Timothy B. Schmit opens tour in Nashville

 

Timothy B. Schmit in concert at the City Winery in Nashville

Timothy B. Schmit in concert at the City Winery in Nashville

By Ken Paulson

Timothy B. Schmit, veteran of both the Eagles and Poco, opened his new tour at the City Winery in Nashville tonight, following a number of guest appearances during the 2016 Americana Music Festival.

The tour is to promote his new album Leap of Faith, and most of his set was drawn from that album, including the engaging “My Hat” and the radio friendly “Red Dirt Road.”

If the set was short on familiarity, it was long on musicality and harmonies.

Schmit was in fine voice, and he’s put together a good band, with multiple vocalists.

Schmit did dip into the catalog for his big Eagles hit  “I Can’t Tell You Why,” plus “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” “I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore” and the Poco classic “Keep On Tryin’.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Isbell tops Americana Music Awards

By Ken Paulson

The annual Americana Music Awards and Honors event is always a special evening and one of the most memorable musical events in a city legendary for them.
This year I had the honor of joining Joe Henry in awarding the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award to Billy Bragg. That’s always an honor, and offers the chance to see witness the backstage energy at the Ryman Auditorium. The artists are always pumped for  this special show.
That translates onstage to truly striking performances.
Most surprising was George Strait’s performance with Jim Lauderdale of the latter’s “King of Broken Hearts.” I’d never seen Strait on stage before and it quickly became clear why he’s such a giant in country music. Show host Lauderdale, who received the rarely-awarded Wagonmaster Award,  seemed deeply touched by Strait’s appearance.
Jason Isbell had a another great year, winning the awards for top album and song of the year.
The evening’s winners at the 2-16 Americana Music Awards;
Album of the Year: Something More Than Free, Jason Isbell, Produced by Dave Cobb
Artist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Group/Duo of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Song of the Year: “24 Frames” Jason Isbell; Written by Jason Isbell
Emerging Artist of the Year: Margo Price
Instrumentalist of the Year: Sara Watkins
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music
Association and the First Amendment Center: Billy Bragg
Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Shawn Colvin
Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: William Bell
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Bob Weir
Lifetime Achievement Award, WagonMaster: Jim Lauderdale
President’s Award: Woody Guthrie

This week: Americana Music Festival

 

We’re just days away from our favorite music event in Nashville, and the Americana Music Festival boasts another great line-up of performers. The latest list:

Aaron Lee Tasjan
The Accidentals
Amanda Shires
Amelia Curran
The Americans
Amy Helm
Aoife O’Donovan
Applewood Road
Aubrie Sellers
B R U N S
The Ballroom Thieves
Bart Crow
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
Birger Olsen (of Denver)
BJ Barham (of American Aquarium)
The Black Lillies
Bobby Rush
Bonnie Bishop
The Bottle Rockets
Brent Cobb
Brian Whelan
Brian Wright
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers

Buddy Miller
C.W. Stoneking
The Cactus Blossoms
Caleb Caudle
Carl Anderson
Cedric Burnside Project
Charlie Faye & The Fayettes
Charlie Parr
Ciaran Lavery
The Cordovas
David Ramirez
Dead Horses
Derik Hultquist
Dex Romweber
Dietrich Strause
Dori Freeman
Dylan LeBlanc
The Fearless Kin
Front Country
Grant-Lee Phillips
Green River Ordinance
The Handsome Family
Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer
Hollis Brown
Howe Gelb
Indianola
Indigo Girls
The Infamous Stringdusters
Jack Ingram
Jason Eady
Jay Nash
Jesse Malin
Jim Lauderdale
Joe Purdy
John Fullbright
John Paul White

John Prine
Kaia Kater
Kasey Chambers
Larkin Poe
Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
The Last Bandoleros
LAU
Lee Ann Womack
Lewis & Leigh
The Lonely Heartstring Band
Lori McKenna
Lowland Hum
Luke Bell
Lydia Loveless
Mandolin Orange
Marlon Williams
Matt Haeck
Mindy Smith
Molly Parden
Moonsville Collective
Motel Mirrors
My Bubba
The O’Connor Band featuring Mark O’Connor
Paper Bird
Parker Millsap
Penny & Sparrow
Peter Bruntnell
Phil Cody
The Pines
Quiet Life
Red Shahan
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
River Whyless
Rob Baird
Robert Vincent
Ruby Amanfu
Ruby Boots
Ruston Kelly
Ryan Beaver
Sam Lewis
Sam Outlaw
Sammy Brue
Sara Watkins
Sarah Potenza
Sean McConnell
Sean Watkins
Shane Nicholson
Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle
Shawn Mullins
Sons of Bill
Steve Poltz
Sunny Sweeney
Susto
Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones
Tony Joe White
Whitney Rose
Will Hoge
William Clark Green
William the Conqueror
Willie Watson
Wynonna & The Big Noise
Yola Carter

The festival opens Sept. 21 in Nashville.

