‘Y’allternative’ Opens Inclusive Door to Country Music – North Texas Daily
There’s a new sheriff in country music town and his name is Y’allternative. The word “y’alternative” is a mixture of “y’all” and “alternative”. The style is a form of country music that moves away from modern or “stadium” country which focuses on beer, girls, and big trucks or tractors. Instead, it goes back to the roots of country music — a “three chords and the truth” style of country.
The alternative is a country folk or storytelling style. It’s reminiscent of stories told by Marty Robbins and 70s and 80s country with Willie Nelson. It’s a style that encompasses the best of country, at least in my opinion.
Subgenres and niche styles within the country are nothing new. There was “Nashville” country with Eddy Arnold and Patsy Cline, outlaw country with Marty Robbins and my favorite revenge country. The Land of Vengeance is about adulterous or abusive husbands and their vengeful (or downright murderous) wives. Think chicks, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.
The alternative is not just the style of music, but the aesthetics involved. A mix of gothic and country themes, Y’allternative represents an open and tolerant community made up of LGBTQ+, goths, leftists, and anyone in between. It’s the epitome of “y’all”.
If you want to listen to Y’allternative, but don’t know where to start, here are five artists you need to check out.
- Charley Croquet
Born in San Benito, Texas to a single mother, Crockett was raised in a trailer park. Crockett’s journey to a career in music was not easy. He hitchhiked and took freight trains to New York where he got by playing on the streets and at one point sold weed and worked the harvest in a clandestine marijuana field. Her music has hints of blues and jazz and her work explores personal relationships and the world beyond. My favorite song is “Jamestown Ferry”.
- Orville Peck
Wearing a fringe mask, Orville Peck is an alias and Peck’s true identity is unknown. We know that he trained in ballet for 12 years and participated in several national musical comedy tours. Canadian country artist Peck is openly gay and his music contains elements of dream pop, indie rock and goth. Peck best represents loud country mash with an “alt” aesthetic. My favorite track from Peck is his collaboration with drag queen Trixie Mattel. Their duet cover of “Jackson,” a duet cover of the song of the same name by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, will transport you straight to 1963.
- Local Honeys
The Local Honeys are a musical duo based in Kentucky. Composed of Montana Hobbs and Linda Jean Stokley, The Local Honeys have a sound rooted in Appalachian folk and tell stories of the American working class and its struggle against industries such as m. Although I’m a fan of Tia Blake’s “Plastic Jesus,” their cover is worth a listen. Other songs worth listening to are “Hares on the Mountain” and “Dying To Make a Living”.
- Sierra Ferrel
Although he grew up in a small town in West Virginia, Sierra Ferrell mostly listened to ’90s music, particularly grunge and punk, rather than bluegrass. His love for bluegrass was born after discovering swing music. Ferrell’s unique musical history has made her a bluegrass artist who incorporates elements of country, folk and Latin music styles. Listen to “In Dreams”, “Jeremiah” and his latest release “Hey Me, Hey Mama”.
- Vincent Neil Emerson
Raised in Van Zandt County, East Texas by a single mother, Emerson got his start in music playing bars, honky-tonks and barbecues across Fort Worth. Emerson’s music has bluegrass notes, strong lyrics and upbeat violins. You can hear the influences of Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt through his tracks. Personal favorites are “Fried Chicken & Evil Women” and “Texas Moon”.
Some honorable mentions in the Y’all alternative world to listen to are Hailey Whitters, Flatland Cavalry and Yola.
If you think you hate country, maybe you just hate stadium or modern country. Try listening to these artists.
Featured artwork by Erika Sevilla