Ameripolitan is a genre of contemporary original music encompassing four prominent subcategories: Western swing, honky-tonk, rockabilly and outlaw. Championed by Austin-based singer Dale Watson, the ameripolitan genre was established for contemporary artists upholding traditional roots-influenced musical formats to distinguish themselves from the formats produced by the mainstream country pop music industry.
The Ameripolitan Music Awards were founded in 2014.
The Ameripolitan term was coined by Dale Watson and Wisconsin promotor, Phil Doran, after finding it difficult to describe the style of music that Watson and some of his select peers play, contending that predefined genres fail to properly categorize it. Labeling it country music, they felt, is misleading relative to the conjured links and attributes as defined by Music Row's country pop music industry. Calling it classic country implies it is retro, rather than new and original. The traditional country label is loosely defined and the perceived definition is often relative to the age of the listening audience. The Americana genre has prominent folk and rock influences and omits the outlaw, rockabilly, hillbilly, western swing and Cajun sounds perfected by traditionalists. Watson believes the entire country music nomenclature has been irrevocably corrupted beyond repair, insisting the newly created Ameripolitan music genre helps rebrand, honor and preserve contemporary music rooted in the earlier traditions of country music.
If I am Male Vocalist of the Year, that must mean that I'm one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa's music. And I don't care how many of these old farts around Nashville are going, 'My God, that ain't country!' Well that's because you don't buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don't want to buy the music you were buying.
Though Shelton later apologized for the comment, his remarks, Watson felt, let the "proverbial cat out of the bag" and set the internet abuzz with regard to the true feelings of Music Row and the roots of country music, further fueling the fire to rebrand the Ameripolitan music genre, designed to honor and preserve the roots of Country music.