the alternate root top 50 bandsHere's the list of the Alternate Root's Top 50 Americana Roots Music  Bands...Right Now!

We took a list of over 150 bands and narrowed the list to the Top 50. We did not consider bands that are put together solely for touring purposes or for studio sessions...Emmylou Harris' band or Band of Joy would have landed on this list otherwise. We tried to keep it to bands that record, tour, fight, eat, sleep and fix vans together
and are currently active in at least some regular form. We know members and line-ups change from album to album and sometimes even show to show but for what it's's what we think are the top 50. Talk amongst yourselves.

band of heathens in the alternate root1. Band of Heathens The number one spot was the easiest to place. Band of Heathens epitomize Indie, building their band business from the ground up and keeping everything in-house. What began as a songwriters residency at Momo’s in the group’s home base of Austin, the Band of Heathens have grown to release two live early career discs, from Momo’s and Antone’s. Their music combines rock, soul, Americana, alt Country, blues and folk, sometimes within the space off a song. They have three studio albums under their collective belts and recently released the two-disc live DVD of Denver shows.

Listen and buy the music of Band of Heathens from AMAZON or iTunes

old crow medicine show in the alternate root2. Old Crow Medicine Show Old Crow Medicine Show began band life busking on the streets of New York state and up through Canada. A chance meeting with Doc Watson started a path that has led the group through MerleFest, a residency at the Grand Ole Opry, playing stages at Bonnaroo, Coachella, and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, a Platinum single certification for Wagon Wheel and record sales of over 800,000. Old Crow Medicine Show’s latest release, Carry Me Back, showcases the sound of Roots music played by a band that continues to push themselves in new directions.

Listen and buy the music of Old Crow Medicine Show from AMAZON or iTunes

carolina chocolate drops in the alternate root3. Carolina Chocolate Drops In 2005, the future members of Carolina Chocolate Drops attended the first Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, North Carolina. They took to their instruments and went to the traditional music of the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina for inspiration. The lineup has expanded from the original three and The Drops balance the old time feel and form with modern inflections that fit seamlessly into the repertoire.

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los lobos in the alternate root4. Los Lobos Thirty years into a recording career and Los Lobos can still use the same liner notes for band members. The music can still brag of East L.A. Roots in its instrumentation, though their sound has become more universal. You can’t take the homeboy out of East L.A. and Los Lobos returned to their original turf to record their first studio album in four years, the recently released Tin Can Trust. Group member/producer Steve Berlin sees their longevity as “We’re long haul guys. If you’re in it for the long haul it makes staying together a lot easier. It’s a challenge, but the thing I’m most proud of is that we’ve never rested on our laurels. We keep trying to make every record feel like the first one and try to do the best we can and not tread on territory we have already trod on. What you hear is exactly what we wanted to do.”

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sharon jones in the alternate root5. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings used an old Ampex 8-track to record their latest studio release, I Learned the Hard Way. The album, like the band’s three previous releases, was recorded at Daptone Records House of Soul studios. Their album mix gospel, soul and funk but it the relentless touring of an incredible live show that has earned the group their spot on our Top 50 list. The high power energy, low moans and swagger of soul are alive and present in Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings music and their live show is a celebration of its potential.

Listen and buy the music of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings from AMAZON or iTunes

tedeschi trucks in the alternate root6. Tedeschi-Trucks Band Like their marriage, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are better as a united force than solo or with Roots founding father, the Allman Brothers. The Tedeschi Trucks Band gather top drawer musicians for a sound that mixes funk, blues, soul and rock into a near jam band form, if jam bands played with the prevision the members of TTB deliver.

Listen and buy the music of Tedeschi Trucks Band from AMAZON or iTunes

drive by truckers in the alternate root7. Drive-By Truckers Drive-By Truckers once talked about Southern Rock in their songs, crafting a concept album around their love of Lynyrd Skynyrd on the aptly titled “Southern Rock Opera”. Thy have become modern Southern Rock, though the sound is uniquely their own. Sonically, DBT are one big sonic stew that boils up from Muscle Shoals recording studio. Distortion from the bands guitar army floats through every song.


