Free speech honor for Jackson Browne

links ama1 Free speech honor for Jackson Browne Americana Music News – Jackson Browne has been named the 2014 recipient of the “Spirit of Americana” award for free speech in music, presented by  the  Americana Music Association and the Newseum Institute’s  First Amendment Center.

The annual award, which recognizes artists who have used their music to raise awareness and make a difference, has been presented to a wide range of performers, including Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels,  Stephen Stills, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, Judy Collins and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

“Jackson Browne has long embraced the power of music to engage and inform,” said Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center. “From his founding of Musicians United for Safe Energy to his work on behalf of Amnesty International, Farm Aid and environmental causes, Browne has never hesitated to say – or sing – what he believes.”

The award will be presented at the  Americana Music 13th Annual Honors and Awards ceremony on Wednesday, September 17 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The show will be recorded for distribution to PBS stations and a special Austin City Limits presentation.


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Americana Festival announces 2014 line-up

Avetts AMA 350x233 Americana Festival announces 2014 line up

The Avett Brothers at the 2011 Americana Awards show

Americana Music News – The ever-growing American Music Association announced today that its annual Nashville festival  will feature an outdoor concert on the city’s riverfront on Sept. 20 with the Avett Brothers as headliners.

The concert will anchor the Americana Music Festival and Conference, scheduled to take place Sept. 12-21. Tickets go on sale June 27 for the riverfront concert. Admission is free to conference registrants.

The Americana Music Association also released this list of 2014 festival acts, with more to come:

Allison Moorer • Amy Ray • Angaleena Presley •  The Barefoot Movement • Ben Miller Band • Billy Joe ShaverBlack PrairieBrennen Leigh and Noel McKay • Buddy Miller • The Cactus Blossoms • Carlene Carter • Caroline Rose • Chatham County Line • Chuck Mead • Danny & The Champions of the World • The Deadly Gentlemen • Del Barber • The Deslondes • Doug Seegers • The Duhks • The Dustbowl Revival • Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo • Ethan Johns • The Fairfield Four • The Grahams • Grant-Lee Phillips • Green River Ordinance • Greensky Bluegrass • Gregory Alan Isakov • Greyhounds • The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer • Hayes Carll • Howlin’ Brothers • Immigrant Union • Israel Nash • Jamestown Revival • Jason Eady • J.D. Wilkes & the Dirt Daubers • Joe Henry • Joe Pug • Joe Purdy • John Moreland • Jonah Tolchin • Jonny Two Bags • Josh Ritter • Joshua James • Lake Street Dive • Lee Ann Womack • Leo “Bud” Welch • Lera Lynn • Marah Presents: Mountain Minstrelsy • Marty Stuart • Matthew Ryan • McCrary Sisters • Nathaniel Rateliff • New Country Rehab • Oh Susanna • Otis Gibbs • Parker Millsap • Paul Thorn • Pete Molinari • Quebe Sisters Band • Rhett Miller • Robbie Fulks • Robyn Hitchcock • Rodney CrowellRuthie Foster • Ryan Montbleau • Sam Outlaw • Sarah Jarosz • Sean Rowe • Shakey Graves • Suzy Bogguss • Todd Snider & Friends • Tom Freund • Tony Joe White • Trigger Hippy (featuring Jackie Greene, Joan Osborne, Steve Gorman, Tom Bukovac & Nick Govrik) • Whiskey Shivers • Willie Watson

This just in: The 2014 Americana Music Award Nominees

links ama1 This just in: The 2014 Americana Music Award Nominees
Americana Music News - Robert Ellis, Rosanne Cash and Jason Isbell led nominees for the 2014 Americana Music Awards with three nominations each, including artist of the year,  the Americana Music Association announced today in Nashville.
Ellis’ The Lights From the Chemical Plant was nominated for album of the year, while his “Only Lies” was nominated for Best Song.
Cash’s album The River and the Thread and song “A Feather’s Not A Bird” were nominated, and Isbell was recognized for his album Southeastern and song “Cover Me Up.”
Rodney Crowell rounded out the list of best artist nominees.
The full list of nominees:
Build Me Up From Bones, Sarah Jarosz
The Lights From The Chemical Plant, Robert Ellis
The River And The Thread, Rosanne Cash
Southeastern, Jason Isbell
Rosanne Cash
Robert Ellis
Jason Isbell
Hard Working Americans
Lake Street Dive
“Cover Me Up”, Jason Isbell
“A Feather’s Not A Bird”, Rosanne Cash
“Ohio”, Patty Griffin
“Only Lies”, Robert Ellis
Hurray For The Riff Raff
Parker Millsap
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Larry Campbell
Fats Kaplin
Bryan Sutton
Winners will be announced at the The Americana Honors and Awards on  September 17, 2014 in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium. The event is part of the Americana Music Festival.