This just in: Americana Music nominees

The Americana Music Association has just released its list of nominations for the  15th Annual Honors & Awards:
Album of the Year
Something More Than Free, Jason Isbell, Produced by Dave Cobb
The Ghosts of Highway 20, Lucinda Williams, Produced by Greg Leisz, Tom Overby and Lucinda Williams
The Very Last Day, Parker Millsap, Produced by Parker Millsap and Gary Paczosa
Traveller, Chris Stapleton, Produced by Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton

Artist of the Year
Jason Isbell
Bonnie Raitt
Chris Stapleton
Lucinda Williams

Duo/Group of the Year
Alabama Shakes
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Lake Street Dive
The Milk Carton Kids
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Emerging Artist of the Year
Leon Bridges
John Moreland
Margo Price
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Song of the Year
“24 Frames” Jason Isbell
“Dime Store Cowgirl” Kacey Musgraves
“Hands Of Time” Margo Price
“S.O.B.” Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats

Instrumentalist of the Year
Cindy Cashdollar
Stuart Duncan
Jedd Hughes
Sara Watkins

2015 Americana Music Festival notebook

By Ken Paulson

ama_logo_button_redRandom thoughts and observations about the Americana Music Festival week that was: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band‘s 50th anniversary show at the Ryman was the perfect kick-off and an extraordinary event. Take the four current members of the Dirt Band – Jeff Hanna, John McEuen, Jimmie Fadden and Bob Carpenter – and add Byron House, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, and you have the ultimate Americana band. Then you add appearances by Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, John Prine, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell and returning Dirt Band member Jimmy Ibbotson and you have a singular evening. Recorded for PBS, the show’s few flubs just meant we had a chance to hear the classics twice – most notably Jerry Jeff Walker and the band doing his “Mr. Bojangles. …Based on their most recent album, we had high hopes for Dustbowl Revival and they absolutely delivered, even inspiring some City Winery patrons to dance, a scene we hadn’t witnessed before…

Dustbowl Revival at the City Winery

Dustbowl Revival at the City Winery

Our single favorite song of the week was Steve Earle doing “Mississippi, It’s Time,” a stirring song about the Confederate flag that reminded us how powerful truly topical songs can be….On the same stage, we saw Loretta Lynn, whose stage show probably hasn’t changed much in the past 40 years – and that’s just fine…We used the new app for our schedule all week and just have one request: build bios into the app for artists and panel members rather than passing us through to websites….We were honored to present the Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music award to Buffy Sainte Marie on Wednesday night and then sat in when she visited with Middle Tennessee State University students the next day. They loved her energy and sage advice: “Don’t believe any of that junk about genres.”…We saw some tremendous unbilled shows at various receptions around town, including the new trio Applewood Road…. The Americana Music Festival remains the best single week for music in Music City –and that’s saying something.

New and in harmony: Applewood Road

By Ken Paulson

Every Americana Music Festival reveals an invigorating
musical surprise or two, and ours came Thursday night at the Tin Roof in Nashville. In addition to the many festival showcases around, you’ll find artists performing at the many informal receptions around the city.

Applewood Road in Nashville

Applewood Road in Nashville

That’s where we found Applewood Road, a new trio made up of Amy Speace, Emily Barker and Amber Rubart, performing together for just the third time. A raucous bar hushed as they harmonized beautifully. We’ve known and admired Amy’s work for years; the three are a potent combination.

The group’s origins came in a songwriting session in 2014 in East Nashville, where they wrote the song with the title that became the band name.

Their debut album, due later this year, was recorded live  at Welcome to 1979, an analog-only studio in Nashville.

 

 

 

Lucinda Williams, Sturgill Simpson honored

Americana Music News  — Lucinda Williams won top honors for album of the year  Wednesday night at the American Music Association’s annual honors and awards show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. “Down Where The Spirit Meets the Bone” continued her long run of AMA honors.

