In case you haven't noticed, the "Americana Revival" thing is big right now. Rootsy, mostly acoustic acts like Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers didn't just break out of the "No Depression" ghetto; they actually topped the charts.
And while a shift away from synthetic gloss toward dusty, "authentic" folk music certainly sound appealing from one point of view, it's starting to feel a little like "dress up music," like a Halloween party where everyone has come disguised as ole-timey prospectors.
"Everyone is wearing vests and suspenders now," laughs Jesse Teer of modern Americana band The Senators. "Even if there isn't an acoustic guitar on stage -- they'll be playing hard rock. That look is just vogue right now."
The Senators certainly aren't afraid to look the part, but on their Cross of Gold EP, they don't sound like they're singing you a Cracker Barrel sales pitch, either.
"When you listen to old recordings, and then you put on a new pop album, you're like, 'Whoa, this is really polished, this is really produced,'" Teer says. "We listen to a lot of old Sun Records stuff, and in its inception, it wasn't the highest quality studio, but they really got a lot of feel and grit out of what they were doing. That's kind of what we draw on."
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But Teer isn't interested in retro-minded recreation, and with The Senators, he seeks to craft something rooted in today's world as much as some mythic American golden age that never really existed.
"Thematically, we wanted to push it," Teer says. "We don't want to always sing about a 'railroad down in Dixie,' but we take some of those elements. I can't wait for electronica/alt-country to hit. It probably already has."