Mad: A New video from Eric Brace, Peter Cooper and friends

Americana Music News – We caught up with Eric Brace at the Americana Music Conference in Nashville and he told us about a new video featuring Tom T. Hall’s “Mad” and a slew of really cool guest stars, including Marty Stuart,  Duane Eddy and Mac Wiseman.  The video promotes The Comeback Album, the most recent album from Brace and Peter Cooper. Here’s Brace talking about how “The World’s Greatest Video” came together: listen to ‘Eric Brace’ on Audioboo

And here’s the finished project:


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Interview: Tim O’Brien on his new album with Darrell Scott

Tim obrien 150x150 Interview: Tim OBrien on his new album with Darrell Scott By Ken Paulson

Americana Music News – Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott have teamed up again for an impressive new album called Memories and Moments.
This is their second studio album, with songwriting duties split between the pair, and a powerful new collaboration on  “Keep Your Dirty Lights On,” a powerful environmental message.
We had the chance to talk to Tim about the new album at the American Music Festival in Nashville.



Follow Sun209: Americana Music News on Twitter at @Sun209com.


Stephen Stills honored for free speech through music

By Ken Paulson

Paulson Stills 321x350 Stephen Stills honored for free speech through music

Ken Paulson presents Stephen Stills with the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award.

Sometimes you just can’t suppress the fan in you.

I had the extraordinary opportunity to share the stage at the Ryman Auditorium with Richie Furay and present an award for free speech in music to Stephen Stills at the Americana Music Association Honors and Awards show Wednesday night. I had my First Amendment advocate hat on, but I couldn’t help but be excited about standing next to two members of Buffalo Springfield.

Why was Stills  honored? Here’s a succinct explanation, from my brief essay in the awards show program:

“For What It’s Worth” was not a protest song. Yes, the Stephen Stills composition was inspired by a confrontation between police and young people on the Sunset Strip, but his tone was one of observation, not outrage. “There’s somethin’ happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear” he sang on that early Buffalo Springfield hit. He even poked fun at the protesters who carried signs “most saying hurray for our side.”

Throughout his career, Stills has used his music to encourage us to look at our society and ourselves. His response to the world’s challenges has been reflective, not reflexive. As a member of one of America’s most political bands – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Stills often offered a measured counterpoint. Neil Young’s “Ohio” was a chilling indictment of the government that could shoot dead four students at Kent State University. The flip side of that single was “Find the Cost of Freedom,” a four-line Stills song about sacrifice and liberty. From the post-apocalyptic “Wooden Ships” to the cautionary “The Ecology Song” and the affirming “We Are Not Helpless,” Stills’s music has truly engaged us. Recent songs like “Feed the People” and “Wounded World” continue his tradition of topicality.

Stills has walked the talk. CSN&Y toured the country in 2006 with its Free Speech Tour, challenging its audiences with songs protesting the war in Iraq. Stills used the tour to campaign on behalf of candidates for Congress. “The most valuable resource that we have, that we are wasting, we are squandering, are those wonderful men and women who would be so noble as to put on a suit, endure basic training, pick up a weapon and stand a post in our defense,” he said in one campaign appearance captured in the “Free Speech Tour” documentary. Seven of the ten candidates that Stephen Stills campaigned for during the Freedom of Speech Tour won their elections.

180991119 350x245 Stephen Stills honored for free speech through music

Richie Furay hugs Stephen Stills while Ken Paulson looks on at the 2013 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards show.

The First Amendment Center and the Americana Music Association are pleased to honor Stephen Stills with the Spirit of Americana Freedom of Speech Award for his roles as singer, songwriter and citizen.

(Photos by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music Festival)



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Interview: Billy Bragg at Middle Tennessee State University

By Ken Paulson
We were pleased to host Billy Bragg at Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Mass Communication on Thursday, Sept. 19. Bragg was in Nashville to perform at the annual Americana Music Festival, and came to MTSU to be a part of the Tom T. Hall Lecture Series.
Bragg was also the inaugural speaker in series of programs co-presented by MTSU and the Americana Music Assocation.


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3-minute interview: Jim Lauderdale on Americana

lauderdale 350x303 3 minute interview: Jim Lauderdale on AmericanaJim Lauderdale has hosted the Americana Music Festival awards show for more than a decade and is one of the genre’s biggest boosters. His thoughts on the music and on his friend and collaborator Robert Hunter:

Follow Sun209: Americana Music News on Twitter @Sun209com.