Sturgill Simpson was honored twice, with wins as artist of the year and for writing and recording “Turtles All the Way Down,” the song of the year.

The full list of honorees:

 

Album of the Year: Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, Lucinda Williams, Produced by Lucinda Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz
Artist of the Year: Sturgill Simpson
Duo Group of the Year: The Mavericks
Song of the Year: “Turtles All The Way Down” Written by Sturgill Simpson
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shakey Graves
Instrumentalist of the Year: John Leventhal
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Don Henley
The Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Lifetime Achievement Award, Instrumentalist: Ricky Skaggs
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Los Lobos
President’s Award: BB King

 

 

Review: Steppenwolf’s ABC/Dunhill Singles Collection

By Ken Paulson

steppenwolfsinglesThis Wednesday I’ll have the privilege of presenting the Free Speech in Music award to Buffy St. Marie at the Americana Music Association’s Awards and Honors event at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

I’m particularly honored to be presenting the award with John Kay, founder and lead singer of Steppenwolf. Though many associate the band with the biker culture (“heavy metal thunder”) the truth is that Steppenwolf was one of the most socially conscious and politically engaged groups of the ’60s.

A new collection from Real Gone Music reminds us of the depth and impact of the band. The ABC/Dunhill Singles Collection includes largely mono recordings of the band’s output for the label, plus all of Kay’s solo singles.

By definition, all of the hits are here: “Born to Be Wild,” “Magic Carpet Ride,” “Rock Me,” “Move Over” and “Hey Lawdy Mama.” But the singles also included a stirring cover of Hoyt Axton’s “Snowblind Friend,” the driving “Who Needs Ya” and “Monster,” a powerful political anthem included here in its full version because Kay objected to the truncated version released as the single.

Kay’s solo albums were outstanding and largely overlooked, and it’s good to have a sampling included here, particularly his versions of “You Win Again” and “I’m Movin’ On.”

Kay participated in the Real Gone Music collection and his comments inform the comprehensive and fascinating booklet included here.

It’s an impressive collection and it was good to reconnect with the band’s many worthy B-sides. I seem to recall Steppenwolf performing “Berry Rides Again” from their first album on American Bandstand, but there’s video proof of their performance of the song in 1968 on “Playboy After Dark:”

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Americana Music Festival 2015: The line-up

ama_logo_button_red
We’re just about three weeks away from the Americana Music Festival and Conference Association Conference in Nashville,  and organizers have released a new list of performers, including these additions:  Glen Hansard, Jewel, Hot Rize featuring Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, Jay Farrar, Buddy Miller and Marc Ribot, JD McPherson, Parker Millsap, Joel Rafael, Nellie Clay, Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear and the Watkins Family Hour. 
The updated line-up:
Adam Faucett
American Aquarium

Anderson East

Andrew Combs

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead

Angaleena Presley 

Anthony D’Amato

Band of Heathens

Banditos

Barna Howard

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

Birds of Chicago

Brian Wright
The Bros. Landreth

Buddy Miller & Marc Ribot

Buick 6 

Buxton

Caitlin Canty

Cale Tyson

Caleb Caudle

Caleb Klauder

CALICO the band 

Carly Ritter

The Carmonas

Caroline Spence 

Carsie Blanton

ChessBoxer

Christopher Paul Stelling

The Contenders

Corb Lund

Crooks

Daniel Martin Moore 

Daniel Romano

Darlingside

Darrell Scott

David Wax Museum

Dead Winter Carpenters

Della Mae 

Dirty River Boys

Dom Flemons

Donnie Fritts and John Paul White

Doug Seegers

Dreaming Spires

Dustbowl Revival

Eddie Berman

Eilen Jewell

Emma Swift

Erin Rae & The Meanwhiles

The Fairfield Four

Fats Kaplin

Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen

The Freightshakers

Gill Landry

Glen Hansard

The Good Lovelies

The Grahams

Grant-Lee Phillips

Great Peacock

Gretchen Peters

Guthrie Brown & The Family Tree

Hackensaw Boys

Halfway

The Hello Strangers

Henry Wagons

The Hillbenders

The Honeycutters

honeyhoney

Horse Feathers

Hot Rize featuring Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers 

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Hugh Bob and the Hustle

Humming House

Jackie Greene

James McMurtry

Jay Farrar performs songs of Son Volt’s “Trace” 

