Soft rock giants America touring the US with stops to cities big and small

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The story of America the band is one that should be documented in films and books more than it has been. Since the band has had a national profile starting in 1971, the group has been surrounded by an unassuming aura. At least, that is one perspective from a far distance. Called folk rock, but really sounding like no one else, America gave audiences jangle rock with lyrics that stuck with them. In their own relatively quiet way, America was a phenomenon. The group is on tour this year with surviving members, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell. Founding member Dan Peek died in 2011. Fans of the group will have opportunities to see them during their eclectic tour of the US in 2020.

America’s greatest hits

America is one of those bands that seemed an integral part of the 1970s radio. The group is probably best known for the almost ubiquitous “Horse With No Name.” But songs like “Ventura Highway,” “Sister Golden Hair,” “Muskrat Love,” “Lonely People” and “Woman Tonight” helped prove to listeners that the trio had a unique sound and worldview that was memorable because of its truth and the catchiness did not hurt.

Throughout the 1970s, America was a definite presence on US charts. “Horse With No Name” reached No. 1, as did “Tin Man” and “Sister Golden Hair.” Their sound is unofficially associated with the restless youth of the 1970s, still trying to make sense of a world plagued with war and injustice, while coming of age privately.

The band’s members are stellar musicians. The vocal harmonies they craft always hint at vulnerability (with an exception being “Woman Tonight”), and the deft interplay between guitars and drums always keeps things interesting in an America song.

America on tour in 2020

With the passing of Peek, it would seem that the group would not go on. The band’s last album was recorded the year he died. Yet, Beckley and Bunnell carry on. This year, they have planned stops in the US and Canada. In the Midwest, America will make stops in Waukegon, Illinois on March 6, and Nashville, Indiana on March 21. From there the tour moves to West Virginia and South Carolina. Tickets appear to be selling briskly in most areas, so interested parties are encouraged to act quickly if they want to see this one-of-a-kind folk rock act.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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