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WonkoTheSane
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alt country

Having just picked up an Old 97's album, and already owning some Neko Case, and some Kelly Willis, I find myself at a loss for more albums from this "alt coutry" genre.

Any of you folks with access to better music shops, or publications have some recommendations?

Monty
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Re: alt country

Pat Greene, Corey Morrow immediately come to mind. Tish Hinijosa is somewhat obscure and one of my local favorites. I've always like Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keene, though they can cross over from country to bluesy rock pretty easy. Steve Earle isn't exactly mainstream, but his early stuff is country.

I'll try to think of some more tomorrow, i'm off to bed.

jdm56
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Re: alt country

You might try a little Lucinda Williams, Wilco or the Derailers.

jazzfan
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Re: alt country

I'm real old school when it comes to alt country and like the original alt country rockers the best and they would be the Flying Burrito Brothers (with Gram Parsons). The next wave would be represented as stated by Monty with the Texas rebels like Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keene, The Flatlanders and even Lyle Lovette and of course Lucinda Williams.

For more modern versions there's Uncle Tupelo (widely credited with reviving the genre, but I don't think it ever needed reviving), Wilco, Son Volt, The Jayhawks, Janet Bean, Calexico and lots of others. I highly recommend Calexico, particularly their excellent concert video "World Drifts In (Live At The Barbican London) (2004)" which has great sound in spite of the fact that it's only Dolby 5.1 and not DTS.

Audiopath
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Re: alt country

Check out Bright Eyes. You can listen to samples on several of the big e-tailers.

uofmtiger
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Re: alt country


Quote:
Flying Burrito Brothers (with Gram Parsons).

This would have been my first choice, too.

You should grab "The Gilded Palace of Sin" by the Flying Burrito Brothers and "G.P./Grievous Angel" by Gram Parsons.

Whiskeytown w/ Ryan Adams would be my next choice.

jazzfan
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Re: alt country


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Whiskeytown w/ Ryan Adams would be my next choice.

Man, I completely forgot about Ryan Adams, the golden boy of alt country. Good call, Derek.

I would also recommend is his quite good "Gold" ablum, either on CD or better yet the double LP release. Plus there are, at present, 68 Ryan Adams shows available for listening or free downloading from the archive.org web site, so you can try before you buy. And several of the other artists mentioned in this thread also have shows available on archive.org, as I keep on saying, it's one hell of a great resource.

Buddha
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Re: alt country

Boy oh boy, where to start?

Alt country. OK.

My time line gets a little messed up, purely because when I found certain things, they were new to me at the time, but may have been around a while before I got there!

From my experience, alt country started with the "regular" country guys who couldn't get airplay or get records made by the "country establishment."

Alt country couldn't be found on the radio dial very easily when I was a nipper.

John Prine was maybe my first, which then lead me to the Captain and Gram Parsons.

Maybe even Neil Young's Harvest album is old enough to be considered seminal, for me.

In the 70's, Willie definitely lead the charge, along with Waylon, Merle, and Johnny Cash - AFTER he couldn't get ready airplay on country stations.

Even Kris Kristofferson makes my alt country list from back then.

Alt country also includes a huge piece of acoustic "American Traditional" styles and artists, so then the stew gets really complicated!

What the original carter Family accomplished strikes me as alt country, simply because "regular" country had drifted so far away from that by the time I got into music. There's that messy timeline again.

Along the way, I agree with the great names you guys have listed. I love Lyle and Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt and sometimes Wilco, etc...

Calexico is a great great group.

I'd also toss in a cult favorite of mine, Richmond Fontaine.

Zigging back to the 70's, Emmylou Harris helped carry the torch.

Jim Lauderdale, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Lucinda, I'm even tempted to say that you could easily put together a CD or two of Los Lobos songs and have it hit squarely in the territory of alt country!

Colin Linden is great...well, blah blah blah.

OK, time to crown my kings:

1) Willie is the shit. The real deal, musical national treasure, the works.

2) As already mentioned, John Prine. We're talking, what, 36 years since his debut?

3) Not sure how long I've dug him, but it's getting up there, James McMurtry deserves a seat at the adult table.

jazzfan
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

Hey Buddha,

Wonderful history lesson but who the heck is "the Captain"? No really, you did a great job in putting a real timeline on what is basically the BS marketing label of "alt country".

As a quasi-Deadhead I doeth protest, but only very mildly mind you, that you left the boys off the list since their early '70's efforts of "Working Man's Dead" and "American Beauty" fall squarely into the alt country genre.