JD & The Straight Shot

JD McPherson 
JD Souther

Jeffrey Foucault

Jewel 

Jim Lauderdale

Joe Pug

Joel Rafael 

John Moreland

John Paul Keith

Jonathan Tyler

Joseph LeMay

Josh Ritter 

Josh Rouse

JP Harris

Kacy & Clayton

Kai Welch 

Keenan O’Meara & M. Lui

Kelsey Waldon

Kingsley Flood

Kristin Andreassen

Kristin Diable

Laney Jones and the Spirits

Lee Ann Womack

Legendary Shack Shakers

Lera Lynn

Lewis and Leigh

Leyla McCalla

Lilly Hiatt

Lindi Ortega

Liz Longley

Los Colognes

Los Lobos

Low Cut Connie

Lucette

Luther Dickinson

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear 

Margo Price

Martin Harley

Mary Bragg

Mary Gauthier
The Mavericks

The McCrary Sisters

Michaela Anne & The Wild Hearts

Miss Tess & The Talkbacks

Nathaniel Rateliff  and The Night Sweats

Nellie Clay 

Nora Jane Struthers  and the Party Line

NUDIE

Oh Pep!

Olin & The Moon 

Packway Handle Band

Paper Bird

Parker Millsap 

Patty Griffin

Pine Hill Project (featuring Richard Shindell  and Lucy Kaplansky)

Pokey LaFarge

Pony Boy

Porter

Possessed By Paul James

Raised By Eagles

Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Richie Furay

River Whyless

Ron Pope & The Nighthawks

Ry Cooder/Sharon White/Ricky Skaggs

Ryan Culwell
Sam Outlaw

Sarah Borges

Sean McConnell

Session Americana

Shannon McNally 

Shemekia Copeland

The Show Ponies

Spirit Family Reunion

The Steel Wheels

Steelism

Stephen Kellogg
The Stray Birds

The Suffers
T Sisters

T. Hardy Morris

Taarka

Tall Heights

Those Pretty Wrongs

Town Mountain

Uncle Lucius

The Vespers

Water Liars

Watkins Family Hour 

Webb Wilder 

The Whistles and The Bells

WhiteHorse

Whitey Morgan

Whitney Rose

The Wild Reeds

William Elliott Whitmore

Willie Watson

The Wood Brothers

Expanded Americana Music Festival lineup

ama_logo_button_redThe Americana Music Association has just added a second wave of artists booked for thie fall’s Americana Music Festival and Conference, set for Sept. 15-20 in Nashville, including Band of Heathens, the McCrary Sisters, Luther Dickinson, the Fairfield Four, JD Souther, Doug Seegers, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. You’ll find the initial  lineup here.

The new additions:

Adam Faucett

American Aquarium

Amy LaVere

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead

Band of Heathens

Buddy Miller

Buxton Cale Tyson

The Carmonas

Daniel Romano

Darrell Scott

David Wax Museum

Dirty River Boys

Donnie Fritts & John Paul White

Doug Seegers

Dreaming Spires

Dustbowl Revival

Eddie Berman

Eilen Jewell

The Fairfield Four

Gill Landry

The Good Lovelies

Great Peacock

Gretchen Peters

The Hillbenders

The Honeycutters

Humming House

JD & The Straight Shot

JD Souther

Jeffrey Foucault

Jim Lauderdale

Jonathan Tyler

Josh Rouse

JP Harris

Kacy & Clayton

Kelsey Waldon

Legendary Shack Shakers

Lewis and Leigh

Lindi Ortega

Los Colognes

Low Cut Connie

Luther Dickinson

Margo Price

The Mavericks

McCrary Sisters

Michaela Anne

Miss Tess & The Talkbacks

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Paper Bird

Pine Hill Project (featuring Richard Shindell & Lucy Kaplansky)

