I thought it might be simple. Who were some of my favorite roots rock bands from the 1980’s and 90’s? And why? This episode turned into a deep dive into what still feels like it was only skimming along the surface of a genre that was hot for about five years and before fading back into where it was before, into a mostly forgotten sub-genre that I still love.
"Roots Rock" was a name that was branded on a sound that came of age in the mid-'80s. Some guitar rawness. Some harmonies. Roots rock had twang and guitars and drums. Garage-ish rock. There was definitely a crossover with the sound called heartland rock. There was, however, a rawness that made it more roots than heartland.
Heartland rock was a name used in the 1970s to describe Midwestern arena rock. The Mount Rushmore of 80s heartland rock? Arguably - but correctly - Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and Tom Petty, John Mellencamp. Could also include bands like REO if you wanted. Maybe Cheap Trick? Michael Stanley Band for sure. How was it all the same? How not?
We listen to bands that made an impact both on the roots rock genre and on me. It is not an all-inclusive list of everyone and every band that fit or that I listened to. Instead, it is a selection of music that was on the radio, or maybe not, and we talk about why it was or wasn't. But these are certainly bands and music that slid into my cassette player in the 1979 Buick Skylark a whole lot of times.
Band like:CrackerDel FuegosBodeansRainmakersJohn HiattSteve EarleV-RoysLong Ryders
It is an epic podcast. More than an hour’s worth of bands and artists and tracks for listeners to dig into more deeply. Turn it up.
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Read Rob's current and archived writing at rockforwardmusic.com