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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Buddy Cagle - had a few highly listenable albums in the mid to late 60s. Americana at its best.  Inexplicably, his music has never been released on CD.
Josh Graves on dobro.
Uncle Josh picked me up hitchhiking one time in either late '74 or early '75.

Sneaky Pete Kleinow

Clarence White


I think John Hartford should be on there somewhere.
Yes. He's on the border....Took Bluegrass to a new place, thus, the creation of the term, New Grass

One thing I know for sure. We'll prove your point that Americana is large...maybe too large.  But I like the idea of Roger Miller being at the top. We tend to disregard humor, whether it's music or movies, but it sure is necessary and a gift.

     Roger Miller once said that 'life is like taking candy from a gorilla.'

     It looks easy. Like trying to pick five key innovators in Americana.              Mike

Ha! My favorite quote of Roger's was that "Door hinge rhymes with orange"  :)
The Byrds
The Burritos
The Dead
Neil Young

Linda Ronstadt, Ry Cooder, Mike Nesmith, Leon Russell, David Bromberg, the Dillards, John Hartford,
John Prine, Little Feat, the Allman Bros, Hot Tuna and Delaney Bramlet deserve recognition too.
And THE BAND how could I forget The Band. I might have to bump the Burritos from my top 5 and replace them with The Band.
Though some participants on the No Depression page may be reluctant to agree, in terms of sales and popularity you have to include The Eagles. Not that they were originators but they borrowed from everyone on my list and connected with a mainstream audience.

Now that I re-read the original post I seem to have overlooked the unsung element.


My also deserves recognition artists probably qualify more as unsung than my top 5.





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