Pony Boy Porter

Possessed By Paul James

Raised By Eagles

Ron Pope & The Nighthawks

Ry Cooder/Sharon White/Ricky Skaggs

Ryan Culwell

Sam Outlaw

Spirit Family Reunion

The Suffers

T. Hardy Morris

T Sisters

Taarka

Those Pretty Wrongs

Town Mountain

Uncle Lucius

Whitney Rose

Willie Watson

The Wood Brothers

2015 Americana Music Awards nominees announced

The Americana Music Association announced this afternoon the nominees for the 2015 ama_logo_button_redAmericana Honors and Awards. The winners will be announced at the association’s annual conference, set for Sept. 10-15 in Nashville.
2015 Americana Honors & Awards Nominees
Album of the Year (Award goes to Artist and Producer)
And The War CameShakey Graves; Produced by Alejandro Rose-Garcia and Chris Boosahda
Down Where The Spirit Meets The BoneLucinda Williams; Produced by Lucinda Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz
Metamodern Sounds In Country Music Sturgill Simpson; Produced by Dave Cobb
The Way I’m Livin’Lee Ann Womack; Produced by Frank Liddell
Tomorrow Is My Turn – Rhiannon Giddens; Produced by T-Bone Burnett
Artist of the Year
Rhiannon Giddens
Jason Isbell
Sturgill Simpson
Lucinda Williams
Lee Ann Womack
Duo/Group of the Year
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
The Lone Bellow
The Mavericks
Punch Brothers
Shovels & Rope
Emerging Artist of the Year
First Aid Kit
Houndmouth
Nikki Lane
Doug Seegers
Shakey Graves
Instrumentalist of the Year
Hubby Jenkins
Laur Joamets
Greg Leisz
John Leventhal
Stuart Mathis
Song of the Year (Award goes to Artist and Songwriter)
“Dearly Departed” – Shakey Graves; Written by Alejandro Rose-Garcia and Esme’ Patterson
“East Side Of Town” – Lucinda Williams; Written by Lucinda Williams
“Terms Of My Surrender” – John Hiatt; Written by John Hiatt
“Turtles All The Way Down” – Sturgill Simpson; Written by Sturgill Simpson
“You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had” – Steve Earle & the Dukes; Written by Steve Earle

This just in: 2015 Americana Music Festival line-up

ama_logo_button_redThe  Americana Music Association has just announced its initial artist line-up for the 16th annual Americana Music Festival and Conference, set for September 15 – 20, 2015, in Nashville.

It’s always an extraordinary week of music and one of the best festivals in Nashville each year.

You’ll find conference and wristband information at www.americanamusic.org.

 

The roster so far:
Anderson East
Andrew Combs
Anthony D’Amato
Banditos
Barna Howard
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Billy Bragg & Joe Purdy
Birds of Chicago
Brian Wright
The Bros. Landreth
Caleb Caudle
Caleb Klauder Country Band
Carly Ritter
Carsie Blanton
ChessBoxer
Christopher Paul Stelling
The Contenders
Corb Lund
Crooks
Darlingside
Dead Winter Carpenters
Dom Flemons
The Dustbowl Revival
Emma Swift
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
The Freightshakers
The Grahams
Grant-Lee Phillips
Guthrie Brown & The Family Tree
Hackensaw Boys
Halfway
The Hello Strangers
Henry Wagons
honeyhoney
Horse Feathers
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Hugh Bob and the Hustle
Jackie Greene
James McMurtry
Joe Pug
John Moreland
John Paul Keith
Kingsley Flood
Kristin Diable
Kristin Andreassen
Laney Jones and the Spirits
Lee Ann Womack
Legendary Shack Shakers
Lera Lynn
Leyla McCalla
Lilly Hiatt
Liz Longley
Los Lobos
Low Cut Connie
Lucette
Lydia Loveless
Martin Harley
Mary Gauthier
Nikki Lane
Nora Jane Struthers
Nudie
Oh Pep!
Packway Handle Band
Patty Griffin
Pokey LaFarge
Porter
Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen
Ray Wylie Hubbard
River Whyless
Sarah Borges
Sean McConnell
Shemekia Copeland
The Show Ponies
Session Americana
Steelism
The Steel Wheels
Stephen Kellogg
The Stray Birds
Tall Heights
The Vespers
Water Liars
The Whistles and The Bells
Whitey Morgan and the 78s
The Wild Reeds
William Elliott Whitmore
Whitehorse

 

The 10 best lines on the Cayamo music cruise 2015

By Paul T. Mueller

The 10 best lines from artists on the 2015 Cayamo cruise:

Amy Speace

Amy Speace

  • It was sad knowing everyone I knew or loved was going to hell. – Elizabeth Cook on her fundamentalist upbringing (Saturday)
  • This has been a very palpable evening. – Jim Lauderdale, during John Fullbright’s “Unlikely Sit-In” show (Saturday)
  • I starred in “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” – Amy Speace on her days as a Shakespearean actress in New York (Monday)
  • Thanks, Mom. – John Prine, in response to a female audience member’s shout of “You’re sexy, John Prine!” (Monday)
  • The difference between a freeloader and a free spirit is about three chords. – Todd Snider (Wednesday)
  • This was No. 1 for about two weeks on the radio in Serbia. Take that, Lyle Lovett! – Amy Speace on the title track of her new CD, “That Kind of Girl” (Thursday)
  • Morning, everyone! – Lucinda Williams, at a 1:30 p.m. show (Thursday)
  • He doesn’t consider himself an Eagle, but I do. No, I consider you an egret. – Shawn Colvin to guitarist Steuart Smith, who tours with The Eagles (Thursday)
  • What we do on Cayamo stays on Cayamo. – Shawn Colvin (Thursday)
  • Since you probably played on the original record, play a little guitar right here, good brother. – Rodney Crowell to David Bromberg, during “Like a Rolling Stone” (Friday)

 

 

Cayamo day 4: John Prine, Edwin McCain, Tim Easton

After two days and three nights at sea, the Norwegian Pearl arrived early Tuesday, January 20, at the island of St. Barts in the French West Indies. Many Cayamoans boarded the Pearl’s lifeboats to go ashore and spend a few hours mingling with the well-to-do; others chose to stay aboard and relax. As always on port days, organized music got started later to accommodate the daytrippers, with the first shows beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Guitarist Tim Easton and fiddler Megan Palmer, despite being talented singer-songwriters as well as fine backing musicians for Amy Speace, weren’t given official performing slots of their own. No matter. Tuesday evening found the duo, neighbors in East Nashville, playing the first of three “guerrilla shows” in the Bar City area of the Pearl. Their nine-song set, played acoustically, was heavy on Easton’s songs. These included “Don’t Lie” from his current album, Not Cool, and older material (some by request) such as “Don’t Walk Alone” and “Dear Old Song and Dance.”

John Prine and Dave Jacques

John Prine and Dave Jacques

Palmer sang her dark tale “Knife Twister,” while Speace joined the two on her own “Strange Boat.” The relatively small audience at the beginning mostly comprised those who were already fans, but as often happens on Cayamo, a fair number of passers-by ended up in the crowd as well, contributing sing-along vocals and improvised percussion on covers of Lucinda Williams’ “People Talking” and the Rolling Stones’ “Factory Girl.”

John Prine’s 8:00 show in the Stardust Theater was an exercise in musical excellence. Highlights included the rousing antiwar anthem “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore”; “Souvenirs,” which Prine dedicated to his brother Doug; the gentle “Hello in There,” performed with heartbreaking beauty, and Prine’s duets with the seemingly omnipresent Brandi Carlile on “In Spite of Ourselves” and “Angel from Montgomery.” Prine took a solo turn on “Lydia” and “Sam Stone” before his band – guitarist Jason Wilber and bassist Dave Jacques – returned for a rousing but slightly muddy rendition of the Carter Family’s “Bear Creek Blues.” The band followed with a nice take on the enigmatic “Lake Marie” before closing, with assistance from singer-songwriter Joe Purdy, with “Paradise.”

 

South Carolina singer-songwriter Edwin McCain’s Tuesday night set in the Spinnaker Lounge turned into a 45th birthday party, complete with a clown, balloons and a cake. That didn’t keep McCain from showcasing his powerful voice and fine guitar playing with a set of intelligent adult pop – dealing, as befits a man in the early stages of middle age, with subjects such as a daughter’s wedding and lasting love. He also threw in some good stories, including one about discovering that Elgie Stover, the purveyor of his favorite barbecue, was in fact a songwriter and producer who co-wrote songs for Marvin Gaye, among others. McCain closed with Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” featuring a nice solo by saxophonist Craig Shields.

The second half of McCain’s show overlapped the first half of The Lone Bellow’s Atrium set, but judging from the last few songs it was a raucous affair. Late selections included a couple of songs from the band’s very successful 2013 album, The Lone Bellow – “You Never Need Nobody” and “The One You Should’ve Let Go.” No sophomore slump here – the band was every bit as good all week as it was last year in its Cayamo debut, and by some accounts even better.

