For a while now i’ve tried to find artists, at least songs, that combined the moody, soundscape-ish, and experimental qualities of post-rock with the emotional content and instrumentation of country and blue grass music.
I call this potential genre of music ‘post-country’.
The problem is, i know of no bands that are dedicated to making post-country as their main genre of work, and most of what exists that i give this label to are scattered songs from various post-rock and country artists, while a few albums from bands like “Friends of Dean Martinez” hit the mark, but only for an album. When i type related terminology into a search engine, i find threads of other people looking for the same thing. It’s these threads where i’ve found most of the examples i’ve compiled elsewhere. I want to write this blog as another public attempt to articulate and collect this sort of stuff in one place, hopefully so it becomes less of a vague idea and more of actual musical movement.
Wikipedia says this about post-rock, if you aren’t familiar with it:
“Post-rock is a subgenre of rock music characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock, but using rhythms and “guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures” not traditionally found in rock. Post-rock bands are often without vocals.”
If you plug “country music” in there instead of “rock”, we have a pretty good starting point.
To get a good handle on post-rock, it may help to go listen to a few tracks by Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, and Sigur Ros.
My dream is to enjoy dreamy music that evokes sublime rural landscapes and crashing thunderstorms. Think of some big band in a honky-tonk trying to play you an ambient orchestra piece with the instruments on hand. Minimal lyrics, experimental structures, county twang, and ambient soundscapes rising in crashing and melodic crescendos. If you’ve read some of my other posts you may know that ground-up culture and land/region based identity are important to me, and this effort for a post-country movement is in part caused by sections of my youth having occurred in rural areas with country music as a constant background score. Modern radio country is generally unpleasant to me, and i’d like a genre that reflects my love of country instrumentation as well as my affinity for experimental rock and garage style jams.
And while post-country is my priority, i’m also interested in any attempts at ‘Bootgaze’ music and Ambient Americana. Bootgaze would be a similar concept to post-country in that a slightly related genre of music, shoegaze, would be fused with country and folk sounds for a different emotional and aesthetic experience.
Shoegaze music tends to be a kind of alternative rock typified by dreamy soundscapes where the use of pedal effects like distortion and feedback merge many of the instruments sounds into ‘walls of sound’. Bootgaze would be the same idea, but with a focus on the use of country and folk instruments. Check out Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine
To round it out, Ambient Americana would be a general term for any ambient or instrumental music that clearly was inspired by folk, blue grass, country, or southwestern sounds. Jay Ungar’s or Bill Frisell’s work comes to mind.
Instruments i think that would be important and prominent in post-country:
Slide guitars (lap slides and also guitars just played with a slide), banjos, steel guitars and resonators, harmonicas, violins, cellos, organs, pianos, mandolins, accordions, and all the instruments we associate with rock and roll. I think brushes used on drums would be utilized more than they are for rock and roll. Slide guitar sticks out as a prominent part of the idea as a whole.
Anyway, if you have the same interest to see this become its own musical movement, then get on it! …Cuz i don’t have any musical talent.
If you could, collect examples of it in some public forum and go out and make it if you have any musical ability! And please, leave music recommendations as comments on this blog post! l’m always looking for more.
I made a youtube playlist collecting the examples i’ve found that i update now and then. Some of the examples hit closer to the mark than others, but all tend to have some little element i’m looking for:
(You can use the icon in the top left corner to look at the whole list, or hop through each track with the fast forward/ rewind looking buttons around the play button)
The wiki for ‘post-rock’:
The wiki for ‘shoegaze’:
A page i found getting to a similar point:
“The sound of the west is deep in our collective DNA. From Aaron Copland‘s “Billy the Kid” to Gary Burton‘s Duster andExplosions in the Sky‘s Friday Night Lights score, it manifests itself in evocative ways. It’s not the call of broken hearts and beer, line dancing and trucking. Instead, it taps into the landscapes, mysticism and mythology of a true west.”
Another thread getting at something similar: