Songs You May Have Missed #206


The Jayhawks: “I’d Run Away” (1995)

Alternative country, or “alt-country” (or Americana, or No Depression, or Insurgent country) was apparently as difficult a genre to name as to define. Basically it’s a country-rock hybrid that got its name during (and probably because of) the “alternative rock” branding of 90’s rock music. (Why bands like R.E.M. and U2 got labeled “alternative” in the first place I’ll never understand, but that’s another matter.)

The sound of alt country could be pretty diverse: some of it sounded like traditional honky-tonk country music, some leaned toward bluegrass, some was essentially rockabilly, and some could almost be called contemporary folk. But most music that fit the loose heading (or many headings) seemed to share a lo-fi aesthetic and a heartfelt lyrical style that eschewed the clichés of mainstream pop. Steel guitars didn’t hurt, either.

The Jayhawks, who actually made their first album in 1986, are considered to be among the godfathers of the movement. By the time of the release of 1995’s Tomorrow the Green Grass LP which included “I’d Run Away” some would claim they were already verging on jumping the shark of alt country for a lighter, more pop-leaning sound. But as far as I’m concerned the record is among their very best work–and the band is my favorite in the genre.

See also:

See also:

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