Rising Oklahoma artist, John Fullbright, performed at the honors ceremony and showcase.
The progression of the Americana Music Association and its honors and awards ceremony and music showcases has been one of grand significance over the past few years not only to the Nashville music community but also beyond.
It’s not an uncommon sight to run into people from other states that are in town for the weekend celebration. In the same regard, it’s not uncommon to find people who have crossed the great pond from London or other countries who visit Music City in search of Americana. There aren’t many limitations to its prominence and the honorees seem to be well within the rights while showcases appear to grow not only in artist count but in distinction as well.
Beginning on Sept. 18 and running through Sept. 22, the annual festivities began with an awards show at the Ryman Auditorium, which saw duos such as Shovels and Rope along with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell take home awards in multiple categories.
The show has grown into an annual rite of passage for the Americana tried and true. It is something where you’ve come to expect familiar faces such as Jim Lauderdale as host and Buddy Miller and his all-star house band year after year.
This year was no exception to the rule as both were back in full swing and lead the charge on a night that boasted performances from noted Grateful Dead writer, Robert Hunter, who performed the American Beauty classic “Ripple” and NOLA legend Dr. John who strode through “I Walk On Guilded Splinters.”
The night featured a mix of performances and awards but as always relied heavily on the performances to drive it, as it should. Other winners for the night included Dwight Yoakam and Larry Campbell.
On the performance scale, kudos went to Holly Williams who paid tribute to her grandfather Hank Williams Sr. with “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” When looking around the mother church, it looked as if there were a few teary faces along with people reflecting back to the day when Hank graced the stage.
Other performers included the newly inducted Grand Ole Opry members Old Crow Medicine Show, Duane Eddy and Stephen Stills who performed “For What It’s Worth” with the help of Richard Furay and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
As the night came to a close at the Ryman, it signaled the start of a weekend that would host over 130 acts, the largest the festival has seen to date.
Wednesday’s performances included names such as JD McPherson, The Band of Heathens, Black Prairie and Pokey LaFarge.
Thursday saw many acts heat up such as North Mississippi Allstars, John Fullbright, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale and many others at the Cannery Ballroom while a New Orleans themed party was taking place simultaneously at The Rutledge with Tommy Malone of The Subdudes, Jon Cleary and Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
As Jim Lauderdale has always said, “Now that’s Americana.”
When you see artists like Roseanne Cash, Billy Bragg, Richard Thompson, The Wood Brothers and Steep Canyon Rangers all at the same venue, it can prove to be tough when making choices but it can all be managed somehow. Like most festivals, you simply have to pick and choose, and then hear about what you missed later in the news or from a friend.
Music resonated through The Basement, Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, High Watt, Station Inn, The Rutledge, Centennial Park and 3rd and Lindsley all weekend and culminated with a performance from Lucinda Williams on Sunday night.
With the packed roster of talent and all other intangibles surrounding it, the weekend had no chance of leaving anything behind for the Americana fan.
For more information on the Americana Music Association, visit americanamusic.org.