Billy Bragg at Grimey’s

.@billybragg at @Grimeys at @AmericanaFest



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3-minute interview: Jim Lauderdale on Americana

lauderdaleJim 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 richeyBy 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:

Interview: Randall Bramblett on “The Bright Spots”

bramblettSun209 – 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:

Ben Miller Band at Americana Music Festival

Ben Miller Band @AmericanaFest @newwestrecords showcase in Nashville



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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 with Don Was

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.



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