Vol. 17 - The Americana Dream

Independence Day, new American pie, 73 wieners and The Ebony Hillbillies

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Apple pie, hot dogs, Coca-Cola, baseball, blue jeans, pickup trucks, diners, drive-ins and dives -- from sea to shining sea, Americans will over-indulge this weekend, celebrating the birth of the red, white, and blue along with everything that makes America… America

And nothing screams “freeeeeedom” more than Americana (though William Wallace does come to mind…). This melodic cultural mashup, popularized by Mark Humphrey’s KCSN radio show titled “Honky Tonk Amnesia”, spread its commercial wings circa 1984 — though its essence has passed through every songwriter’s soul since the beginning of the American experiment. The genre’s roots are intrinsically intertwined with the ups and downs of so many an American dream: part hunger, part strife, part folk, part love, part loss, part sorrow, part hope, part team-player, part rebel. On the technical side, it’s part bluegrass, part blues, part rock, part gospel, and a whole lotta sultry soul. Though we can’t quite define what it is, we know it’s uniquely and unequivocally American: complicated, yet fascinating. 

We’re a nation as diverse as its barbecue sauces — we’re a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll. Sometimes we sing the blues, sometimes we sing gospel to the skies above, but no matter what, we’re always a very proud folk. This is Americana.

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Blaze a Quilt Trail / An Americana Art Form That’s Sew Worth the Road Trip

Frank Facts / Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Isn’t for Weenies

Courtesy of the White, White and White / Team USA’s Latest Threads Are Causing a Fit

Old Navy Loves New Citizens / The Iconic Flag Tee Sports a 55-Star Spangled Banner

Bye, Bye Classic Apple Pie / New Baking Technique Looks Good in a Paper Bag

Wary + Strange / On Amythyst Kiah’s Fresh Americana Anthems

Revisiting Rockwell / A Modern Take on the Classic Paintings

Like a Pit Boss / Meet the Women Leading a Barbecue Revolution

Ameri’kana is Making Movies / A Living Documentary Explores American Music

The Story of Expectations / Two Queer Americana Artists Ignite the Industry

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We cooked up an all-star buffet of cinematic glory for yuns this week. Call up your Uncle Sam and smoke a whole hog — this watchlist will keep you sparkling well past the obnoxious post-midnight fireworks.

Curated by: The Fast Times Staff

Sabrina’s Holiday / The Ebony Hillbillies, 2004

Henrique Prince, a subway fiddler with big dreams and even bigger talent, gathered a few other pluckers in the early ‘80s and worked through every metro line weaving through New York City’s underbelly— playing tunes with soul that breathed life into Black Americana. It wasn’t until 2004 that this group expanded, recorded “Sabrina’s Holiday” and picked up some airtime as The Ebony Hillbillies, despite [white] Americana’s rise in popularity around about the time the group was founded. 

“These songs are part of Americana, but because of the directions commercial music has pushed everyone into — and the fact that in black communities, mainly because of the banjo, the music was maligned because of its association with Jim Crow and other unpleasant things — the art form has been somewhat forgotten... The roots of the modern jazz and blues, including the first evidence of syncopation, can be found there.” - Henrique Prince 

Ya thirsty for more Black Americana? Look no further than Paste Magazine — these cats got the beat. And, as always, dive into our weekly playlist.


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