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yarn in the alternate root8. Yarn Yarn has a guru in lead singer/songwriter Blake Christiana who sees Yarn fans, under the banner of Yarmy, as “Our fans are like family. We are so grateful to people that love music and will help support us in creating it. It’s just remarkable. That’s half of my love of the road; we’ve got what feels like family in tons of cities across America.” Based in Brooklyn, New York, Yarn transforms the potential of Americana into something bigger. Blake’s vocals are the voice inside your head and his words are the daily decisions that act as the angel or devil on your shoulder.

Listen and buy the music of Yarn from AMAZON or iTunes

beausoliel in the alternate root9. Beausoleil Beausoleil are the famous sons of Lafayette, Louisiana and world ambassadors of the music of the Cajun and Creole people. The group moves past the traditional folk sound of its instrumentation by incorporating rock ‘n’roll, jazz, blues, calypso, and other genres in original compositions and re-workings of traditional tunes. The band members reference their playing by pointing out that they “take the rich Cajun traditions of Louisiana and artfully blend elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues and more into a satisfying musical recipe.”

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alabama shakes in the alternate root10. Alabama Shakes Alabama Shakes originated when lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell, both attending East Limestone High School in Athens, began meeting after school to write songs. The two played prog rock and other genres but soon found a calling playing roots rock. The duo approached drummer Steve Johnson, who was working at the local music store, to bring it to a trio. Guitarist Heath Fogg joined the band after hearing the demo.

Listen and buy the music of Alabama Shakes from AMAZON or iTunes

blind boys of alabama in the alternate root11. Blind Boys of Alabama –  In 2013, the Blind Boys of Alabama are living legends of gospel music on a worldwide level. Formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, the group toiled for almost forty years almost exclusively on the black gospel circuit, playing in churches, auditoriums, and even stadiums across the country. Though they began recording in 2948, the Blind Boys of Alabama achieved a career turning point in 1982 with their Gospel at Colonus release and in the 1990’s received two Grammy nominations and performed at the White House. The band’s most recent release, Take the High Road, draws from traditional country to balance their nearly 70 years of gospel dominance. Founding member, Jimmy Carter, confesses, “All my life, I’ve loved country music. I was raised up around it. Back in the 1940s, I remember listening to Hank Williams and so many others. Their voices were great. The writers were great. And every song had a meaning. I still have loads of country music in my home and I play it all the time.”

Listen and buy the music of Blind Boys of Alabama from AMAZON or iTunes

old 97's in the alternate root12. The Old 97's The Dallas band gets kudos for being Alt Country flag bearers for twenty years but the sound of The Old 97’s falls just as much into Cowpunk and Pop. Songwriter/frontman Rhett Miller uses his words to script movie scenes that play out in three and four minutes burst of song. The Old 97’s sizzle on-stage and craft shout out loud sing-along songs that you can carry with you long after the last note is hit.

Listen and buy the music of The Old 97’s from AMAZON or iTunes

reckless kelly in the alternate root13.  Reckless Kelly For fifteen years the music industry has been trying to corner Reckless Kelly. Maybe the suits didn’t pay enough attention to the reckless part of the band’s moniker. Reckless Kelly is a crossover in the Indie acceptance area with immovable feet planted in recording their recent release, Good Luck & True Love, in an old renovated Austin, TX farmhouse and tracking much of the disc live. Reckless Kelly have been carving out a space in music for fifteen years on their terms and guided by the way they hear their muse’s words.

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wilco in the alternate root14. Wilco Wilco was formed in 1994 by the remaining members of Alt Country gurus, Uncle Tupelo. Singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy has maintained guidance of the Chicago-based band over the years. Sonically, Wilco has taken a step through the looking glass for its Americana and Roots based sound of earlier releases. The tones and textures are still organic, and the ability to bring in new directions without polishing or primping the sound with studio gadgetry keeps Wilco in the Roots music world.

