Americana Music: Josh Ritter, Jason Isbell, and Gillian Welch

Preface: In this post I refer to some music styles and their designed appeal to the troops. This is not a commentary on people in military service or their music preferences. As I’ll say in the post, troops (or members of military services) are not a monolith. They are complex and cannot be grouped or labeled. For a more insightful analysis of military service members, veterans, and their treatment in our society I recommend Sebastian Junger’s book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.


Americana music. What is it? The word “roots” seems to come up a lot. Is it something still involving singing and guitars but not Nashville country and not alternative rock? Is it folk music with an edge? I don’t know. I’m not a music blogger (I think that requires a lot of work and energy), but I would like to dive into 3 songs from 3 different artists that have resonated with me.

Josh Ritter. How can you not love this guy? He is so happy at every show he plays. He’s got so much on-stage energy. His songwriting is deep and reflective, sometimes even dark. His band, The Royal City Band, plays as if they’re the successors to Bob Dylan’s backing band, The Band.

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