The Americana Music Association festival is coming up – to celebrate, curators with a soft spot for the genre are adding their own picks onto our Essentials of Americana playlist. Tune in for a wide mix of music that falls under the Americana umbrella – and check back each week for new curators’ picks. Add your own on via social media, using the #essentialsofamericana hashtag.
Meet the curators and their picks below, and listen in on Spotify.
Jonah Tolchin – who plays this year’s Americana Fest with songs from his new album Clover Lane
Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons – “Too Many Doors”
The Devil Makes Three – “Old Number 7”
Joe Pug – “Nation Of Heat”
The Low Anthem – “Apothecary Love”
Deer Tick – “Ashamed”
Brown Bird – “The Devil Dancing”
A.A Bondy – “American Hearts”
Dan Blakeslee – “Picture in my Wallet”
Haunt The House – “You’ve Disappeared”
Carrie Colliton from Record Store Day
The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt “Counting The Hours”
I first saw John Howie, Jr as the drummer for a rock band called Finger, and kinda crushed hard on him because he makes the best drummer-having-fun faces I’ve ever seen. I crushed even harder after hearing his deep, deep voice as leader of the Pistols. It’s the perfect, perfect voice for duets, and whoever thought of pairing the Pistols with Tift Merritt for this EP of them deserves a medal. Honestly, my pick is the whole thing, but we’ll go with one of the two original songs here. Because there are damn fine songwriters behind those voices.
Uncle Tupelo “Screen Door”
I went to school in Blacksburg, Virginia, which was not the place Jeff and Jay were singing about in this song. But boy does it capture that time for me — sitting in our own little screened-in valley, learning about grown-up life, playing our songs and not caring what happened outside the screen door. And I’ll bet money it captures a place in your timeline too.
The Rev. Horton Heat “Where in the Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush”
Sometimes you just want to sing along to something fun and raucous and witty and sly, ya know?
Lucinda Williams “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”
Because, road trip.
Gram Parsons “Return of the Grievous Angel”
Gram may be the epicenter of Americana for me. And seemingly for a lot of people. (Fun fact: When we moved into our house, we hired a musician friend of a friend to paint it. He saw that I had some Gram Parsons albums and came back the next day with a live recording for me. We remain friends.)
X “The World’s A Mess It’s In My Kiss”
I could have picked any number of songs here, and really I could have picked any of their solo work or something by the Knitters. I just had to have these people, in some form, on my list.
Maria McKee “You Gotta Sin To Get Saved”
When I was a kid, I spent hours bouncing around my room, singing along and pretending that I was a Go-Go. Years later, I sang along to the Lone Justice leader’s second solo record and fervently pretended I could be as cool as she was.
The Band “The Weight”
This was my first introduction to whatever Americana really is. And I have my babysitter to thank for introducing us.
The Rolling Stones “Wild Horses”/”Faraway Eyes”
Billy Bragg makes a case that the Brits actually invented Americana, and there’s certainly a lot of songs/artists to back him up.
Kenny Roby “On The Wind”
Shame on me. I was around for this guy’s band Six String Drag and I didn’t pay attention. I heard his voice at a wedding, and that was it.