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Have you noticed that lately you can't swing a banjo without hitting some bearded guy in the vest? Has the population of sundress-clad waifs with ukuleles exploded in your town? Old timey is everywhere these days, from scratchy wool pants to artisanal cheese, and music is leading the way.

But are they really old timey?

While the streets of most cities may look like a casting call for Little House on the Prairie, not all bands are equally antiquated. From fashion, to the instruments used, to the musical traditions mined and beyond, there are lots of ways music is celebrating the past. To help you tell the fashion rearward from the true luddites, and to try and compare their various ways, we present the Old-Timey Index. Now you'll never have to wonder whether people could truly blend in during the early 1900s, whether they are musical equivalents of civil war re-enactors, or whether they're just cool downtowners.

Open the gallery for more information and to watch the bands in action.

Graphics were designed by Samantha Smith, and rankings were made by Tom Power and Mike Miner.

Ranking the Most Old Timey Bands

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Mumford & Sons, Tom Waits and the Punch Brothers: ranking the old-timey bands

Have you noticed that lately you can't swing a banjo without hitting some bearded guy in the vest? Ha…

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thegertrudes
#1 posted by
thegertrudes
on Sep 03, 2013

Sheesham and Lotus!!

fictionjunkie
#2 posted by
fictionjunkie
on Sep 03, 2013

Would love to hear more of these bands on the Alt Country station!

HotPotato73
#3 posted by
HotPotato73
on Sep 04, 2013

This is great! But yes... how did Sheesham & Lotus not make this list? I'm pretty sure they were actually genetically cloned from a real 1920s jug band, and I've a hunch their instruments are homemade. 

chulan
#4 posted by
chulan
on Sep 04, 2013

every time i read an article like this is think "if only we had the technology to make a list of music of the featured artists to listen to..."

Pete Morey
#5 posted by
Pete Morey
on Sep 04, 2013

This is friggin awesome!

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