Alternative Country is Folk's newest grandchild, and its artists and bands run the gamut from what looks like Bluegrass to what looks like Rock and Roll, but one thing binds them all together: when someone hears an Alt Country record, they always ask "So what kind of music would you say this is?"
The band that really started the monster. The boys from Uncle Tupelo have gone on to form some of the other most important bands in Alternative Country. But their original recordings continue to attract fans far and wide.
Son Volt was one of the first spin-offs of Uncle Tupelo, and for five years, they rocked the Alternative Country world (meaning they raised eyebrows among Rock, Country, Folk, and Bluegrass
fans). Their headmaster Jay Farrar has gone on to a fabulous solo career, but Son Volt is still selling records!
Perhaps one of Alternative Country's most indefinable troubadours, Steve Earle picked up Townes Van Zandt's
torch and ran with it. His songs range from lonesome cowboy numbers to the blues to damn-the-man Singer/Songwriter dirges, and he's definitely not one to miss.
It's hard to know just where to categorize Lucinda, but no place seems more fitting than Alternative Country. Her Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
record (Mercury/Universal, 1998) rocked the socks off the Country, Rock, and Folk worlds, and her work continues to resound today.
They're young, they're cute, and they rock. Nickel Creek is sort of Bluegrass, sort of Rock, sort of Singer/Songwriter-ish, which means they fit perfectly under the Alt Country label. One fiddle, one mandolin, and one guitar make this trio a straight-forward rocking adventure in acoustic music. Besides, they draw young crowds to the festivals
, and everyone is grateful for that.
Lyle's one of those guys who started out in regular Country music, and somehow managed to morph himself into an Alternative Country favorite. His music hasn't changed much at all, but the music world has. His smooth, cool voice, sweet melodies, and cowboy style make him an unforgettable, inimitable artist.
Jason and the Scorchers are like Hank Williams on crack. The band is decidedly cowboy, and decidedly rockstar. They've been known as one of the most defining forces in the Alternative Country world, and they've got a heck of a loyal fan base.
The Be Good Tanyas are a lovely trio of women who make great low key sort-of Bluegrass music. The women of this band have some really outstanding side projects as well, but Be Good Tanyas is something altogether special. Their music is great for rainy days and road trips.
The Waybacks are one of those somewhat unknown bands that everyone seems to know about. They don't get a whole lot of press, but they're definitely one of the best bands around - regardless of what style of music you're into. True to form of many Alt Country players, they're a little bit Bluegrass, a little bit Folk, and a little bit Rock & Roll.
Eliza has been around for a while, and her tunes are possibly some of the most infectious songs around. She leans a little more toward the Folk Singer/Songwriter area, but with a decidedly Alt Country bent. She's really lights up stages at festivals and on her own solo tours.