On Americana

I love the time we’re living in.

Culturally, we’re experiencing a return to our roots and a widely resurging interest in all things “Americana”. Wikipedia describes “Americana” as referring to: artifacts, or a collection of artifacts, related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States…” Call it Americana, call it fashion, call it nostalgia, call it patriotism, call it whatever you want.  It’s not what you call it, but how it makes you feel that matters. For me, it makes me feel my roots. Not short little Norcal roots, but long, deep & connected roots. Right now, it seems we Americans are stretching our roots, wiggling them around and seeing how far they go and where they end up. 
Our cultural identity is always with us, throughout many different periods of fashion, but now the traditional symbols of our cultural identity are considered high fashion and are celebrated in design, clothing, music & art. The mason jar, the lumberjack, barn wood, and Edison bulbs are just a tiny few examples of the vast array of American icons that now dominates nearly every facet of American design.

Musically, our collective consciousness has shifted to a musical landscape that is predominately influenced by American rock & folk music spanning the many decades of our history. Artists such as Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes & Modest Mouse dominate the many festivals that have sprung up all over the country. Old-timers like Johnny Cash and really old-timers like Woody Guthrie have been brought back into the spotlight and are getting play in some of the hippest restaurants and bars in America. (Including our own, Station 22)

And, of course, the term “hipster” has again risen from the grave to describe those inspired by the movement to sport full beards, ironic moustaches, pompadours, suspenders and all manner of fashion inspired by pretty much any period in American history. The term “hipster” has been thrown around a lot lately to describe a wide range of unique looks and often in a derogatory manner, but the truth is that hipsters in general are simply fashion-forward individuals that are reflecting the dominant culture of our time. I happen to love American fashion right now. Cities all over America are beginning to explore all sorts of crazy vernacular forms of hipsterism–Salt Lake being, in my mind a notable example. (Expect more from me on the subject of hipsterism.)

So that’s why I love what’s going on right now in this country. We’ve always felt free to beg, borrow & steal whatever style we wish from wherever we want, but this time we’re reinventing ourselves by drawing primarily from our own collective American history.  Perhaps we’ve just gotten old enough now as a country that we feel like we have enough material to draw upon. Maybe we have crossed that threshold into having enough of a tangible cultural “legacy”, something that we have been busy building since the beginning, but have not yet had the opportunity to enjoy.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that despite our faltering economy and uncertain future, Americans never run out of good ideas.
What do you think? Have you felt the shift? Is it positive? Do you feel more connected?
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments on our Old Adobe blog. If you’re in the mood for some real American food, please visit our restaurant, Station 22 Cafe, located at 22 W Center Street in Historic Downtown Provo. We offer sit-down, catering & delivery.
For more information, please visit:
Old Adobe Catering Co.  <http://www.oldadobe.com>

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