instruments but can also include an electric band.

Folk and gospel music were influential in the development of country and Americana Music Video. However, some of the most important blueprints for country and Americana music came from the Western Swing movement of the 20s to 30s. Bob Wills was a Texas-based musician whose distinctively Texasan music became a national hit in the 30s. Clint Eastwood and John Denver have covered the “San Antonio Rose” song of Wills and his Texas Playboys. Willie Nelson was influenced by Wills and helped to shape his inclusive vision of music.

Nelson paid Wills a rousing tribute and acknowledged a greater debt to Hank Williams, one of the music’s true pioneers. Williams, who died on January 1, 1953, at the age of 29 had already recorded 29 hits, including “Hey, Good Lookin’,” and “Why Don’t You Like Me?”. The Smithsonian Institution honored Williams in 1999 with A Tribute to Hank Williams, its first forum dedicated to country music. This tribute honored the enigmatic icon for his contributions to modern country music.

Williams, like many prewar musicians, learned to sing in a Alabama church choir. His music synthesised the Americana Music Video styles of his Deep South surroundings – Western swing and Appalachian mountain musicals. His remarkable ability to write heartbreaking confessional songs like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” is what made him a highly skilled song writer.

Williams was the first Americana Music Video singer-songwriter to express in direct and elegiac songs the deep personal emotions, dreams, and heartaches of the common man. Leonard Cohen called his songwriting “sublime,” and Bob Dylan said that “Hank’s songwriting was the archetype rules for poetic songwriting.” Williams has been covered by many artists, including Al Green, Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong.

Williams inspired countless musicians, including country legends like Johnny Cash, who recorded a tribute album to him; artists such as George Jones; creative forces such as Gram Parsons; and rock stars such as Beck and Keith Richards. Ryan Adams and his stars from the 80s and 90s struggled to find their way and turned to Williams, who was able to write a masterpiece like “I’m So Lonesome I Can Cry.” Lucinda Wilkins said that she had been listening to Hank since childhood. His music was the first music that I was exposed too.

Williams, who was hard-drinking and straight-talking in his speech, was probably country music’s first rebel. This trait was also emulated by the self-described outlaw country stars from the 70s, who brought some rebellious attitudes of punk music into the mainstream. Hank Williams was Americana 70-years before the term became popular.

Americana Music Video is a mix of different genres. Ingram Cecil Connor III was another man who was able to bring together many different musical styles. He was also known as Gram Parsons. Florida-born Parsons was a huge Elvis Presley fan growing up. He formed his first band, The Pacers at Jacksonville’s Bolles High School during the early 1960s. Luke Lewis, a fellow student, was later to become President at Universal Music Nashville. He said that Ray Charles’ 1962 album Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, which is a beautiful example of Americana music, had a profound influence on them both. Lewis said that it was the first time they had ever heard of country music. He went on to record Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, and Johnny Cash.

Parsons’ first major impact was with The Byrds. He wrote “Hickory Wind ” for them. In 1969, he left with Chris Hillman to form The Flying Burrito Brothers. The Flying Burrito Brothers were playing a mixture of rock and traditional country music. They helped to create “Cosmic America Music” through their first two albums, The Gilded Palace Of Sin (and Burrito Deluxe). Gram and The Flying Burrito Brothers’ greatest legacy Americana Music Video is that we were an alternative country band. We were unable to get on radio country and rock radio. Hillman said that we were briefly the outlaw country band.

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