After multiple decades living in the US as a Canadian national, I become a US citizen in 2 weeks. It's made me a little retrospective. I found myself curious about the sound that "is" an American band. For me...I finally came up with X. John X Doe and eXene Cervenka singing about lost love, heartache, hope and triumph...they brought the perfect blend of well crafted turmoil into their music.
Anyway, just my take...Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen for their poetry.
Ray Stevens is a die-hard Tea Partier these days. This would only make my dad more excited to go see him. I couldn't bring myself to do it, no matter how much childhood me loved the Mississippi Squirrel Revival.