Listen and buy the music of Wilco from AMAZON or iTunes

steep canyon rangers in the alternate root15.  Steep Canyon RangersSteep Canyon Rangers may have seen more attention from outside the bluegrass community in their collaboration with Steve Martin. It is a testament to any group when they can exist beyond the attention that star quality brings and be remembered for the reason that star shone on them. North Carolina based Steep Canyon Rangers are one of the many bands that are stretching the boundaries of bluegrass while honoring traditions. Steep Canyon Rangers recent musical dance with Stave Martin, Nobody Knows You, shifts songwriting perspective for a string band.

Listen and buy the music of Steep Canyon Rangers from AMAZON or iTunes

the little willies in the alternate root16. The Little Willies - The Little Willies, Lee Alexander (bass), Jim Campilongo (guitar), Norah Jones (piano, vocals), Richard Julian (guitar, vocals) and Dan Rieser (drums), formed in NYC in 2003 as an excuse for the five friends to spend a night playing music together at The Living Room on New York's Lower East Side. The gig proved too fun for both the musicians and audience for it to remain a one-off. Despite hailing from the far corners of the country - California, Massachusetts, Texas, Delaware - the members of band all grew up listening to a certain breed of classic American music, and relished the opportunity to perform some of their favorite country .

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the mavericks in the alternate root17. The Mavericks Raul Malo met bassist Robert Reynolds at a record store in Miami, Florida and discovered they had similar musical tastes such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Reynolds persuaded his friend Paul Deakin to join them on drums, and by the late 1980s, they had added guitarist Ben Peeler and were performing as the Mavericks. Between 1991 and 2003, they recorded six studio albums, in addition to charting 14 singles on the Billboard country charts. The Mavericks reformed in 2011 to record and headline Stage Coach.

Listen and buy the music of The Mavericks from AMAZON or iTunes

the steel drivers in the alternate root18. The Steel Drivers Nashville, TN gave birth to The Steel Drivers. The group was formed of seasoned touring and studio musicians and producers. The group have a fan in Adele, who performs one of their tunes in concert and refers to the sound as “a blues, country, bluegrass, swagger band and they are brilliant." The SteelDrivers pound a bluegrass sound but they make sure they leave a lot of meat on the bone to make their music tender and fulfilling. With a brand new release in Hammer Down, The SteelDrivers are mobbing throughout the country and taking no prisoners. They punch a hole in bluegrass and offer no apologies. Their music is in-your-face string band stock and they raise the bar for the future of the genre.  

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the north mississippi all stars in the alternate root19. North Mississippi All Stars Brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson, sons of Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, formed Mississippi All Stars in 1996, releasing their first album in 2000. The sound of the group melds Country Blues with Southern Rock and pushes it through any speaker system strong enough to take the brutal force of power of Mississippi All Stars. Luther and Cody continually expand the tradition of the Mississippi hill country blues that has inspired them from the beginning.

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the bottle rockets in the alternate root20. The Bottle Rockets Brian Henneman, frontman for The Bottle Rockets, cut his teeth in Alt Country as a guitar tech for Uncle Tupelo. The band’s most recent release, Lean Forward, continues with Bottle Rockets songs, a hearty and heady mix of rock and country dueling riffs, smart lyrics that are sealed with a smirk. Slow burn humor keeps on giving grins long after the amp burn from The Bottle Rockets live shows, now fifteen years into their career.

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the black lillies in the alternate root#21 The Black Lillies –  Cruz Contreras co-founded Robinella and the CC String Band with his frontwoman wife. He lost the band with the divorce and returned to the road in Knoxville, TN as a truck driver. The Black Littlies music was first heard in the truck cab mind of its driver. What started as songs of sorrow has morphed into material that suits a full band that has the male/female microphones stage center for Cruz and co-vocalist Trisha Gene Brady. The Black Lillies are songwriters who surround themselves with a music that is a mix of rock, folk and bluegrass.

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hot club of cowtown in the alternate root#22. Hot Club of Cowtown Since their first recording in 1998, Austin-based Hot Club of Cowtown have grown to be the most globe-trotting, hardest-swinging Western swing trio on the planet. The first American band to tour Azerbaijan, they have opened stadiums for such artists as Bob Dylan. Bryan Ferry and Willie Nelson while bringing their brand of western swing to festival audiences all over the world. Guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana James and bassist Jake Erwin believe it is about staying true to their roots. Remaining willfully out of the musical mainstream, Hot Club of Cowtown has created an international cult following for the sonic personification of joy and unique sound they deliver.

