The Heyday of Alternative Country

by Mark Moody
Comments (8)

One of my favorite genres back in my earlier days was the Alternative Country movement that was followed most closely by No Depression magazine. Ironically the magazine came to be after the band for which it was named, Uncle Tupelo, had already come and gone. Whether described as Alt-Country, Cowpunk, Roots Rock, or these days Americana, the genre ran a pretty wide gamut of artists and approaches and resulted in a lot of great music. From bands to songwriters to country cross-over artists, there were plenty that jumped on board. My musical backyard at the time was Central and South Texas, so my own exposure was highly correlated to that area and results in a few of the more obscure names below. The peak period for this music ran from the early 80s to early 2000s, so that is the focus here. Not necessarily all artists on the list produced their best work at that time, but I tried to stay true to the era. Let me know what I missed or what other regional favorites I might not have heard of. Click an album below to read a review

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Wow! What a wonderful trip down memory lane! SO many bands I'd forgotten about, yet whose music I enjoyed. I miss the cowpunk era and was a big Lone Justice fan as well as a fan of other SoCal acts (Knitters/Dave Alvin), so there's so great stuff...

Wow! What a wonderful trip down memory lane! SO many bands I'd forgotten about, yet whose music I enjoyed. I miss the cowpunk era and was a big Lone Justice fan as well as a fan of other SoCal acts (Knitters/Dave Alvin), so there's so great stuff here. Thanks for the memories, Mark!

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Thanks Steve. Saw so many of those SoCal bands (and the punk ones too) coming through the I-10 corridor in Houston.

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Quite a list! I always felt the term Alt Country was silly but given how the genre turned into Pop with a cowboy hat, I suppose it was needed.

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The magazine always caveated Alt County as "whatever that is" if it helps. I claim plausible deniability on whatever is responsible for the Hell that is Florida Georgia Line. I don't think there is a clear path. You gotta love "Old Town Road"...

The magazine always caveated Alt County as "whatever that is" if it helps. I claim plausible deniability on whatever is responsible for the Hell that is Florida Georgia Line. I don't think there is a clear path. You gotta love "Old Town Road" though.

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Well, its a terrific list. While there's a lot I know, there's a lot I don't. And nice to see Flat Duo Jets get some props along with Long Ryders and Thin White Rope!

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Sad that Dex’s sister Sara just passed away. They would come through Florida from time to time as Dex Romweber Duo - think they must have family down here. I regret never catching the show.

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in mid 80s.. The Jet Black Berries were one of the focal points of the Rochester NY scene and playing opening slots for The Cramps, The Damned and the B 52s. Their 3 albums from the 80s are solid examples of Kinks/ Gram Parsons cowpunk with a...

in mid 80s.. The Jet Black Berries were one of the focal points of the Rochester NY scene and playing opening slots for The Cramps, The Damned and the B 52s. Their 3 albums from the 80s are solid examples of Kinks/ Gram Parsons cowpunk with a heavy infusion of William S Burroughs in the lyrics. They might be best known for their inclusion on the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack. Check out their Desperate Fires for a solid example of mid 80s cowpunk.

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Comment was last edited about 4 months ago by Eric Peterson Eric Peterson
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Wow! That’s a blast from the past. My best friend had the Sundown on Venus album. Played it all the time. Good call.

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