Americana Honors Prince

Dixie Chicks - 'Nothing Compares 2 U'

“A strong spirit transcends rules.” Prince

Prince not only appeared to transcended mortality he transcended genre. So it’s not surprising that songwriters and musicians across styles took his sudden death as a call to perform reverent Prince covers to fill the void.

Roots music is no different. Though his music superficially differed from Americana and country music they saw in Prince a prolific songwriters and accomplished musician who’s entire being was defined by his art. Prince created music just as readily as the music created him. They were indistinguishable from each other.

Below I’ve collected a few live tributes in the aftermath as well as Cory Branan and Lydia Loveless superb Record Store Day 2015 purple vinyl split 7″. All are wonderful and you can feel the bittersweet joy in remembrance.

Also a video of Prince doing a Stones classic, because it’s awesome.

Bruce Springsteen – ‘Purple Rain’ – Multicam mix – Brooklyn – New York –

Chris Stapleton – ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA –

The Dixie Chicks – ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – Horsens Denmark –

Avett Brothers “Pretty Girl From Annapolis w/ When Doves Cry Interlude” Chicago Theatre –

Mumford & Sons – ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – St. Paul, MN –

Old Crow Medicine Show w/ Margo Price – Purple Rain – Huntsville, AL –

Cory Branan – “Under the Cherry Moon” –

Lydia Loveless – “I Would Die 4 U” –

Prince – “Honky Tonk Woman” –

Newport Folk Festival Videos – Black Prairie, Avett Brothers, Shovels and Rope. Beck

Newport Folk Festival

I’ve never made it to the just-passed historic Newport Folk Festival (where Dylan went electric in 1965) but I hope i do so next year. One of the oldest festivals in America it was founded in 1959 by George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival and over it’s history has featured some of the greatest live performances by folk, blues, country, bluegrass and folk rock legends.

The Newport Folk Festival might have “folk” in it’s title but it looks to me like it was “Americana” before Americana was cool, or even a word associated to a musical genre.

I’m not a fan of the sweaty-body packed sampler-mix of festivals, but the Newport Folk Festival is a different beast. It offers consistently excellent performances played to an audience that is there for music rather than spectacle. I can endure the occasional sweaty festival-goer for this level of excellence.

I found a few videos of the 2013 festival’s performances to whet my appetite. I share some of the better ones with you below. Enjoy!

Father John Misty

Black Prairie (Decemberists) perform Jump up Jon

Avett Brothers

Sarah Jarosz

Shovels and Rope

JD McPherson

The Lone Bellow


News Round Up: Kanye and Swift Give MTV Some Press

  • Scottish-Canadian country singer Johnny Reid was in the running for six awards, including Album of the Year for his latest release Dance With Me.The singer took home five trophies including Album, Songwriter, Video and Male Artist of the Year from the Canadian Country Music Awards. Dean Brody won Single of the Year for Brothers, Crystal Shawanda won Female Artist of the Year and Corb Lund won Roots Artist or Group of the Year
  • Son Volt’s Jay Farrar & Death Cab for Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard are set to perform four special concerts to support their collaberation on the album One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur.  Other surprise material will be performed at four concerts in October, underscoring the influential author’s enduring legacy 40 years after his death on October 21, 1969. The band features Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, Postal Service), Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie), Mark Spencer (Son Volt) and Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Bob Mould, The Mountain Goats).

Tour dates:
10/23 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA (on sale 9/16)
10/24 – Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco, CA (on sale 9/16)
10/26 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL (on sale 9/25)
10/28 – Webster Hall – New York, NY (on sale 9/1Cool

  • has a nice feature on the Avett Brothers and their upcoming major label debut I and Love and You.
  • After fuming with the multitudes on twitter about the whole Kanye West / Taylor Swift Female Video of the Year diss dust-up at the MTV Awards, I’m convinced the whole thing was staged for media controversy. Kanye seems to be willing to do this every time he needs ink. He shot his mouth off at the the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards in Denmark, when Touch The Sky lost out to Justice Vs Simian’s We Are Your Friends, Swift  has a repackaged Fearless coming out soon and more press couldn’t hurt, and MTV  gets press (and tweets) from any controversy. Remember the infamous 2003 Madonna/Britney Spears kiss?
  • Happy birthday to Bill Monroe is (98)!
  • Starting tomorrow I will be posting intermittently from the Americana Music Association conference and festival in Nashville. For more constant (and dubiously sober) posts check out my twitter profile.
Roots Artist or Group of the Year