What’s in a Name?
Iremember the first time I heard Poco. It wasn’t too long after the Byrds recorded Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and Buffalo Springfield surprised us all. It was the Sixties, and I was on the road. The time-line might not hold up to strict history, but that’s way I remember it.
Someone called it Folk-Rock. That was okay with me, it dog-eared a page so I could find it again. I started listening for that sound. Mesa, from Wisconsin, came along, then Mason Profit showed up. Hearts and Flowers snuck onto the scene. Next thing you know there was The James Gang and The Pure Prairie League, and it was a groove we all could find.
Somewhere in there the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker spun off into Southern Rock, long before Lynyrd Skynyrd (back before Charlie Daniels went from pot smokin’ to flag wavin’), and Southern Rock was a decent description as well.
That brings me to Americana.
Maybe the name is just to big, too vague. Maybe I just like to whine. Maybe, like the word it’s derived from, it’s too complex to describe what we write, what we play so that an audience can say, “Ah, that’s what I want to hear.”
And maybe it has unraveled like a cheap sweater to the point where I can’t remember what it once was.
My question is sincere, though it might sound like a complaint. I hope not. Are we in danger of categorizing ourselves out of existence?