If you’re like me and discovering new music is a hobby of yours, you know that sometimes it can be difficult to stay completely up to date with your favorite genre.
Before this internship, I didn’t have a firm grasp as to what Americana music actually entailed, so I never really sought out to find the genre’s best new tracks like I do for alternative, for example.
I thought it’d be interesting to expand my music discovery horizons and open my mind to exploring fresh Americana tracks.
Here are eight cool new ones I’ve found over the last couple of weeks that you should definitely check out:
An observation I’ve made is that Americana/country are very white genres. Amethyst Kiah defies this observation with her recent hard-hitting single, “Black Myself.” This powerful track’s lyrics address the day-to-day struggles of being Black in this country as well as expressing self love in the skin she was born in. Underneath Kiah’s perplexing vocal performance is a blend of rock & roll and bluesy instrumentation.
I know I wrote a whole article about Lana Del Rey, but she’s literally my idol; I simply couldn’t exclude her from this list! Straying away from her usual sound, Del Rey took a new route toward Americana on her newest album, “Chemtrails Over The Country Club.” “Breaking Up Slowly,” featuring country singer Nikki Lane, offers a country influence in terms of the song’s lyrics and composition. To me, it just sounds like the perfect song to sing on your back porch or around a campfire.
The original version of this song came out a little while ago, so I’m emphasizing you check out the newly released stripped back version of this alternative track. If you listened to this version without context, you probably would’ve never guessed that it came from an Icelandic alternative rock outfit. The extremely raw harmonica and guitar brings an undeniably bluesy sound along with frontman JJ Julius Son’s powerful, raspy voice.
This song is great not only for its fantastic blend of folk, soul and blues elements, but for its meaning. The video description for this song included a quote from June herself: “Have you ever been a fool for a dream? It might have been a little dream like a kiss from a lover or a big one like the dream of peace that Dr. King, John Lennon and so many others have had for humanity. No matter how big or how small your dream may be, keep believing, and let the world call you a fool!” On the first listen, I could tell her performance came from the heart, but after reading this quote, that was affirmed for me. Such an important message, truly.
Sara Watkins puts a modern spin on the Sons of the Pioneers’ 1944 classic, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.” Her airy, feminine voice combined with the traditionally cowboy-esque lyrics and violin instrumentation makes for a gorgeous folk rendition. It’s a cute song, and almost sounds like a lullaby that you’d sing to a little one while they drift off into sleep.
Growing up a competitive dancer, I’m no stranger to Delta Rae, especially their hit, “Bottom of the River.” When I recalled hearing the soulful sound of that song at every competition, I wondered, “What are these guys up to now?” Their sound, at least in this song, has remained consistent: the same powerful female lead vocals, sharp percussion and the overall sense of darkness and unease. It’s simultaneously chilling and satisfying.
This song sounds a lot different from the others on this list; admittedly, it’s definitely more on the poppier side. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a fun beat and groovy hook. Honestly, any of Lake Street Drive’s songs will provide you with a pleasant listening experience, especially ones with strong Americana influences, like “Hush Money.” I guess this song could be added to your playlist if you need a dance break.
This nostalgic-sounding duet is the perfect song to play softly in the background whether you’re making a pancake breakfast or trying to listen to soothing tunes before bedtime. Clyde and Albino’s voices blend so perfectly together, making beautiful music that doesn’t need more than the bare, naked guitar underneath to make a great song. If you’re a folk enthusiast, this song should definitely be on your playlist.