As the lovely host of Americana Blues & Company here at WKNC, I am frequently asked two questions when I try to explain my show to someone:
1. Wait, your DJ name is Sweet Annie Rich? But that’s not your real name…
2. What is Americana?
To answer the first question, I must say to you: Gram Parsons. If you do not know who he was, look him up. It will make answering the second question much, much, MUCH easier.
Secondly… Americana is a LOT of things. It’s not simply country or bluegrass or rockabilly or what-have-you. It’s an amalgamation of the genres born right here in America (hence “Americana”), and, to quote the late great Gram Parsons himself: it is Cosmic American Music. It is where all of the purely American styles come together to create the true spirit of music. It is pure and transcendent.
For a primer in Americana, here’s a video which contains the old (a Gram Parsons song with Emmylou Harris, who is ubiquitous to the genre) meeting the new (Ryan Adams singing the part Gram used to sing) to keep this transcendent spirit alive and going: