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United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movementby Kurt B. Reighley
If you make your own bitters, dream of owning some chickens, and know what it means to "put up" food, odds are you'll fall in love with Kurt B. Reighley's field guide to the new American roots movement. Covering music, fashion, grooming (welcome back, beards!), and crafts, this resource is useful and entertaining.
Synopses & Reviews
Americana. It's more than mere nostalgia; it's a conscious celebration of community and sustainability. It's a movement born in response to the ever-accelerating pace of modern life and Internet technology overload. All over the country, people are returning to an appreciation for the simpler things in life, which are brilliantly surveyed in United States of Americana—the first comprehensive handbook to all things Americana.
Music: Renewed interest in the legends of country, blues, gospel, and folk (Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams, and Leadbelly); the rise and evolution of alt-country music and the Americana genre (Fleet Foxes, Wilco, the Decemberists, and T Bone Burnett)
Fashion: Wearing American heritage clothing and footwear (Red Wing boots, Filson jackets, Carhartt overalls, and Pendleton wool shirts)
Grooming: Returning to straight-razor shaving and old-fashioned barber shops
D.I.Y.: Taking up handmade crafts (knitting, needlepoint, and soap making), as well as home canning (pickling and preserving)
The speakeasy renaissance: Drinking Prohibition- and pre-Prohibition-era cocktails (old-fashioned, gin fizz, and sidecar)
Entertainment: Seeking out burlesque, circuses, and the vinyl LP
"For any American who's ever thought about playing a vinyl record, making some jam, or ordering a pair of custom-made boots, this semi-encyclopedia to the new age of 'essential pragmatism' and craftsmanship is a delight. Philosophy of the movement is scattered loosely through the book, along with a reasonable set of ideas as to what started us on this self-sufficient path, but the book is mostly a collection of Reighley's finds. He visits urban dwellers who keep chickens in their backyards, cooks who love to can, and folks who make their own bitters. He pokes into classic merchants (the Pendleton Company and Hatch Show Print, for example) and spends much of the book on significant American music. The writing is oddly composed according to gender (women get crafts, canning, and burlesque; men get music, custom-made clothing, and shaving), and Reighley relies on the same core group of interviewees again and again, whereas digging a little deeper for new voices would have been a treat. But, overall, the book is comprehensive, well-written, and enjoyable. It's sure to find a home next to the record player or shaving strap in many a new pioneer home. Illustrations. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
From backyard chickens to the resurgence of the vinyl LP, this work is a vivid survey of how and why young urban Americans are finding inspiration in Americana and cultural traditions of an earlier time.
A field guide to the new American Roots movement, United States of Americana is a vivid, fascinating, and comprehensive survey of how and why young urban Americans are finding inspiration in the cultural traditions of an earlier time in many areas of contemporary life. Compiled by Seattle-based writer, DJ, and entertainer Kurt B. Reighley, United States of Americana explores this vibrant cultural phenomenon—from the music, to the clothing, to the food and drink, to the rebirth of home canning, straight razors, burlesque, and circuses.
About the Author
Kurt B. Reighley is a Seattle-based writer, DJ, and entertainer. He was a contributing editor at No Depression and has written for Rolling Stone, Details, The Stranger, and The Advocate. Reighley's work also appears on MSN.com, and he can be heard weekly on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle.
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