The NBT Music Columns : The Future of Country/Americana/Roots Rock


The First of, I hope; many articles from Singer Songwriter True Independent

Ron Rutherford

24 Oct 2007 (W) NBT Blog Subject: The Future of Country/Americana/Roots Rock

Having turned 16 in 1969, I was privileged to have experienced the music of the 60s as a young man. What an absolutely amazing time it was, for every time I turned around there was yet another mind-blowing single or album being released, and it was all on the radio aside from being widely available on vinyl or “black licorice.” Even the “B” or flip sides could not be discounted, and sometimes were the better songs and production. As we say nowadays but in retrospect, it was all good, and coming at speed with cool, kinetic, kilowatt weight. My ear was firmly to the Rock and Roll railroad track and I was thoroughly enjoying each and every successive “hit” from the oncoming tune traffic.

5 years later, as a 21 year old in ’74, even more profound changes had occurred on the music scene. The music of many was interfacing and the genres/styles were intermingling to an even larger degree i.e. Progressive Rock and Jazz-Rock Fusion to name a few. Not only an artistic and cultural revolution had occurred, but an evolution that took the cap off the genre genie bottle for good.

Then, there appeared to be a paradigm shift in the mid to late ‘70s, and the aforementioned music and culture metamorphosis cycle was predominantly over. Life continued and great music was still being made, but something had changed.

No need to go into great detail. Those of us who lived it know about it. Those who did not can easily understand from a little search and discovery of the history of not only the music of the time but the society as well.

Point being, out of the smoke and ashes of all the movements and over the decades since came a rebound and return to fundamentals by many musicians; to what became known in modern times as “classic” or “roots.”

Thus, in the modern music era we find a whole new brand of Country/Americana/Roots Rock being created and released born from their predecessors that are as musically viable and artistically alive as ever. I also would include Folk and Blues in this broad stroke. Well crafted songs sung with passion and produced with skill. All derivative from what came before but still brilliant and well worth the listen in a new unit of time.

The technology to record and deliver has moved light years into the digital age, and the Internet has made the music available broadly to anyone, anywhere, at any time, so one only need travel the web to hear wonderful new music and get to know worldwide music artists intimately.

As I surf MySpace Music and other sites dedicated to “word and song” I am constantly impressed with the level and amount of great music being produced that would not be heard if it were not for the Internet. You won’t hear these great artists on land-based, terrestrial radio, satellite, television or cable. You won’t know about all the “new” music without tuning into Podcasts and Internet Radio along with media players on professional, social networking and personal music sites. Therefore, the “new media” digital technologies have leveled the playing field.

From having practiced what I am preaching here, I can tell you unequivocally that the Country/Americana/Roots Rock scene and every other form of music are thriving underground and above ground. There is no lack of great singer/songwriters and bands to enjoy no matter where you turn your music attention dial to on the Internet.

As mentioned before, MySpace Music and other music oriented sites have been gold mines for me in discovering what my peers are up to with their careers.

It’s a brave new world for the music entertainment industry and song show business. A renaissance is ongoing and one could say yet again “viva la revolucione” in a similar manner to the ‘60s and ‘70s music scene. Difference being that there’s no slowing or stopping this train now as happened in the mid to late ‘70s. Just the sheer volume and quantity of great music readily available worldwide thanks to the digital age and the Internet will keep things on track this time. The multitude of “tracks” of phenomenal quality of today’s Country/Americana/Roots Rock artists is forging a path into an exciting time where the ghosts of music past are getting new life.

The fundamentals, and those practicing and molding them into 21st century music, never really went away, it’s just that now they are coming back to the forefront bigger and better than ever with a vengeance, and I for one am thrilled with the current state of music affairs and the prospects for a more than healthy future as my ears breathe a continuous sigh of relief while navigating the no longer “nether regions” of music on the Internet from the ability to experience the freedom fork-in-the-road bypass of the ever-present commercial media machine onslaught.

Yes, I am happy to report that Country/Americana/Roots Rock is alive and well and leading the charge down the track. I trust now the train will keep a comin’ all night long and won’t be derailed ever again. The switch has been pulled and we are off and runnin’ hot.

Take a good listen to the current Country/Americana/Roots Rock music and I’d be willing to bet you dollars to donuts that you agree with me. ‘Nough said…bets on…and we all win! Welcome to the Music Revolution circa 2007!

Now close your eyes and envision Paul Revere on his horse with an iPod on rockin’ to the sounds of Country/Americana/Roots Rock as he spreads the good news, and give me a good giddy up and Yee Haw as we kick up good new music dirt!

Happy Country/Americana/Roots Rock listening and creating…wagons ho…let’s ride!

And, as always, keep your freak flag flyin’!


_____________Ron Rutherford

Rarestar Music

Rarestar Records

Los Angeles, CA, USA
CD Baby
AirPlay Direct
Podsafe Music Network

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s