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jason isbell in the alternate root#23 Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Former Drive-By Trucker member, Jason Isbell, is an eight generation Alabaman. Here We Rest is Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit’s second album release. The band relies on a guitar attack, fueled by the finger work of lead 400er, Jason Isbell. The "400 Unit" was the former colloquial name of the psychiatric ward of Florence, Alabama's Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital, which is now named the Behavioral Health Center.

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punch brothers in the alternate root#24  The Punch Brothers – Growing up on the road has helped to merge the natural talents of the five members of The Punch Brothers. The players range in age from mid-20’s to early-30’s. With years of asphalt under their tires, The Punch Brothers music has grown looser and more unaffected. With players the caliber of Chris Thile, Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, Gabe Witcher and Paul Kowert the time spent together has made them more of a band rather than five solo performances. Their instrumentation is that of a string band but their sound is classical, with a somber tone that is felt through the bright note patterns of guitar, banjo, violin and mandolin.

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over the rhine in the alternate root#25 Over The Rhine – Over The Rhine is a husband/wife duo based in Southern Ohio. It is a marriage of equality, with both multi-instrumentalist Linton Detweiler and Karin Bergquist sharing vocal work. The most recent album, The Long Surrender, is a beautiful soundscape that floats in colors as much as sound. Karin feels that The Long Surrender “speaks to our ongoing desire to let go of certain expectations (and much of what we are so convinced we know for sure) in favor of remaining open and curious. It seems like many of our friends are currently wrestling with various forms of ‘letting go,’ so hopefully, the ideas conjured by the title feel somewhat universal.”

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christine ohlman in the alternate root#26 Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez –  Christine Ohlman grew up loving equally the sweetness of a Memphis horn line and the raunch of an electric guitar riff, as played by Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, or Pop Staples. She teased her blonde hair into a beehive in honor of Ronnie Spector and never looked back, picking up a guitar and forging a career as a songwriter in the process. She’s the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band, whose latest CD, 2010’s The Deep End, was honored on five national Top Ten lists and features special guests/duet partners Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, and Marshall Crenshaw, plus Levon Helm, GE Smith, Andy York, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Catherine Russell, Big Al Anderson, and others. Christine’s legendary voice and stage presence have most recently been featured at the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland.

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mumford and sons in the alternate root#27 Mumford & Sons – They were up for six awards on 2013 Grammy night and Mumford & Sons wound up taking home the Album of the Year. They are a band the brought the banjo to the Grammy’s and won over audiences. Only two album in to their career, group member Ted Dwayne (string bass, drums, guitar) sees the recording of the award winning Babel as “Very us. When we made the first album it was to be a snapshot of Mumford & Sons in 2009. This is exactly the same — but it’s us now, and there’s a lot of the live energy in there — that was very much what we were trying to capture. Creating the album over the course of a year, going into the studio then back out touring, then back into the studio … it’s almost as if the road has rubbed off on the album.”

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semi twang in the alternate root#28 Semi-Twang - Semi-Twang reunited in 2009 to play the 20th anniversary of Shank Hall, the premier showcase club in their home-town of Milwaukee. The band were playing to help celebrate a venue they played on the night it first opened its doors and nothing else was being discussed. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Semi-Twang did not survive their major label debut and 23 years later, they are recoding on their own terms, with the music being the star. Semi-Twang released Wages of Sin in March of 2011, their first album in 23 years. In 2013 Semi-Twang is back with a new release, The Why and the What For, slated for March 26, 2013. According to the band's Press Release the album " the stakes as it traverses through the musical geography of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and New Orleans with passion and conviction. It's topical and personal with a bit more soul influence..."

