In his article “Forgetting the Roots: Does it Matter Who Makes Folk Music?” Taylor Coe explores the importance of history for folk musicians and how their creation stories can influence their effect on listeners. Some prefer a little more Strictly Bluegrass when it comes to Americana music.
“Sometimes the music wins—sometimes ‘authenticity’ doesn’t matter. For instance, I’m not bothered by the fact that Gillian Welch was raised in Los Angeles in a middle-class household. Her brand of Americana is just as striking to me as that of Loretta Lynn, who grew up as an honest-to-God coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia. Even though their origin stories are starkly different, I feel that their music boils down to the same comparative essence. Authenticity be damned, their music has got the stuff I’m after.”