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Your Music vs. Americana Genre

Contemporary music that celebrates our sonic heritage

If you grew up on music made before synthesizers, samples and electronic beats took over, you may wonder, Where is all the “real” music today? Well, much of it is practiced in a genre called Americana, where singer-songwriters carry on the tradition of this nation’s musical roots with a down-home blend of folk, blues, rock, country and other styles. On September 13, the Americana Music Association will hand out its annual awards in Nashville. We asked Kim Ruehl, editor of leading Americana magazine No Depression (the name comes from a 1930s Carter Family song), to suggest three artists to try.

If you like Emmylou Harris or Alison Krauss... 

If you like Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss, then try Sarah Jarosz

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Try Sarah Jarosz

A multi-instrumentalist, she fronts one of the most dexterous, creative string bands in the roots music world, and the depth of her songwriting on 2016’s Undercurrent won her two Grammy Awards.

If you like Joan Baez and Mavis Staples...

If you like Joan Baez and Mavis Staples, then try Rhiannon Giddens

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Try Rhiannon Giddens

This banjoist and fiddler trained in opera. Her 2015 album, Tomorrow Is My Turn,  showcases her powerful voice on roots music classics and her own emotionally stirring original song, "Angel City."

If you like John Prine and Bob Dylan ...

If you like John Prine and Bob Dylan, then try Jason Isbell

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Try Jason Isbell

His arresting, poetic lyricism tackles alcoholism, cancer, fatherhood, reckoning with his Southern roots and other deep topics, all delivered with his soulful country vocals and impressive guitar work.