Who Are The Top Five Unsung Heroes of Americana Music?

So large is the field of Americana as a genre, it's hard even to define what this music actually is.....I have my own ideas and I believe a lot of people do also. I'd love to hear your thoughts on who were the key innovators in the establishment of what we've come to call Americana.  I have a list of five, but I'd like to read yours first!  

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In my view, the names of "the top five unsung heroes of Americana music" are different from the names of the "key innovators in the establishment of what we've come to call Americana." For example, Buddy Miller is a key innovator, but he's hardly "unsung."
Good point. My assumption is that the 'unsung heroes' are also 'key innovators.'  For example, Yank Rachell, the blues mando player, may be considered a key innovator in bringing the instrument to a different style. He's also unsung or unknown in the mainstream Americana world. So, maybe we define or what I'm looking for as five people who made a huge difference(instrumentalists or singer-songwriters) who are unsung/unknown to the majority. You're right, Buddy Miller is much appreciated. But, there are others who aren't....Tut Taylor also comes to mind.

Jeff Finlin

Bob Delevante

Stephen Simmons

Donal Hinely

Josh Ritter


KPIG radio
10-4 on that Unk! I'd have to say KPIG basically invented the formula!
And of course, it's pre-web predecessor, KFAT... that was truly the start of the genre that would be coined Americana.
It's a hard choice. Since they are singers none of them is unsung. However, right now these five voices count: Hayes Carll, Jason Isbell, Patterson Hood, Ryan Bingham and Unknown Hinson.
I probably should clarify...by, 'unsung' I'm thinking metaphorically for underappreciated or more directly, unacknowledged.    

Roger Miller

Buddy Miller

Buddy Ebsen

Kiki Ebsen

Kiki Dee

Jon Dee Graham

Okay, that's nonsense but it was kind of a fun way to add Jon Dee Graham to the list.


Buddy Ebsen 'oil that is'?


Kiki Dee ? unusual that one

Fair enough Andy but I challenge you to connect Buddy Ebsen with Jon Dee Graham in a purer Americanacentric Kiki-free method! 


Buddy played vibes and some vocals on 'Hooray For The Moon'



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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.