Americana music, or if you prefer, alternative country, alt-country, or even alt.country, is once again making a comeback and growing in popularity. The genre fuses rock ‘n’ roll, folk, rhythm & blues and country, providing a distinctive identity all of it’s own. With young artists claiming the genre as their own, the americana music movement is picking up pace and breaking back into the mainstream. Artists like Ryan Adams, Ray Lamontagne, Josh Ritter, even artists in the UK like Liam Frost and Mumford and Sons, are pushing the americana music movement back to it’s rightful place at the forefront of the rock and alternative scene.
The americana scene has been growing in the UK for some time, with the emergence of websites like Americana UK contributing by providing a dedicated place for americana fans in the UK to stay on top of news, reviews and of course gigs. There’s also been big support from UK print music magazines, particularly Uncut who have been supporting americana acts for years. Now with a strong following of the genre in the UK it’s allowing UK americana acts to pack out gigs and even break into the UK charts.
With its distinctive retro vintage style and feel, the americana movement is attracting a huge following of rock ‘n’ roll inclined music lovers of a huge diversity. Thanks to having it’s roots firmly cemented in rock ‘n’ roll of the 60’s and 70’s, this is one genre that truly transcends any age, gender and race barriers. It is one of the most noticeable and amazing traits of the genre to see the diversity of fans at an americana/alt-country gig in the UK.
The dedicated following of this unifying genre are gaining a diverse but unique identity of their own. This is particularly evident in the look and style of this crowd. A truly authentic vintage, retro look is the order of the day. With a distinctively classic style, quite apart from the rest of the rock scene, the americana style is without doubt one of the most authentic, cool, retro looks around. The key is originality. Plaid or floral shirts and blouses, worn denim, winklepickers for men and of course vintage looking retro belt buckles. The style is truly authentic, pointedly rustic and totally retro.
The style of americana can be obtained from most of the big fashion retailers on the high street and online, thanks to the surge of the vintage look that has been growing for years. This might be the case but you get the feeling that many of the fans would not feel comfortable buying from such big chains. Considering the focus on originality and authenticity, it just isn’t in keeping with the general ethos of this very individualistic and authentic crowd. Still in it’s infancy in many respects, the new americana genre is yet to see it’s styles catered for in a specifically targeted way, and is yet to see it’s distinctive style supplied by distinctive, dedicated brands. Independent brands dedicated to and supportive of the very independent feel of the genre.