Americana shows vigor with festival, awards

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The Dirt Daubers were one of several performers at this year’s AMA music festival.
This year has been one of anniversaries in the mid-state music scene, so it is appropriate for the Americana Music Association’s festival and awards to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year as well.

Jumpstarting across several music venues Wednesday in Nashville, the festival will extend throughout the weekend until Saturday, exemplifying why the Americana genre is one that acts as one big happy family and is also vital to music as a whole.

Strengthening this family vibe is The Dirt Daubers who performed at this year’s festival and recently released a jangly mix of traditional and jazzy tunes on their latest album Wake Up Sinners.

Two-thirds of the group is comprised by the husband and wife team of J.D. and Jessica Wilkes, who shared a portion of the group’s story in a recent interview.

J.D and Jessica had similar interests as they met in Chicago and he would teach her chords and simple songs as they got their start.

“He tricked me into it, but it was a good trick,” Wilkes said.

“It’s pretty fun. We get along well. We tour in our car so we can be laid back, joke around and eat candy,” Wilkes noted in reference to the aspect of playing music with her husband.

Starting just a few short years ago, the group played its first show in 2008 at Londons’ Raindance Film Festival where the Daubers gained attention from Primus leader and newly acquired fan Les Claypool. After its show, Claypool greeted the band with a nod of much approval and handshakes abound.

“It was great at our first show. I got to meet Les Claypool of all people,” Wilkes said.

The Dirt Daubers, like others such as The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons and other contemporary acts, show the genre and time-honored music is alive and well as they play traditional instruments but play them in a way that is relevant and agreeable to all.

“We bring a modern edge. Our music appeals to all ages,” Wilkes said.

“It also shows there’s hope that we can still make a living.”

After the band’s stop at the festival, The Dirt Daubers will hit the road once again with fellow Americana artist Pokey LaFarge.

Like LaFarge and The Dirt Daubers, there are several new and emerging artists who carry the torch for roots music – such as Hayes Carll, The Civil Wars or East Tennessee’s The Black Lillies.

In the same way, the Americana Music Association doesn’t let these artists go unnoticed, they still pay reverence to the ones who paved the way such as Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm, John Mellencamp or an era of music like the Muscle Shoals sound.

Others who will showcase the spirit of Americana throughout this year’s festival with performances include the reunited Jayhawks, Foster and Lloyd, Marty Stuart, Blind Boys of Alabama, Keb Mo, North Mississippi Allstars, Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller and James McMurtry, among many others.

With an artist lineup of this caliber and one that extends to more than 100 acts total, the festival demonstrates the Americana genre’s liveliness and character found within its story and collective artists.  

Tickets to the showcases are still available. Visit for more information.
Tagged under  Americana Fest, Concert, Music

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