A late-night jam in Bar City featured an all-star cast of artists, along with some talented amateurs. The event was anchored, as it were, by John Fullbright at the piano, along with Tim Easton on mandolin and Birds of Chicago’s Allison Russell on clarinet. Song selections included the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” among others.

 

Allison Moorer tour dates announced

Americana Music News – The highlight of the 2014 Americana Music Festival in Nashville may well have been Allison Moorer’s  captivating performance at the City Winery. Her new album Down to Believing is due March 17 and she’s headed out to tour in support of the release:

March 19th – Vienna, VA Jammin Java
March 20th – Princeton, NJ Folk Society
March 21st – Wilmington, DE World Café Live
March 22nd – Cambridge, MA Passims
March 24th – Portland, ME One Longfellow Square
March 25th – Fairfield, CT FTC Stage One
March 26th – Buffalo, NY 189 Public House
March 27th – Albany, NY Sawyer Theatre

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Ian McLagan 1945-2014

Ian 2Ian McLagan’s performance in the parking lot of Grimey’s in Nashville was a highlight of the 2014 Americana Music Festival. McLagan died today, Dec. 3. (Photo by Ken Paulson)

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2015 Americana music conference set for Sept. 15-20

The 2015 Americana Music Festival and Conference has been set for Sept. 15 through 20 in Nashville. Early-bird conference registration is now available. More information is available at the Americana Music Association site.

Taj Mahal performed at the 2014 Americana Music Association awards show at the Ryman.

Taj Mahal performed at the 2014 Americana Music Association awards show at the Ryman.

Americana Music Festival on PBS this weekend

Ry Cooder at the Americana music Honors and Awards show

Ry Cooder at the Americana Music Honors and Awards show

The Americana Music Association’s Honors and Award show at the Ryman Auditorium is one of our favorite events of the year, and highlights from the September show  will be shared with a national audience on a special edition of Austin City Limits that begins airing Nov. 22. Performers include Robert Plant, Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Rosanne Cash and Flaco Jimenez.

It’s no easy task to distill the best moments of a nearly three-hour event, but the ACL   emphasis is on the music and not the awards. Here’s the setlist shared by the Americana Music Association:

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Carter Girl: Carlene honors her roots

By Ken Paulson

Carlene Carter (photo by P. Paulson)

Carlene Carter (photo by P. Paulson)

It was a treat to see Carlene Carter present an award at the Americana Music Awards on the stage of the Ryman Wednesday night, particularly when the Cash-Carter family was so well-represented.

Nominee Rosanne Cash performed, as did her former husband and Johnny Cash son-in-law Rodney Crowell. If Americana has a first family, this is it.

We spoke to Carlene briefly backstage, reminiscing about her appearance at the very first Americana Music Association Awards show in 2002 at a nearby hotel ballroom. It was an extraordinary night,  with June Carter and the Carter Family – including Carlene and her daughter  Tiffany – performing with Johnny Cash.

12 years later, many of us still see that performance as the Big Bang that made the current successful and expansive Americana Music Association Conference and Festival possible.

Carlene has an outstanding new album called Carter Girl,  which includes some Carter Family songs and a nod to her heritage.

There’s also a new and very interesting  interview with Carlene  by Glide Magazine. You’ll find the interview here.

 

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Angaleena Presley: Channeling Loretta Lynn

By Ken Paulson

When Loretta Lynn stepped onto the Ryman stage on Wednesday night to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting from the Americana Music Association, no one was more excited than the two women who presented the award: Angaleena Presley and Kacey Musgraves.

Tears flowed and they were clearly deeply moved to be able to honor this iconic artist. Then Loretta backed up her

legend with a stirring performance of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

We had the chance to visit with Presley at the Mercy Lounge two nights later and she continued to sing Loretta Lynn’s praises, reminding us that she, too, grew up a coal miner’s daughter.

Loretta’s inspiration is clearly evident in both Presley’s live show and on her upcoming album American Middle Class, due from Slate Creek Records on Oct. 14.

While  Loretta sang “One’s On the Way,” Angaleena Presley offers the more blunt “Knocked Up.” Loretta cautioned her husband “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind), while Presley delivers the tough and withering “Drunk.” The songs are four decades apart, but share a refreshing honesty and directness.

Loretta Lynn should be proud.

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