The Americans Redfine Roots Music on New Single “When You Get Back;” New EP “Strays” Out 7/21

The Americans are an acclaimed Indie-Folk-Americana band who hail from Los Angeles. On July 21 the group is set to release their new EP, Strays, with their upcoming single “When You Get Back,” out today 6/19.

The band’s distinctive, powerful works have captured the attention of a number of stars. They’ve backed Nick Cave, Lucinda Williams, Ashley Monroe, and Devendra Banhart, and twice joined Ryan Bingham on national tours. They worked closely with Jack White and T Bone Burnett, joining Nas, Elton John, and Alabama Shakes in the PBS primetime series American Epic. Additionally, they appeared on The Late Show (CBS), and their music was featured in the films Texas Killing Fields, A Country Called Home, Little Glory, and the TV series, No Tomorrow.

Listen to The Americans’ new single “When You Get Back”

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The upcoming EP Strays is an impressive demonstration of the band’s ability to reinvent rock & roll through the prism of early folk and blues. Patrick Ferris (vocals/guitar), Zac Sokolow (guitar), and Jake Faulkner (bass) deliver an album that lands somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Nathaniel Rateliff.

The Americans’ last two releases, Stand True (2022) and I’ll Be Yours (2017), helped catapult the band into the spotlight. Revered producer T Bone Burnett called them “genius twenty-first century musicians that are reinventing American heritage music for this century. And it sounds even better this century.” Acclaimed music journalist Greil Marcus (Pitchfork) writes, “From the first rolling guitar notes, carrying sadness and defiance like dust, this sweeps me up: I want to know everything about where that feeling came from, and where it’s going.”

The first single, “When You Get Back,” is a heartbreak song about devotion and solitude in the face of unlikely odds. Vocalist Patrick Ferris weaves between a soulful whisper and all-out rocking choruses. He sings mournfully, “You left the life of virtue / To them that might deserve you / And drifted out to sea.” It’s an intimate, emotional opener that sets the tone for the rest of the EP.

“We write our songs inside-out,” says Patrick. “We grab hold of something minuscule and primitive—a simple turn of phrase or an unusual beat—and try to build a song around it. It’s inefficient, but when it works, it works.”

Strays is an EP that’s full of catchy hooks, soulful vocals, and innovative arrangements. The Americans have once again proved themselves to be one of the most exciting and talented bands in the roots music scene.

About The Americans:

It was sometime in the 1970s, a decade before frontman Patrick Ferris and bassist Jake Faulkner were born, that their mothers met on a train to Woodstock. Patrick and Jake were childhood friends, but soon lived in different cities and saw little of one another before reconnecting in high school.

They got along immediately through their love of busking (street performing), and pre-war American country and blues. “Nobody else I knew liked the same music as me,” recalls Patrick. Jake came to San Francisco from Los Angeles to visit, bringing his guitar and baskets of recording gear. They spent the summer recording homeless street musicians with a mobile unit they lugged around the city, making copies of the recordings for the performers to sell.

Guitarist Zac Sokolow had dropped out of high school and was busking on the street and working construction in Los Angeles when Jake saw him playing guitar, and convinced him to move in with them and start a band. They spent years digging through obscure records and arcane field recordings, teaching themselves banjo, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, harmonica, and slide guitar.

Patrick calls this long immersion a “purist” phase. “We were suspicious of modern music,” he says. “When we formed a band, we had no template. There was no band we wanted to be like, so we made everything from scratch. We were curious if we could create something brand new, summoning the spirit of old blues and folk music through what we’d learned firsthand.”

The Americans’ transition to an original rock band didn’t happen overnight. Struggling to finish songs in time for their recording session, Patrick drove to hourly motels at night, where he would check in to write. Sitting on the edge of a giant, heart-shaped bed, singing softly into a recording machine, he was sometimes interrupted by fights in the hallway, romantic couples in a neighboring room, or loud knocking on his door. “I wrote a lot of our songs in those rooms,” he recalls. “They provided a sense of urgency.”

Their live show, honed over many hundreds of performances, is something to behold. Chris Griffy (AXS) calls them “straight up blue-collar rock and roll in the style of Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp.” Steve Wildsmith (Daily Times) admires their “anthemic guitar hooks and a heartland sense of urgency that’s tailor made for road trips and late-night parties beneath a field of brilliant stars.”

The band’s first tour was different from most. A friend who’d introduced them to Robert Frank—whose collection of photographs inspired the band’s name—was appointed drummer. He was allowed to play only a plywood suitcase, which he beat with a soup spoon. The band set off on a meandering, quixotic trip that found them playing honky tonks, rural bars, a Navajo radio station, and a wine cellar in an abandoned Coca-Cola bottling plant.

“Starting out as a band playing roots music, we had a passport to the hidden heartland of this country,” recounts Jake. Zac adds, “What makes American music great is the same thing that makes America great—people who come from all over the world, each with a story, each with something to contribute.”