And then there's the crossover of alt country and Americana, which opens up a whole other wing of the musical history museum. Olders groups like The Band and The Byrds and newer groups like Over the Rhine and Gillian Welch.

Okay, I'm trying to type this while listening to "Bird Flight", the daily morning radio show featuring Charlie Parker's music and my head is starting to spin. I think I'll stick to jazz and leave it to Buddha and company sort out this altcountry/Americana/folk/rock/etc mess.

Buddha
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

Captain Beefheart.

Or maybe it was the guy with Tennille?

You are spot on, Jazzfan, The Band and early Dead have cuts that fit right in.

So, I'll leave my definition of alt country standing as "country music that doesn't get country airplay or qualify for the country charts."

Cheers, buddy!

Buddha
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

I had some long drives to make this weekend and figured out the answer to this question.

Alt Country is country music played by artists who are too politically liberal to get played on regular country radio.

Does that fit?

Not trying to be provocative, I think that's really it.

misterdecibel
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Re: alt country


Quote:

Maybe even Neil Young's Harvest album is old enough to be considered seminal, for me.

You can go further back than "Harvest", try Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere".

uofmtiger
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Re: alt country - History Lesson


Quote:
I had some long drives to make this weekend and figured out the answer to this question.

Alt Country is country music played by artists who are too politically liberal to get played on regular country radio.

Does that fit?

While I am not going to argue your point because I believe it is part of the equation. I think another factor is at issue. Usually, it seems to be country outsiders that either emerged from rock or small labels where they had the freedom to mix traditional sound with more eccentric styles influenced by rock or even punk rock. Drugs and other influences also seem to be responsible for the separation of country and alt country.

Buddha
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Re: alt country - History Lesson


Quote:
While I am not going to argue your point because I believe it is part of the equation. I think another factor is at issue. Usually, it seems to be country outsiders that either emerged from rock or small labels where they had the freedom to mix traditional sound with more eccentric styles influenced by rock or even punk rock. Drugs and other influences also seem to be responsible for the separation of country and alt country.

I still like your definition, man.

Sitting here listening to the newest Richmond Fontaine and wondering how to categorize it.

I really like Richmond Fontaine, but the wife says she thinks it's depressing.

I guess that makes it country-ish!

mjalazard
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

You may think of him as a New Wave artist and on the edge of Punk, but Elvis Costello recorded several country songs:
The entire Almost Blue album is indeed alt-country.
"Different Finger' (Trust); "Glitter Gulch" "I'll Wear It Proudly"; "American Without Tears" (King of America); "Radio Sweetheart";"Stranger In The House" (My Aim Is True)
These songs all fit this genre as well.
Cracker should be thrown in the mix as well.
Mike

Buddha
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

Cracker?

Well, the name is country enough, I guess.

mjalazard
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Re: alt country - History Lesson


Quote:
Cracker?

Well, the name is country enough, I guess.


You better listen to them again, Buddha!
Their first album alone is full of alt-country songs: "Can I Take My Gun To Heaven", "Someday", "Another Song About The Rain", Mr. Wrong".
"How Can I Live Without You", "Dixie Babylon" and "I Can't Forget You" are from The Golden Age. "Lonesome Johnny Blues" is on Kerosene Hat.
Gentleman's Blues and Countrysides both have alt-country songs.
So, if you want, I'll burn you a few discs.
Mike

rvance
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

Don't forget Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats. Too pure to be parody. Too funny to be mainstream. Best session men in Nashville. A corn cob classic.

mmole
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

By that definition (country music that doesn't get played on country radio) the seminal "alt country" albums are Ray Charles "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (Volumes 1 & 2)." As Jazzfan notes, the Byrds "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" (with that man Gram Parsons) is an important milestone (heck, it's practically an alt country statement of purpose and blueprint for the future).

Oh, and of course "the Captain" is wrestling great Captain Lou Albano.

ncdrawl
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Re: alt country - History Lesson

Alright.. my favorite subject. I am an alt country addict, expert, and musician! the byrds are the "token" answer, but really, it started long before them....

rather than go on a diatribe about what the genre is or is not.. I will list some albums that to me, define it, have made it what it is today.. when you want more, come right on back, son, and i shall refill your cup!

The Old 97s: Too Far to Care
DeYarmond Edison: Silent Signs
Wilco-Being There
Jayhawks--Hollywood Town Hall
Whiskeytown-Strangers ALmanac, Faithless Street
Richard Buckner-Devotion and Doubt
Slobberbone-everything you thought was right was wrong today
Kris Kristofferson

Allen Fant
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Re: alt country

All of Ryan Adams albums are superb, IMO.

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