Whaddaya call it?
Alt. Country, Americana, Roots Rock, Country Rock, Insurgent Country, Cowpunk, Southern Rock, Outlaw Country, Progressive Country, Heartland Rock, Red Dirt, or what Gram Parsons called it when asked to describe what he did: “Cosmic American Music”. I like that one. And then there are the regional distinctions: The Nashville Sound, Bakersfield Sound, Memphis, Tulsa, Muscle Shoals. And sub genres: Bluegrass, Western Swing, Rockabilly.
I’ve been asked many times, “What kind of band is Along Came Jones?” I usually stumble at the question and say something vague like, “We’re a rock band with country and blues influences, but you’ll hear other styles also”. People seem unsatisfied by this answer and I find myself wishing that I could just pull out a term that covered it, like “We’re a Rockabilly band”, or “We’re a Western Swing band”, or “We play Classic Country”. But we’re none of these. Well, we can be, but not really. One review of our first record referred to us as an Americana band, but described the track Mr. Bluebird as “sounding like a lost track from Revolver”. I’ll take it, but it does muddy the waters.
Our new record (see New Music tab) is more contained than the first one, but even in our containment we cover many varieties of Country styles as well as Gospel, Blues, etc. We simply stay clear of the 60s Rock sound that we had in some of the songs on the first record. (Our next record, which is half done, will cover all that).
Does it help a band to play music in an easily identified genre? It certainly helps anyone trying to market a record. It probably helps a reviewer who needs something to compare it to. It might even help a listener have a context around what they’re listening to. But alas, it’s probably too late for Along Came Jones (or is it?).