Sun209 on Twitter: Americana Music Festival edition



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Middle Tennessee State University partners with Americana Music Association

NASHVILLE — This weekend’s Americana Music Festival and Conference marked the beginning of a unique educational partnership between the festival’s organizer, the Americana Music Association, and MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

The collaboration between MTSU and the association, based in Franklin, Tenn., will bring special learning opportunities to students pursuing careers in music, said Mass Communication Dean Ken Paulson.

Under the partnership, Paulson said, prominent artists will participate in special lectures at the university. Students also got to attend the Americana Music Festival and Conference, which ran this year from Wednesday to Sunday in Nashville, featured about 130 live performances at six music venues.

“We’re indebted to the Americana Music Association for its commitment to a new generation of recording industry and music professionals,” Paulson said. “It’s a great fit on so many levels.

“The Americana Music Association has energized an entire genre of music through fresh approaches and a collaborative spirit, just as our goal at MTSU is to provide an education in innovation.”

Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association, said the partnership is a logical extension of the association’s overall mission.

The association describes Americana as “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw.”

“Americana Music readily spans generations and we’re proud to establish this dynamic educational partnership with the students and faculty of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University,” Hilly said.

As part of the festival, Paulson on Wednesday presented the Spirit of Americana Freedom of Speech Award to artist Stephen Stills during the Honors & Awards Show at Ryman Auditorium. The award was given by the association and the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center.

The award spotlights and celebrates Stills’ contributions to some of the most thought-provoking and observational songs of the 60s and 70s, as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and beyond. Among them: “For What It’s Worth,” “Wooden Ships,” and “The Ecology Song.”

On Thursday, British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg was the inaugural guest speaker for the new Americana Music series at MTSU.

Bragg is best known for his topical songs over his 20-year recording career and for his collaboration with Wilco on “Mermaid Avenue,” a project that married unpublished lyrics by Woody Guthrie with new music.

Billy Bragg’s appearance at MTSU was a rare opportunity for our students to hear firsthand from an artist who has consistently made music with meaning, drawing on the day’s headlines for politically potent and thought-provoking songs,” Paulson said.

Bragg began his recording career in 1983. His 1986 “Talking With the Taxman About Poetry” was a Top 10 album in Great Britain.

Bragg’s MTSU appearance was also a part of the Tom T. Hall Lecture Series, which brings noted writers and authors to campus.

The Tom T. Hall Writers Series in the College of Mass Communication celebrates songwriters, authors, poets and screenwriters and offers students, faculty, staff and the public a chance to learn more about the creative process as well as the business end of success.

Previous Hall Writers Series guests have included country superstar Vince Gill, acclaimed songwriter John Hiatt, bluegrass impresario Ricky Skaggs and the Emmy-nominated creative team behind the HBO Films movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” which included MTSU alumnus and composer George S. Clinton.


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Interview: Chip Taylor on “Block Out the Sirens of This Lonely World”

By Ken Paulson

Chip Taylor regularly attends the Americana music Festival and it’s always great to catch up with him. He wrote classic pop songs like “Angel of the Morning,” “I Can’t Let Go” and Wild Thing” and then carved out a country career in the early ’70s  that was truly a precursor to what we now call Americana. Here’s Chip on his most recent work:


Interview: Kim Richey on “Thorn in my Heart”

kim richey 150x150 Interview: Kim Richey on Thorn in my HeartBy Ken Paulson
Kim Richey has been all over the Americana Music Festival and it’s been great to see her showcase her fine new album Thorn in My Heart. Here’s a quick interview on the new album and her return to Nashville:


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Interview: Randall Bramblett on “The Bright Spots”

bramblett 150x150 Interview: Randall Bramblett on The Bright SpotsSun209 - We caught up with Randall Bramblett at the Americana Music Festival. He played a great, but short set to open the evening at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville. Here’s Bramblett on his career and new album The Bright Spots:

Duos dominate Americana Music Awards

Americana Music News – Duos dominated at tonight’s Americana Music Association Honors and Awards show at the Ryman.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell won for album of the year for Old Yellow Moon, and were also  named top duo/group.

A younger pair – Shovels and Rope – was named emerging artist of the year, and also won the song of the year category for “Birmingham.”

