Americana, Wikipedia is trying to tell me, appeared as a specifically musical phrase in the mid-80s, though it feels more like the resurgence of Johnny Cash and his American Recordings (1994) that sent people scurrying away to try and find ANY other way of describing the music that wasn’t ‘country’. Perpetuating the merry-go-round, country now sounds like pop; pop is usually dance or ‘urban’; soul is R&B; Americana is…what is Americana now?
Well, it might well be country, whatever your interpretation of that is – bluegrass; folk; singer-songwriter…all these styles fit and work but one aspect doesn’t – it has never covered a uniquely American clientele. Canadiana, Brittanicana and of course Australiana, the adaptability is both fun and appealing and strikes to the heart of what the original phrase was trying to convey, that the artists was creating music from the heart of their surroundings, reflecting both their condition and their environment. A perfect example to demonstrate the point is Josh Kroehn, the Adelaide-based performer who has recently release his new single, Never Found.
With exactly the kind of fragility and poignancy one might associate with Americana, except that he hails from Australia’s south coast, Josh proves what is becoming increasingly clear – Americana’s flag-waving is dead and yet very much alive and kicking elsewhere. So long as artists like Josh Kroehn exist and bring reality and earnestness to music, Americana will live and breathe and live long in the memory…just don’t mention America, right?