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the lumineers in the alternate root#29 The Lumineers – For a three piece, The Lumineers have sharp angles and quick turns embedded into their tunes. The traditional make up of acoustic bands like The Lumineers brings to mind front porch jams, late night campfires and coffeehouse open mics. The Lumineers self-titled Dualtone album effort pumps blood into the heart of each song. That fire and passion has always found good buddies with acoustic back-up. Singer Wesley Shultz has a shaky quaver hard-wired into his delivery. That vocal quality works perfectly with the hard-edged arrangement and those determined beats and concise, to-the-point note patterns.

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crooked still in the alternate root#30 Crooked Still – Classical mixes with traditional bluegrass in the music of Crooked Still. It was the innovation of the group that led to name calling on the part of fans, dubbing the band nu-folk bluegrass. On their Some Strange Country release, the band had been snowed in at the recording studio and the isolation gave distraction little room to take root and brought collaboration to the front of the line. Fiddle player, Brittany Haas, sees the sound of Crooked Still describing it as ““The music is not just ‘alternative bluegrass’ or whatever people used to call it. It’s at another level now: artful, but still grounded in that funky, string band thing.”

Listen and buy the music of Crooked Still from AMAZON or iTunes

blackie and the rodeo kings in the alternate root#31 Blackie & The Rodeo Kings – What formed as an audio fan club for great Canadian singer/songwriter, Willie P. Bennett, put solo careers on hold and created a group effort that needed a lot more maintenance than that of the outlaw traveling musicians the individual members had enjoyed. Blackie & The Rode Kings, bluesman/producer Colin Linden, rock gold miner Tom Wilson and multiple Juno award folk musician, Stephen Fearing, have created a music hungry monster that showcases their talents and their songwriting as a unit. Their most recent release, Kings & Queens, practices serial monogamy, presenting different lady for each track including performance by Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Exene Cervenka, Lucinda Williams and Patti Scialfa to name only a few.

the trishas in the alternate root#32 The Trishas - When Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee and Savannah Welch first shared a stage in January 2009, their intention was simply to perform a couple of songs as part of a tribute to Savannah’s father, singer-songwriter Kevin Welch. Savannah Welch sees the all-female band as “It’s not much different than any other women who’s having a career or working a job. The difference is actually that we get to bring them to work with us. We want to help each other be able to play music for a living and still have families. We’ll do what it takes.”

i see hawks in la in the alternate root#33 I See Hawks in L.A. - California Country is the kingdom that I See Hawks in L.A. glide over with Americana and Roots music that is part literature with a toe taping beat that draws you in like a magnet. Two vocalists and songwriters are present  in The Hawks lineup with gentle giant Rob Waller and the world’s mellowest guitar shredder, Paul Lacques.  There is a classic country ringer in bassist/vocalist Paul Marhsall, of Strawberry Alarm Clock and about a million projects as a studio guy. I See Hawks in L.A. have characters that can rarely be found outside of Faulkner and Steinbeck novels. The background story take you to the pot fields of Humboldt, neighborhoods of East L.A. and the hills of Tennessee with a back to nature group of hippies.

the coal porters in the alternate root# 34 The Coal Porters – The Coal Porters grew under the shadow of Sid Griffin, The Long Ryders frontman and focal point for the Paisley underground movement in Los Angeles in the late 80’s. Over the course of recordings, touring and playing, The Coal Porters have become more of a band and Sid has become more of a band member. On their 2012 release, Find the One, The Coal Porters arrive as a full time band. Members share vocal, writing chores and solos, but the overall form and feel is that of an electric band along the lines of Fairport Convention and Lindisfarne.

girls guns and glory in the alternate root#35 Girls, Guns & Glory - Girls Guns and Glory is the brainchild of Ward Hayden. The group formed in the winter of 2005 and within two weeks of the group’s formation they entered the studio to begin a prolific period of recording. GGG released three full-length albums in three years. Ward Hayden’s original compositions conjure the palpable ache of a crushed heart; they touch on themes of love lost and hope found, and their words alone could be published in anthologies of poetry.

blue rodeo in the alternate root#36 Blue Rodeo – To a United States audience, Blue Rodeo as a music entity are like a mixture of Canadian sports traditions, with the mass appeal of hockey coupled with the relatively unknown status of curling. Big sports in Canada but the Lower 48 never really caught on. Blue Rodeo released their debut, Outskirts in 1987 and secured a toehold in history that they have expanded into a footprint on the Canadian Roots music scene. Over the course of their stellar career Blue Rodeo has released 12 studio albums, two live albums, a greatest hits collection and an award-winning DVD, selling in excess of four million copies around the world.

