Americana: The Chart Goes, The Music Stays

Even without a chart, proponents of the Americana radio format say, the music will continue to thrive. Gavin, a weekly trade magazine for radio stations and record companies, announced Friday it was dropping its Americana chart, a popularity listing for artists whose records don’t fit neatly into such major musical categories as country, rock or jazz.

Among the acts with albums on the final Americana chart, published in the Oct. 13 issue, are Allison Moorer, Trent Summar & The New Row Mob, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush, John Hiatt and Porter Wagoner.

Gavin made its Americana listing by polling approximately 90 radio stations each week. The value in the chart was two-fold: it helped other radio stations decide which records to program, and it provided good publicity for the artists who were on it.

The Americana Music Association (AMA), which will hold its first conference in Nashville Nov. 10-11, convened an emergency session today to discuss the Gavin action. A spokeswoman for the group says that other magazines — the names of which she did not specify — are considering instituting a similar chart. She adds that the AMA owns the “Americana” name.

“Obviously, it’s very unfortunate, and I wish that they would have hung in there a little longer with the format,” says Steve Wilkison, president of Eminent Records, whose catalog includes titles by Emmylou Harris and Jon Randall. “I don’t think the fact that they’re no longer running the radio chart is going to have any significant, detrimental effect on the format. The radio stations are still there. They’re still playing the records. Gavin just isn’t compiling the information.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to