In recent years, Americana music has gained increasing popularity. Despite this, most artists don’t focus on printing album covers featuring images of classic cars or rural farmhouses.

Americana is an umbrella term that encompasses various music styles, including roots music and country. With growing attention on the internet, the subgenre is becoming more widely recognized.

Defining Americana Music

This is a diverse subgenre that covers an extensive range of musical styles. It combines elements of modern country, folk, rock, blues, bluegrass, and R&B, creating a unique blend. In essence, Americana is a fusion of different musical styles rooted in traditional American genres.

History and Origins of Subgenre

The term “Americana” first appeared in the 1990s when musicians sought to create a distinct genre. A few years later, the Academy of Americana Music formalized their efforts by launching an awards show and setting criteria for the genre.

The name “Americana” is a combination of “American” and music, paying homage to classic American art forms like film noir and abstract expressionism.

Main Characteristics

  • It serves as an alternative form of country music, blending folk, rock, and blues
  • It refers to both older roots sounds and newer forms, encompassing various decades and styles
  • Its sound is inspired by roots genres—music that preceded rock ‘n’ roll
  • It is often not considered mainstream by record companies

Distinguishing Americana from Country Music

It is important to note that the term “Americana” is a catch-all term for music that falls outside the mainstream country realm. This does not automatically categorize it as independent. Listening to Americana music frequently exposes listeners to more experimental techniques and ideas than a typical country song.

Another way to understand this difference is through sales figures: Country music albums outsell all other genres except rock ‘n’ roll, surpassing hip-hop, pop, and jazz by millions of units each year.

In comparison, Americana albums do not achieve the same level of success. It has a smaller audience than country music as a whole, although many fans listen to both genres.


This article has introduced the history and individual characteristics that define Americana music. Will it be around forever? The answer is no.

However, Americana music will always hold a special place in American culture, ensuring that this genre will endure for quite some time. If you appreciate good old-fashioned music, give Americana a try! You just might discover a new favorite artist or album.
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