Skip to comments.10 Top Moments From Americana Music Festival
Posted on 09/20/2012 10:30:38 AM PDT by GSWarrior
The Americana Music Festival deserves a big shout-out this year for striking a near-perfect balance between showcasing longtime favorites as well as the genres rising talent. Nashville hosts a lot of outstanding music all year long, but the talent in town last week was undeniably special. Here are 10 of our favorite moments from the festival that took place Wednesday through Saturday (Sept. 12-16).
Chastity Brown at the Basement
On the final night of the festival, I decided to only see bands Id never seen before. As it turns out, my favorite song I heard all weekend was from Brown, a Tennessee native who now lives in the Twin Cities. With an addictive banjo riff and a slow-burn voice, her tune After You knocked me out during her showcase at the Basement. Shes definitely a songwriter and performer to watch. Craig Shelburne
Anthony DaCosta at the Basement
Anthony DaCosta joked that only three people in the room (including his publicist) had ever heard his latest album, Secret Handshake. Well, I was one of those folks, so I wanted to catch him in concert. Hes young with a big voice and skillful guitar playing, but what I enjoyed the most was his perspective. His lyrics remind me of something youd like to yell at the one who just left you if you just had the nerve or the presence of mind. Somehow he manages to do this without sounding like a jerk. If anything he seems like a nice kid with an abundance of musical talent whos just learning the ropes. Shelburne
Robert Ellis at Cannery Ballroom
Ellis debut album Photographs showed a talent for thoughtful songwriting, and his set Friday night proved hes also a confident performer. Working with a full band mostly buddies hes been working with for years he dared to play one new song live for the very first time. Its a love letter to his hometown called Houston, and since hes recently decided to move to Nashville, it was vividly sad yet thankful at the same time. That song, like many of Ellis others, shows a great deal of reverence for classic country. Chris Parton
John Fullbright at Mercy Lounge
The Okemah, Okla., native Fullbright did Woody Guthrie (who is also from Okemah) proud with his transformational songs of spirituality and humanism. Gawd Above and Satan and St. Paul spelled out his unique point of view in easy-to-listen-to fashion, while Fat Man provided a stinging indictment of powerful men with little or no concern for people being taken advantage of. Fullbrights writing is concise and action-minded, which he reiterated at the end of the show just before Moving, saying, If Woody teaches us anything, its to stop worrying and do something about it. Parton
Buddy Miller and Lee Ann Womack at Mercy Lounge
After leading the house band at the Americana Music Association awards show at the Ryman, Miller played a Saturday night set of duets with Womack at Mercy Lounge. After putting out a call for requests of duets, they lit up a nine-song set for a packed house of appreciative fans. Each song seemed to generate a louder response than the previous one, but there seemed to be just a little something special on their version of Loretta Lynn and Conway Twittys classic After the Fire Is Gone. Will Hodge
Punch Brothers at Cannery Ballroom
Oh, my. Where to begin with the Punch Brothers show? With jaw-dropping musicianship, hooky choruses, incessant smiles and Dapper Dan aesthetics, these guys are a must-see. Their closing cover of The Bands Ophelia was a genius crowd-endearing move and a fitting tribute to the late, legendary Levon Helm. Hodge
Bonnie Raitt at the Ryman
At the awards show Raitt was joined by guitarist Al Anderson for Not Cause I Wanted To, a soft song from her most recent album, Slipstream. Then she cranked up the energy and the volume by grabbing her electric guitar and providing some greasy slide work on Thing Called Love, a breakout track from her 1990 Nick of Time album. Since the song was written by John Hiatt, who presented her lifetime achievement award earlier in the evening, it was a no-brainer to bring him onstage to share the verses. Calvin Gilbert
Shovels & Rope at the Basement
On the first night of the festival, country-punk duo Shovels & Rope threw down an explosive set at the Basement. While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole show, I think the highlight for me was their impressive medley of Night Rider by Jonny Fritz (formerly known as Jonny Corndawg), Little Black Star by Hurray for the Riff Raff and Kiss Off by Violent Femmes. With Michael Trent on guitar, Cary Ann Hearst on drums and both of them trading off vocals (sometimes on the same mic), this song set the crowd on fire. Hodge
Billy Joe Shaver at Mercy Lounge Watching Shaver perform is always a treat because even though hes a tough guy, onstage he turns into a big old teddy bear. He couldnt keep a smile off of his face at Mercy Lounge, and Ill bet if he didnt have a stage to sing from, hed be just as happy to do it on a street corner for tips. Not much changes in his set list from year to year, but why should it? With Heart of Texas, Georgia on a Fast Train, Honky Tonk Heroes, Live Forever and many more, the Outlaw movement is essentially inseparable from his songs. Each one has a story to go with it, and most include a little shadow boxing or some silly dancing, too. Like he always says, God loves you when you dance! Parton
Richard Thompson at the Ryman
In a solo acoustic performance at the awards show, Thompson offered 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, an original ode about a motorcycle and violence that was popularized in recent years by the Del McCoury Band. Aside from the song itself and his vocal delivery, Thompson once again proved worthy of his reputation as one of the worlds greatest guitarists. Gilbert
Not a fan of country music. Many pundits like Sean Hannity assume that in order to be conservative, country music has to be the only music on your iPod. Aside from Johnny Cash and George Jones and Hank William Jr. and Waylon Jennings, I despise country music.
Country isn’t my primary music but I will say I like just about anything with a dobro in it.
There is a lot of good stuff out there coming from different sources.
Americana, while influenced by country, is not country - it’s an “amalgam of roots musics formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and other external influential styles such as bluegrass. Americana is popularly referred to, especially in print, as alternative country, alt-country or sometimes alt. country.” Description borrowed from wikipedia, but it’s a pretty good one.
What did we do before youtube?