Alt-Country: Where did it come from and where is it going?

The phrase, coined in the 1990s, can still be found in press kits and , along with its even more ambiguous synonym, Americana. Alternative country is an abbreviation for music that draws on American folk and country traditions but is distinct from commercial Nashville. However, it has been applied so broadly — to punk rockers playing Hank Williams songs, bluegrass purists, and all manner of singer-songwriters in between — that it has always been difficult to tell whether it means much of anything.
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