Folk, country, meat and potatoes rock and roll, rhythm and blues, soul…Americana, like America itself, is an estuary of influences. This playlist features a sampling of tracks from the Vault that feature American archetypes in the genres heard and the stories told.
There are songs about working in the fields (“King Harvest”) and the coal mines (“Cumberland Blues”), traveling through the vast expanses of the country (“Country Caravan,” “City of New Orleans,” “King of the Road”), celebrating the innocence of love (“Peach Pickin,’” “Such a Night,” Jack and Diane”), and ruing love lost (“Mandolin Rain”). There are stories that glorify outlaws (“I Fought the Law,” “Glendale Train”), contemplate death and aging (“Bleeding Bells,” “From,” “Hickory Wind,” “Rockin’ Chair,”), and capture the spirit of a generation (“American Pie,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”).
Despite their differences, these songs all use the distinctive imagery of our varied landscapes, cities, states, and seasons. And the pervasive message throughout is that, although life in America often entails enduring great hardships (or, as Bruce says, “heading straight into the desert storm”), through faith and hope in whatever one believes, we know we can persevere (“I’m a Pilgrim”). America will always have a place for us, even if it takes a while to find it (“Proud Mary”).
And when another working day is done, there is no better way to reflect upon what we can be thankful for than by sitting down with our loved ones and singing along to an American lullaby (“Sweet Baby James,” “Grey Goose”).