Guitarist Zac Sokolow was busking on the street and working construction in Los Angeles when Jake saw him playing guitar, and convinced him to move in with them and start a band. They spent years digging through obscure records and arcane field recordings, teaching themselves banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and slide guitar.
Patrick calls this long immersion a "purist" phase. "We were suspicious of modern rock music," he says. "When we got together and formed a band, we had to make everything from scratch. We had no template. There was no band we wanted to be like. We were curious if we could create something brand new, summoning the spirit of old blues and country through what we'd learned firsthand, leaving nostalgia behind."
The Americans' debut album, “I’ll Be Yours”, seems to have achieved just that. "They’ve shape-shifted back into the modern-day rock and roll band," writes Cara Gibney (No Depression), "writing contemporary music of their time, incorporating the kernel of their traditional roots, enhancing their rock and roll credentials with the emotional quality of music made generations earlier."