“No Depression”: The Nostalgia and Authenticity of Alternative Country
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This chapter examines the aftermath of alternative rock’s success as many artists turned toward a roots-oriented, country and folk music sound similar to the pre-1980s (and sometimes pre-World War II) eras of country and folk music. Ideas of nostalgia and authenticity circulated through the discourse surrounding alt-country, particularly as mainstream country music increasingly became more commercially oriented, with older artists and many newcomers seeking an “authentic” country sound which became excluded from the newer, more profitable corporate pop country sound. Indie artists who left alternative rock as it entered the mainstream sought refuge in the nostalgia-inducing sounds of stripped-down acoustic folk and country music. However, by the dawn of the twentieth century, the critics on the cutting edge soon found alt-country to be passé, as indie culture became an Internet-infused hipster culture.