KSPC Corner: Rediscovering Americana Music on Wednesdays

Abi Weber PO ’11 moonlights as an Americana DJ every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Though KSPC plays all kinds of underground music, Americana is an oft-misunderstood genre, and its presence on KSPC is frequently ignored.“Some people get scared away from Americana because (a) they don’t know what it is, or (b) they think it’s country,” Weber said.The latter is perhaps the biggest barrier to finding an Americana audience. While the genre title calls to mind images of flags, the heartland, and twangy vocals, Americana actually represents a cross-section of music including folk, alternative country, and bluegrass. These styles have enjoyed a renaissance of late, with artists such as Bon Iver, Okkervil River, Jens Lekman, and Devendra Banhart gaining mainstream popularity.That was a big part of what led Weber to take the post of Americana Music Director at KSPC. “I was playing a lot of folk, bluegrass, and alt country on my underground show, which is the definition of Americana,” she said. By focusing on Americana, Weber has been able to extensively explore a frequently underrepresented field of music and then present it to a wide audience of both students and community members.Weber, who is known as DJ Orangutan on the air, is currently enjoying the band Tallest Man on Earth and the new super group Monsters of Folk, a band composed of M. Ward, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. The boldly named band proves that Americana music need not linger in obscurity.“It used to be the norm for indie fans to say they liked all kinds of music but rap and country,” Weber said. “Clearly, with musicians like Wilco and Neko Case, the idea of alt-country/Americana is more acceptable. Plus, people are realizing that the category of Americana also includes their folky favorites, which have been popular since Bob Dylan.”

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply