Top 5 Americana, Alt-Country, Bluegrass and Folk Songs of 2017 (So Far)

Americana, alt-country, bluegrass, and folk are the hard-to-categorise cousins ​​of country music. The best songs of the year in these genres (so far) tackle common country topics – heartbreak, nostalgia, love and politics – but they do it from a slightly different angle and with a slightly different sound. .

The results, whether stripped down and gloomy, or loud and rocky, are always something special. Below, The Boot counts down the best Americana, alt-country, bluegrass and folk songs of 2017…at least, so far.

  • 5

    “Children in the Street”

    Justin Townes Earle

    “My best friend lived in this house / And we played ball in the street after school / And I notice how he lives now / I heard that his mother lost her house and had to move”, Earle sings in “Kids in the Street”. “And of course it looks better these days / Well, it’s hard to believe / And that’s not how it was in 1993.”

    “Kids in the Street” is a dark, stripped-down acoustic song steeped in nostalgia: Earle mourns his old neighborhood, his childhood hauntings, but the singer-songwriter captures a universal feeling: the longing for a home that has disappeared or changed.

  • 4

    “Everyone is looking for their home”

    Outlaw Sam

    Outlaw’s soulful first single from his second album, Soft heart, is painfully personal — “It’s basically a song for me,” the singer tells Fader — and the accompanying music video underscores that fact. The clip uses footage from Outlaw’s iPhone to show the two homes of his life – his touring home and his performing home – and the life he leaves behind with his wife and young son to do so. .

    “And I remember a man who won’t wait for pleasure / In a garden that won’t grow,” Outlaw sings in “Everyone’s Looking for Home”. “So if your journey ends, but the road seems endless / It’s because everyone’s looking for a home.”

  • 3


    Nikki Lane

    “Jackpot”, Nikki Lane’s kinetic stomper, is a lot of fun. She uses Vegas imagery as a metaphor for trying her luck and getting lucky in love: “I didn’t have to say another word / No, that was all it took / I said, ‘Let’s go hard’ / Put a quarter in the slot / There it is :jackpot.” It’s a perfect representation of the rock-tinged honky-tonk that Lane does so well.

  • 2

    “All I Ask For”

    The band of pagans

    “All I’m Asking” is a song made for driving with the windows down: driven by handclaps and Black Keys-style guitar riffs, the song is somehow stripped down but full at the same time.

    “To go back to that / First time I saw your face / The taste when we kissed,” say the lyrics to “All I’m Asking”. “We do it again, I’ll do better / Maybe next time we’ll be together.”

    When the nostalgic background vocals arrive during the song’s second half, it underscores the melody’s central plea: one more chance.

  • 1

    “I hope the high road”

    Jason Isbell and Unit 400

    Both deeply personal and far-reaching, “Hope the High Road” finds Isbell signaling a change in direction: “I’ve heard enough of the white man’s blues,” he proclaims. “I’ve sung enough about myself.”

    “I know you’re tired / And you don’t sleep well / Uninspired and probably mad as hell,” Isbell continues in the chorus of “Hope the High Road”. “But wherever you are / I hope the high road brings you home / To a world you want to live in.”

    “Hope the High Road” is global and political, hopeful and catchy.

NEXT: Top 5 Country Music Videos of 2017 (So Far)

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