leftover salmon in the alternate root#37 Leftover Salmon – Leftover Salmon is a band from Boulder, Colorado, formed in 1989. Their unique blend of bluegrass, rock, country, and Cajun/Zydeco, which the band calls "Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass", making them jam band favorites. The band left recording and touring in 2004 after being a unit since 1989. They reformed in 2007 to continue their musical work.

uncle lucius in the alternate root#38  Uncle Lucius – Uncle Lucius are an Indie Rock band from Austin. Like a painter that mixes color to make something new, Uncle Lucius dab their brush into soul, rock and country to create songs branded as their own.  The band’s rock does not forget old friends and childhood buddies like Gospel, Soul, Blues and Folk roots for a noise that is nothing short of glorious. It would be easy to rely simply on the salvation bringing gifts of front man Kevin Galloway, but Uncle Lucius is a united force that could not have the batteries include without Hal Vorpahl on bass, Mike Carpenter on lead guitar and vocals, Josh Greco on drums and percussion

trampled by turtles in the alternate root# 39 Trampled by Turtles – Trampled By Turtles was a side project by local Duluth, Minnesota rock musicians. The goal was to make music with acoustic instruments, an experiment. When the plugged in projects lost their collective power, the members of Trampled By Turtles were faced with making a go of unfamiliar music and instruments. As the band felt on more solid ground musically, the way the group recorded changed. The groups Dave Simonett gives the difference between then and now with some history, “In the fall of 2011 we set out to make a new record. From the start we knew that we didn’t want to go back to trying to recreate a live show with our new endeavor. We wanted to make a record that breathes. We wanted it to feel and sound warm and more like one piece of work than several pieces put together. We took our songs, along with engineer Tom Herbers and his tape machine, to Soleil Pines, a log home outside of Duluth and within the gravitational pull of Lake Superior. We moved the furniture, set up some mics, worked, slept, and ate all in the same space.”

blitzen trapper in the alternate root#40 Blitzen Trapper – Blitzen Trapper are a band that is fueled by fans. They stick to the road, recently wrapping up a tour with opener Brandi Carlisle in support of their American Goldwing album. When the band formed in Portland, Oregon in 2000 that musical focus was on experimental country/folk. Blitzen Trapper took off with 2007 release, Wild Mountain Nation and secured success with the 2008 follow-up Furr. Indie is where Blitzen Trapper calls home and when you look closer, their surface face of being a rock band shows roots being at the center of the beat. 

red molly in the alternate root#41 Red Molly – The mixture of three part harmonies is what has continued success for Red Molly since the bands inception in 2004. Laurie MacAllister (bass, banjo), Abbie Gardner (dobro, banjo) and Molly Venter (guitar), balance playing with vocals. The Red Molly 2011 release, Light in the Sky opens with the a capella driven voices only “Dear Someone”, the power of the three ladies vocals rising to take charge, seducing the listener rather than forcing themselves upon them. The trio matches notes for a rocked up version of blues standard “Come on in My Kitchen” and bring darkness to Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger”

the black keys in the alternate root#42 The Black Keys –  Here is a two man team that brings their brand of blues and rock with a sound big enough to give the listner the full band treatment. Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums) formed in Akron, Ohio, in 2001. Raw blues and garage rock gets blurred in The Black keys sound. The success of the seventh studio album, El Camino, in 2011 led to the group’s first arena tour. The Black Keys augment their touring sound with additional musician, but the studio side sticks with what brought the duo together, with Patrick holding down all things percussion and Dan multi-tasking between guitar, vocals, bass guitar, piano, organ, keyboards, and synthesizer. In his down time Dan Auerbach has become a go-to producer for other band projects.    

