The title may sound like a nebulous marketing ploy, and yet for about twenty years, Americana had been summarizing this blend of rock, country, blues and rhythm ‘n’ blues. And like in every big family, you’ll find almost every type of person: the rebellious daughter, the cultivated uncle, the agitated father, the driven cousin, etc.

How to tackle country, folk and blues when you grew up influenced by punk or at least it's DIY spirit? Fashions may come and go, but some genres still invariably continue to be a source to which musicians perpetually come back. The word Americana may smell of leatherette—or even of adulterated alcohol—rather than of leather, it still gathers a dense battalion under a country, folk, blues and rhythm ‘n’ blues perfusion. And since a legend or an anecdote is often the origin of a genre name, Americana was apparently born around 1995, as a name of a new radio format to fulfil the needs of a growing audience that was unsatisfied by the purely rock or purely country stations, each one too specialized in their genre. KFAT in California and KFAN-FM “Texas Rebel Radio” in Texas promote this Americana.

And yet, already between the middle of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s, some big names of the golden age of rock didn’t attempt to bite the hand of this folksy legacy. Even if he spent only 26 years on this planet, Gram Parsons will remind the Byrds (Sweetheart Of The Rodeo in 1968) and even the Rolling Stones (Exile On Main Street in 1972) that country music isn’t an STD. He will yell it in a superb way at the head of his Flying Burrito Brothers (The Gilded Palace Of Sin in 1969 and Burrito Deluxe in 1970) but also in solo (GP in 1973 and Grievous Angel in 1974). Just like Neil Young will continue to draw from folk and even from country. Bob Dylan obviously remains one of the first to draw inspiration from this large repertoire, revisiting as soon as 1962, on his first eponymous album, songs from forgotten bluesmen like Jesse Fuller, Bukka White and Blind Lemon Jefferson, and recording in 1969 a famous duo with the pope of country, Johnny Cash, Girl From The North Country. The Band—accomplices of the same Dylan—will also surf on this folk and country reinterpretation. But the advent of disco and punk will quickly cast all that into oblivion…

Listen more