The Top 10 Greatest Ever Americana Artists: Number 2 – Willy Vlautin

Photo: J. Aird

Our runner up spot goes to Willy Vlautin with 59 points, a whole 13 ahead of third place. Nominated by seven AUK writers, crucially six of them had him in their Top 3, including three who place him at the top of their list. His work with both Richmond Fontaine and latterly The Delines has won him many plaudits and much critical acclaim. Here’s a flavour of what the AUK writers who placed him in their Number 1 position had to say about him.

“Richmond Fontaine documented the lives of the marginalised in American society, often featuring men desperate to outrun themselves and change their circumstances.  Conversely in The Delines most often we find women hanging on in desperate situations – wanting to run, sometimes running, but mostly trying to keep everything together, patched up and not bleeding out too much.  Hard songs to listen to, but so beautifully written and sung.” Jonathan Aird

 “The Delines are not afraid to use such instrumentation. It gives them an unique americana sound. The man Vlautin just gets better and better. Richmond Fontaine were brilliant. The Delines are off the chart. I cant decide whether he’s the greatest for his songwriting or for his novels. Does it matter?” Andy Davidson

“A liberty has been taken here but bear with me. As the writer and singer with Richmond Fontaine, Vlautin used his literate lyricism to shine a dim spotlight on working-class America and American life beyond the consumer gloss. His songs were full of humanity in all its guises from the feckless and foul to the hopeful and hopeless. Whilst performing and touring Vlautin was also writing novels that chronicled these very themes in rich tapestries of prose. The Fontaine sound was guitar based and reeked of woodsmoke and asphalt. His next band The Delines was a different proposition altogether. Taking his tales of low lives and high dreams he penned songs for the voice of Amy Boone and eventually the arrangements of Cory Grey and in doing so created a sound unlike anything else in the genre. Steeped in keys and trumpet the sultry voice of Boone brings these characters to life before our mind’s eyes as we listen to their stories. Willy Vlautin is the number one americana act writing and performing today.” Keith Hargreaves

Tomorrow we will reveal our Number 1 Greatest Ever Americana Artist – Have you guessed yet? Join us tomorrow.

About Clint West 319 Articles
From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,
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Mark McCall

Number 1 is going to be pretty special if Willy only makes number 2!

keith hargreaves

Not number 1 – a travesty!!!

Jonathan Aird

Not saying I disagree 🙂

Andrew Riggs

This is a nonsense.