On September 10, Amazon Music Originals continued to stack its exclusive Americana playlist, aptly titled Brushland, with a new single from Katie Pruitt and a forthcoming Tré Burt single (out September 17). Pruitt’s contribution arrives via a reimagination of Lucinda Williams’ nostalgic “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” and Burt will share a new rendition of his single “Solo.”
“It was a great experience returning back to ‘Solo,’” Burt explains. “I think I’ve always heard it in my head as a cinematic drama so it was really cool hearing Andrija [Tokic] approach in that way. I decided to take my vocal delivery a bit more towards soul-balladry territory to match the new intensity of this version. I’m really stoked how it turned out.”
Now re-recorded and soon to find a permanent home on Brushland, “Solo” will reside with dozens of other tracks from artists that embody the rustic, soul-stirring Americana camp. Peeling back the curtain on this playlist, American Songwriter dove into this playlist’s curation process with Amazon Music’s Principal Music Curator, Emily Cohen.
“Brushland is our flagship Americana playlist, but it’s also a playlist for left-of-center country music,” Cohen tells American Songwriter. “Obviously Americana can be a broad term, it’s just so encompassing of American music in general. Roots, blues, gospel, country— all that and in between. I think there are some really amazing artists creating music in this space, and to be able to curate a list with them has been really rewarding.
“It’s my job to play the hits and play music our customers really love but also introduce them to artists and songs that we feel they’ll also love,” Cohen continues. “It’s a true joy to discover new artists, program new artists, lift them up across our service, find unique ways to work with them, and give them a creative outlet to do something different, potentially, than they’ve done before.”
By weaving in these new artists with established fan favorites, Brushland is an unrivaled playlist. When it came time to select and work with Pruitt and Burt on their Amazon Originals, Cohen explained that it simply made sense two have these to artists on Brushland.
“The first time I heard [Pruitt’s ‘Something About What Happens When We Talk’] I remember DMing Chris on our team and being like, ‘Man, everything Katie does every interpretation she’s done, or even her original music is so fantastic,’” Cohen explains. “I think with Trey, he almost gives me like a new Dylan vibe, in a way. I just think he’s a really wonderful songwriter and I loved his most recent project.”
Chris Graham, the Principal Artist Relations Manager for Amazon Music, also spoke on Brushland’s recent growth. “We are thrilled to be able to add two new Amazon Original tracks to the growing catalog of Americana and Folk songs. Katie and Tre both delivered unique takes, Katie covering Lucinda [Williams] and Tre reimagining his song ‘Solo’ with Producer Andrija Tokic to include a string arrangement Billy Contreras, so we can’t wait for customers to hear them,” Graham states.
Overall, Cohen has a plethora of experiences to pull from when it comes to creating and maintaining standout playlists like this one. In 2020, Cohen was instrumental in developing Amazon Music’s Breakthrough playlist, which champions emerging artists and positions them to break into mainstream music. Cohen supported Gabby Barrett as one of the first Breakthrough Artists and continues to support artists through Amazon Music’s Launchpad and Amazon Music’s Women’s History Month programming. Cohen also personally supports those on her playlists that include other artists like Morgan Wade, John Mayer, Kacey Musgraves, and Drake (to name a few).
In addition to her curating experience, Cohen explains that Amazon Music is in a unique position to bring listeners a holistic approach to music. With Amazon’s Alexa feature and partnership with Twitch (which has seen live streams with industry giants like Keith Urban, Eric Church, and Dolly Parton) Amazon Music lights the stage for some of today’s most need-to-know music.
Check out Brushland here.