These days, it seems trends can hang on for no longer than six months at a time. If your band buzzed at SXSW this spring, chances are your buzz will be reduced to a low murmur come CMJ time (Remember the Annuals? Peter Bjorn & Who?)
Of course, alt. country strung itself up at the gallows when it became indistinguishable from the CDs sold at Starbucks (i.e. predictable, milky white, suburban) But there are signs of life on the horizon with newer, weirder Americana acts (see: D. Charles Speer).
But what of freak folk (always hated that tag, by the way) now that Devander appears in Vanity Fair. With acts like D. Charles Speer and Dark Meat (see Justin F. Farrar's feature on the Athens, GA tribe in tomorrow's issue) operating at the fringes, it seems to me that the death of alt. country might signal a new wave of Freak'd Americana acts. Whereas the original freak-folk forebears were a bit Anglophilic for my tastes, I suspect we'll see the genre spiked more and more with flavors of the U.S.A.
Goodbye fairies and mushrooms, hello stoned gun enthusiasts!