Dwight Yoakam was named artist of the year in an evening that honored other music veterans in these categories:

Dr. John 350x262 Duos dominate Americana Music Awards

Dr. John with Don Was

Instrumentalist of the year:  Larry Campbell

Spirit of Americana  Free Speech in Music Award   Stephen Stills

Trailblazer Award:  Old Crow Medicine Show

Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist: Duane Eddy

Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive: Chris Strachwitz

Lifetime Achievement for Performance:  Dr. John

Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriter: Robert Hunter

President’s Award: Hank Williams

Follow Sun209 on Twitter at @sun209com.

Dr. John and Dan Auerbach at the Americana Music Festival

Dr. John and Dan Auerbach #americanafest. wow.

BUfLU9 CMAAHbpA 350x262 Dr. John and Dan Auerbach at the Americana Music Festival


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Richard Thompson playing “Good Things Happen to Bad People”

Richard Thompson @AmericanaFest good things…

BUfJNADCAAELIsm 350x262 Richard Thompson playing Good Things Happen to Bad People


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Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis ignite the Blasters’ “Border Radio”

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis ignite the Blasters’ “Border Radio,” #americanafest

BUfIV TCUAAGZLV 350x262  Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis ignite the Blasters Border Radio


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Americana Music Awards tickets on sale

links ama1 Americana Music Awards tickets on saleAmericana Music News – Tickets for the 2013 Americana Honors and Awards Show at the Ryman are now available.

Tickets to the Sept. 18 show , will be available online and at the Ryman box office, priced at $85 and $65.

The awards show,   a highlight of Nashville’s musical year, will be hosted once again by Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller will head up the always stellar house band.

You’ll find more information about the show and the Americana Music Festival and Conference  at

Follow Sun209 on Twitter @sun209com.




Americana Music Festival artists announced

links ama1 Americana Music Festival artists announcedAmericana Music News - There’s an impressive line-up of artists booked for the  2013 Americana Music Association Festival and Conference set for Nashville Sept. 18-22.

The current list of performers:

Alanna Royale
Amanda Shires
American Aquarium
Amy Speace
Andrew Combs
Andrew Leahey & the Homestead
Aoife O’Donovan
Ashley Monroe
Austin Lucas
Band of Heathens
Bear’s Den
Ben Miller Band
Bhi Bhiman
Billy Bragg
Black Prairie
Bobby Rush
Brian Wright
Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
Chelsea Cromwell
Claire Lynch
Daniel Romano
Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
Dash Rip Rock
David Bromberg
Delbert McClinton
Della Mae
Donna the Buffalo
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Elephant Revival
Farewell Drifters
Field Report
Frank Fairfield
Hillbilly Killers
Holly Williams
Howe Gelb
Howlin’ Brothers
Hurray for the Riff Raff
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
JD McPherson
Joe Fletcher & the Wrong   Reasons
Joe Nolan
John Fullbright
Jonny Fritz
Josh Rouse
Joy Kills Sorrow
Judah & the Lion
Justin Townes Earle
Kim Richey
Kruger Brothers
Laura Cantrell
Lera Lynn
Lindi Ortega
Lisa Marie Presley
Luella & the Sun
Mandolin Orange
Matt Mays
Max Gomez
McCrary Sisters
Melody Pool
Mustered Courage
My Darling Clementine
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
Nikki Lane
Noah Gunderson
Nora Jane Struthers
North Mississippi Allstars
NQ Arbuckle
Old Man Luedecke
Over The Rhine
Parker Millsap
Patrick Sweany
Paul Kelly
Peter Bruntnell
Phil Madeira
Pokey LaFarge
Randall Bramlett
Rayland Baxter
Richard Thompson
Rosanne Cash
Rose Cousins
Sam Doores, Riley Downing &   the Tumbleweeds
Samantha Crain
Shakey Graves
Shannon McNally
Shooter Jennings
Sons of Fathers
Spirit Family Reunion
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Steep Canyon Rangers
Stewart Mann & the Statesboro   Revue
Sturgill Simpson
Susan Cowsill
The Bushwackers
The Del-Lords
The Devil Makes Three
The Greencards
The Infamous Stringdusters
The Lone Bellow
The Lost Brothers
The Stray Birds
The Westbound Rangers
The White Buffalo
The Wood Brothers
Tim Easton
Tommy Malone
Treetop Flyers
Two Man Gentleman Band
Uncle Lucius
Water Liars
Wheeler Brothers
Willie Sugarcapps
Willy Mason


Americana music showcased in Brite video series

honey 150x150 Americana music showcased in Brite video seriesAmericana Music News – As we count down to the Nov. 10 national broadcast of the Americana Music Festival Award show, you’ll want to check out a cool series of videos produced by Brite Revolution during the festival in Nashville.
Here’s the kick-off video featuring honeyhoney:

Follow Sun209:Americana Music Journal News at @sun209com.


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