For all practical matters, alt-country began with Uncle Tupelo's album No Depression in 1990. Shortly thereafter, the magazine of the same name was published. and it seemed that every city had its own selection of alt-country acts, with St. Louis very much included.
Although none of the following bands were commercial blockbusters, all of them have made some incredible music by fusing country, folk, rock and punk, and the majority of them are still going strong.
10. The Bottle Rockets Closely associated with Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets began life in 1992 as a balls-to-the-wall, extremely loud alt-country act, and these guys have never looked back. In fact, it's pretty hard to discern much difference in any of the band's ten albums (acoustic forays notwithstanding). However, when it worked, as it did on 1995's The Brooklyn Side, the results were bone-crunching and anthemic.
9. The Blood Oranges Led by one Mark Spencer (who now plays with Son Volt), the Blood Oranges is another band that deserved better recognition. Between 1990 and 1994 the band released three superb albums. The final one, The Crying Tree, is an alt-country gem waiting to be rediscovered. Bassist Cheri Knight has made a couple of solid solo efforts as well.
8. Old 97's A Dallas-Forth Worth institution, the Old 97's tried to part ways with alt-country after the release of the seminal Too Far to Care in 1997. After not making it to the mainstream, Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond steered the band back to the fold with 2004's Drag it Up. Impressively, the band seems to be back on track to making music better suited to honky-tonks than corporate shindigs.
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