We’re not leaving Country Music behind, we’re taking “real” country music with us.
Ameripolitan Music LLC and The Ameripolitan Music Awards were created to benefit and acknowledge artists whose work does not readily conform to the tastes of today’s “country” or other music genres and organizations. It also provides fans with a means of finding these artists and their music.
Ameripolitan – This thought provoking word is intended to be an invitation to discuss the future of the music that is important to so many of us. By leaving the hopelessly compromised word “country” behind and exclusively using the term “Ameripolitan”, our intention is to reestablish this music’s own unique identity, elevate its significance and help reinvigorate it creatively. Also, because of our place in history, we have the privilege and responsibility to pass a great musical tradition on to future generations who will otherwise have no direct connection to this music.
As entertainment and as an art form, this music has continued to be enjoyed by people for over a century. Yet, the most recent generation to grow up listening to this music on mainstream country radio is now more than 50 years old. Artists like Buck Owens, George Jones, Faron Young, and Waylon Jennings, were routinely on the charts then.
You have to go back another generation to ask someone what it was like to see Elvis, Jerry Lee, or Buddy Holly when they first came on the scene, and though few and far between, you can still find people around who not only saw, but actually shared the stage with Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, and Bob Wills.
And the country music performers of that day, like the fans they entertained, all grew up listening to this kind of music. They understood they were part of a long tradition. They never disparaged that tradition; they were inspired by it and used their talents to contribute to it. Back then, they kept this tradition, not by preserving it in a museum, but by building on it, making it even better in the process. As writers, performers and fans of Ameripolitan music we are the living remnant of this tradition. Only by our continued diligent efforts and combined creative energies will this tradition continue to inspire people, and keep the music we love from becoming just another “dead language”.
We believe this extra effort is necessary because, for the majority of people under the age 50 years old, their country music experience has been vastly different. As far back as the 1970s, corporations began descending upon country music. Executives, disdainful of the great musical tradition they had inherited, were placed in charge of country music. With ruthless efficiency they separated the music from its roots, redefined the brand, until finally, they succeeded in remaking country music their own superficial image. Today, the only remaining vestige of tradition in country music is the name.
The days of debating the definition of what is, and what is not country music now seem irrelevant. No one involved in producing country music today can even begin to comprehend the argument. Alabama and Lynyrd Skynyrd are classic country to them.
Equally unsatisfying, “Americana Music” and other “Alt-Country” genres have become more about the quazi folk, singer / songwriter or the erzatz rocker and less about making music that gets people out on a honky tonk hardwood floor.
In our opinion, it is time to concede the point, leave them all to their own devices, and put the whole unpleasant chapter behind us. Once we have stopped wasting our time defending the “good name” of country music or decrying the ill-suited alternatives, we can go back to where the record skipped and continue on from there.
Announcing the 2014 Ameripolitan Music awards was the first official step down this road and many quickly joined the march by pledging their dollars to assist in the effort. As a result, the needed funds were raised in less than one month. We then solicited suggestions for nominees for the 2014 Ameripolitan Music Awards and the input has been fantastic. Based on the caliber of talent submitted for consideration, you can be sure, that all of the nominees in each category will be well qualified for the award and each will be an excellent ambassador for Ameripolitan Music.
The Ameripolitan Music Awards will acknowledge those Ameripolitan Artists whose music honors tradition while demonstrating exceptional originality, creativity, and musicianship. Through their work, Ameripolitan Music will ultimately be defined.
We then will acknowledge the Ameripolitan DJs and venues that promote these artists and their music.
Finally, we will honor a living legend who has kept the tradition alive through their music and perseverance.
Ameripolitan Music is a new music Genre with prominent roots influence. It is broken into four related subcategories: Honky Tonk, Western Swing, Rockabilly and Outlaw. Artists and bands can fall into one or more of these categories.
Musical and lyrical creativity is critical but to be considered Ameripolitan music, it must retain some of these traditional elements as well.
Honky Tonk is a versatile category but it is typically associated with shuffle and waltz time music with a strong danceable beat. Lyrically, it can range from rural to urban, from profane to patriotic, but an emphasis on the ups and downs of life and love in and around the honky tonk is common. Ray Price’s, Johnny Bush’s and Tammy Wynette’s music are classic examples. Dale Watson’s, James Hand’s and Amber Digby’s music are contemporary examples.
Western Swing has a lighter yet still very danceable swing beat. Lyrically, it can also range widely but an emphasis the sentimental and whimsical is not uncommon. Bob Wills’, Hank Thompson’s, and Cindy Walker’s music are classic examples. The Cornell Hurd Band’s, Asleep at the Wheel’s, and Dawn Sears’ music are contemporary examples.
Rockabilly is the most youth oriented of the styles. A strong up tempo dance beat is predominant. Lyrically, the music is often simple with cars, dating and other youth related activities being the most common subjects. Carl Perkins’, Jerry Lee Lewis’ and Wanda Jackson’s music are Classic examples. Big Sandy’s, James Intveld’s and Rosie Flores’s music are contemporary examples.
Outlaw was originally intended to describe how this music was made (outside the Nashville system) as much as what it sounded like. It has come to be associated with a slower, half time, heavy bass beat or more up tempo rock beats. Outlaw is lyrically similar to honky tonk and rockabilly. Waylon Jennings’, Willie Nelson’s and Jesse Colter’s music are classic examples. Pee Wee Moore’s, Roger Alan Wade’s and Sarah Gayle Meech’s music are contemporary examples.
Originally, all of this music was created as string band music to be played for a dancing and drinking crowd. It is important to understand this music, by nature, is participatory. The band and the audience experience this music together, physically and emotionally. It might be said, to truly be Ameripolitan music, it must be music couples can dance to.
The Ameripolitan Music genre is here. We invite all of you who love Ameripolitan Music to help spread the word.