A term used to describe any country music that is liked by someone who is not a 'country music fan'. It usually means that they like country music when it is performed by certain bands that have been blessed as cool by the hipster community.
I hate country music.
But you like that Loretta Lynn song covered by Neko Case, that's country music.
No, that's sung by Neko Case, so that makes it alt country. See how it works???
No, actually, I don't.
Music influenced both by classic country artists such as Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie as well as classic alternative or punk bands such as Nirvana, The Clash and The Sex Pistols. This genre was basically founded by two bands, Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown in the late 80's and early 90's. Wilco, which grew out of Uncle Tupelo, and Ryan Adams, the lead singer of Whiskeytown, have brought this genre to the fringes of the mainstream.
Frat boy: So Dude, what kind of music do you like?
You: Right now i'm listening to a lot of alt country.
Frat Boy: I hate that travis trit shit!
You: no dumb ass, I said ALT country, like Wilco or uncle tupelo.
Frat Boy: oh, i heard them the other day, they were wicked cool.
"Lost my job, my house, my truck.
"Got new ones."
(The above is meant to be an example of alt country.)
Ryan Adams is alt country. Country music for non-rednecks. Think of the new Bright Eyes cd.
"Oh man that new Bright Eyes cd is so country sounding."
"Yea well Ryan Adams has been doing that for years now."