the cash box kings in the alternate root# 43 The Cash Box Kings – The Cash Box Kings 2011 release, Holler & Stomp, did just what it promised. Based in the blues the album wandered down a  country path with soul drenched twangs.  The Cash Box Kings duke it out in the tough Blues environment of Chicago. With a focus on the raw, stripped-down, ensemble playing that was the hallmark of the post-war sound, the Cash Box Kings showcase the music of Chess Records and Sun Records while adding a healthy dose of original music that captures the essence of the Memphis and Chicago blues sounds of the 40’s and 50’s.

the sadies in the alternate root#44 The Sadies – The most recent album by The Sadies, Darker Circles, sis the follow-up to the groups acclaimed album featuring John Doe, Country Club. Guitarist brothers Dallas and Travis Good, drummer Mike Belitsky and bassist Sean Dean again pair with legendary Jayhawk and sought-after producer Gary Louris. The Sadies bring their signature blend of country, psychedelic, rock and surf into their sights on Darker Circles, underscoring their reputations as musicians’ musicians.

the avett brothers in the alternate root#45 The Avett Brothers – Concord, North Carolina-based indie folk-pop group, The Avett Brothers, received rave reviews for their 2009 breakthrough major-label debut, I and Love and You,. The album rose # 16 on the Billboard 200 album chart and resulted in an invitation to perform alongside Bob Dylan and Mumford & Sons at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Much of that sonic success stemmed from brothers Scott and Seth Avett's poignant songwriting, however, producer Rick Rubin played a large part in letting those tracks shine. Rick Rubin returns for the group's seventh studio album, The Carpenter.

brian molnar in the alternate root#46 Brian Molnar & the Naked Hearts –  For nearly a decade Brian Molnar has been carrying his acoustic guitar and wrought melodies back and forth across the United States connecting audiences with a feeling of American tradition and unique thoughtfulness that has been too often diluted in recent memory. With a full band behind him, Brian Molnar & The Naked Hearts deliver Of The Fall, continuing o push the boundaries of what is expected in Americana.

wagons in the alternate root#47  Wagons – Henry Wagons was rehearsing with his band, Wagons, the night we spoke with him about their next album. Wagons debut offered a roots touch to fellow Aussie Nick Cave's work. According to Henry it is “we are very very early into the recoding of the next Wagons album. I got a lot of my darker demons out with my recent solo record. The next Wagons studio album will be a bit more electric, almost sounding a lot more like jam-based boogie. We are using that 70’s rock band mojo as a template for our new album.”

reverend peyton in the alternate root#48 Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band – Brown Country, Indiana is the home to Reverend Peyont’s Big Damn Band.  From the southern Indiana foothills Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band play their own brand of Americana and Blues. Delta blues and hillbilly fervor combine with musical acuity sharp as razor wire. The growl of a good truck engine, the fiercest passion for a country home and family and an uncanny ability to breathe new life into old forms of music give them a pedigree. The Rev. J. Peyton, his wife Breezy and distant cousin Aaron “Cuz” Persinger are a living breathing embodiment of the traditions and hard work ethic native to their Brown County, Indiana home. Their new album Between The Ditches is a chronicle of this lifestyle.

the wild rumpus in the alternate root#49 The Wild Rumpus – Appalachian StompGrass is the music of The Wild Rumpus. Based in Fayetteville, West Virginia. They have a rabid local fan base. There is no real telling on the amount of people in the club, and as guitarist/producer Allan Sizemore state it. “They don’t charge admission to get in, so it is really tough to say how many people are at the shows. I can tell you they run out of beer and wine by 10PM, though.” The Wild Rumpus music is the song of the mountains. There is pride in the words and passion in their music for the place they call home.

los lonely boys in the alternate root#50 Los Lonely Boys – The trademark Los Lonely Boys vocal blend is deep, rich, fluent and confident. The rhythms lock you in with smart syncopation and muscular drive. Los Lonely Boys consists of three Garza brothers, Henry (guitar, vocals), Jojo (bass, vocals), and Ringo (drums, vocals).  Los Lonely Boys is an American Chicano rock power trio from San Angelo, Texas. They play a style of music they call "Texican Rock n' Roll," combining elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown eyed soul, country, and Tejano.         Danny McCloskey/RA