This just in: 2013 Americana Honors and Awards Nominees

AMAThe Americana Music Association has just announced the 2013 Americana Honors and Award Nominations, with a particularly impressive set of nominations for Shovels & Rope. The awards will be presented Sept. 18 at the Ryman Auditorium as part of the Americana Music Festival in Nashville.

The nominees:

Buddy & Jim, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
Cheater’s Game, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison
From The Ground Up, John Fullbright
O’ Be Joyful, Shovels & Rope
Old Yellow Moon, Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell

Birmingham – Shovels & Rope
Good Things Happen to Bad People – Richard Thompson
Ho Hey – The Lumineers
North Side Gal – JD McPherson

Buddy Miller
Dwight Yoakam
Emmylou Harris
Richard Thompson

JD McPherson
John Fullbright
Milk Carton Kids
Shovels & Rope


Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison

Shovels & Rope


Doug Lancio
Larry Campbell
Greg Leisz
Jay Bellerose
Mike Bub

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Glen Campbell’s return to the Ryman

We reported here about Glen Campbell’s November 30 show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, but a return performance on Dec. 5 was postponed due to illness.
Campbell made up that date this week.
Here’s what Dave Paulson of the Tennessean said about the show:

“Little appeared to be impeding his performance Tuesday night. Teleprompters set up at the edge of the stage were glanced at for lyrical cues – almost a necessity for anyone tackling the songs of wordy popsmith Jimmy Webb – but Campbell remained in fine voice and proved to still be a staggeringly sharp and fluid guitarist, wowing the crowd early on with an explosive solo on “Gentle” and muscular melodic licks on his classic “Galveston.””

Read the Tennesean’s full review here.

Concert review: Glen Campbell at the Ryman in Nashville

It was a sad and exhilarating evening at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville tonight.

It’s wasn’t sad because Glen Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s or that his performance was part of his “Goodbye Tour.” He’s 75 and ailments strike us all.

It was sad because this is the last tour of one of America’s great pop singers, interpreters and guitarists, and it’s not realistic to expect anyone else to ever perform the work of Jimmy Webb with as much passion and joy.

Campbell had some challenges tonight, forgetting the lyrics to set opener “Gentle on My Mind” when a prompter malfunctioned and stumbling through some stage patter. But his guitar
playing was solid, and his solo on “Wichita Lineman” was stirring.

In full stride, singing the songs that dominated America’s pop and country charts from 1967 through 1977,he was impressive. He played his biggest hits, including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston,” but also lesser and still memorable hits, notably “Where’s The Playground Susie?” and “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.” Haunting and beautiful stuff.

It was inspiring to see Campbell pepper the show with tracks from his outstanding final album Ghost on the Canvas. He’s been an artist all his life and he’s going to leave the stage playing new songs. That’s what artists – as opposed to oldies acts – do.

The Moody Blues and Nashville

Tickets for the Moody Blues’ March 21 date at the Ryman Auditorium
in Nashville go on sale this Friday, Dec. 2.

The band that got its start with the 1964 hit “Go Now” still has
three long-time members, Graeme Edge, John Lodge and Justin Hayward, and puts on a good live show that spans more than four decades of music

What’s most surprising, though, is the band’s clear affinity for
Nashville and its music, and vice-versa. That’s clear on Moody Bluegrass Two… Much Love, the second album of Moody Blues songs recorded by some of  bluegrass music’s biggest names.  And a bonus for long-time Moody Blues fans is the participation of Hayward, Lodge, Edge and former band members Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas.

The material is not quite as familiar as on the first record, but it’s a nice mix of later hits and favorite album tracks.  Highlights  include Vince Gill on “ I Know You’re Out There,” Ricky Skaggs’ “You and Me,” Jan Harvey’s “Say It With Love” and Sam Bush,  John Cowan and Russell Smith’s take on “Nice to Be Here.”

This was a terrific concept the first time and it’s nice to see it revisited in such a compelling way. It’s also a reminder of just how pastoral and softly melodic the Moody Blues could be.

Americana Mojo: Bottle Rockets, Kenny Vaughan, Luther Dickinson

Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets (Ken Paulson photo)

One of the least heralded Americana Music Festival events was also one of the coolest.

This afternoon, SiriusXM recorded a Mojo Nixon show in Nashville, with live performances from the Bottle Rockets, Kenny Vaughan and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars.

Mojo was his usual crude self, and the performers delivered impeccable mini-sets, dialed down to a studio seating just a few dozen people.

It was an inspirational setting with a picture window view of the Ryman Auditorium appearing just over the performers’ shoulders.

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