Americana's breadth is as deep as it is wide. The genre embraces artists playing everything from gospel to pop, R&B to country, folk to soul; it's not so much about a particular sound as it is about a particular feeling. But how do you define Americana? How do you explain a type of music that's more about the presence and emotion it evokes than anything else?

Sept. 11-16, the Americana Music Festival will spend a week honoring the artists and industry leaders who define the unique diversity of a musical genre that has spanned decades and includes some of the most-loved and -respected artists. Amid intimate showcases, networking seminars and parties, one of the week's highlights is the Americana Music Awards hosted at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

On the red carpet prior to the 2016 Americana Music Awards ceremony, The Boot asked stars such as Jim Lauderdale and the Milk Carton Kids, among others, just how they would define their own genre. The results -- as one might expect -- were as varied as Americana music itself. Flip through the gallery below to find out what Emmylou HarrisAndrew Leahey and more had to say.

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