Add this to your awesome festivals to attend list! The annul MusicFest (now approaching its 25th year) features some of the finest Americana and roots music to the world-class ski resort of Steamboat, Colorado for 6 days (January 4-11th) of snowy fun. Performers already booked for the next MusicFest are: Robert Earl Keen, Randy Rogers Band, Band of Heathens, Reckless Kelly, Charlie Robison, Kevin Welch, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Lee Ann Womack, Jamie Wilson, Todd Snider, Jason Eady and The Wayward Apostles, Billy Joe Shaver, Matt Skinner, Jack Ingram, Dean Dillion, Bonnie Bishop, Chris Knight, Walt Wilkins, Midnight River Choir, Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights, Kevin Fowler, Modern Day Drifters, Hayes Carll, Ben Smith, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, Josh Abbott, Cory Morrow, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Trishas, Wade Bowen, The Doug Moreland Show, Stoney LaRue, Tina Wilkins, Roger Creager, Lucas Hubbard, Sean McConnell, Johnny and The Footlights…and more on the way!
I’m baaaack. So if you’ve been keeping up with my tweets, or just reading the news, you know the 10th Annual Americana Association Conference and Festival in Nashville last week was quite a shin-dig. I missed goodBBQ and that laid-back Southern charm and although the conference attendance seemed to be down a bit (well, a lot actually), if my Shiner fogged memory serves me, the showcases were better than ever.
There were a number of memorable nuggets that I wanted to quickly share. For one thing, there must be an aging painting in Jim Lauderdale’s attic becuase the man that is ubiquitous not only at the AMA event but in Americana music in general, still beams with youthful charm.
The performance that made my biggest impression was a serendipitous discovery. A friend’s showcase Friday afternoon at BB Kings brought Dallas’ Somebody’s Darlng to my radar. I should be ashamed of not knowing about them earlier since they hail from my home town and they rocked my ass with a their roots-rock soul sound.
Then there was the two great guitar pulls. The Douglas Corner Cafe featured The Americana Renegades Show with excellent performance by Irene Kelley, Roger Saloom, Joe Whyte and Stoll Vaughan. The club was like a Blue Bird Cafe II with a reverent and attentive audience. Then I lucked into getting out of the rain and a long line at the Station Inn to see Nanci Griffith, Mary Gauthier & Elizabeth Cook in their own audience hushing performance was a great treat.
Seeing Bearfoot do their short set at the Compass records’ notorious Hillbilly Central open house was also a nice surprise. I was not familiar with this newgrass band but they held the packed audience in spellbound attention with their performance and did musch less cocaine than the former Hillbilly Central residents.
There was the spellbinding rustic winsomeness of Amanda Shires. The leather-tough gold-hearted girl – Angela Easterling (w. Will Kimbrough), and the omnipresence of Austin Texas with The Gourds, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Asleep at the Wheel, Reckless Kelly, Radney Foster and Charlie Robison.
Then there was standing near the stage to behold the wonder that is John Fogerty (along with Buddy Miller) at his semi-secret show at the Cannery. Wow…wow…
It was old-school alt-country at the closing night at the Basement with the ex-singer of Nashville super group BR549, Chuck Mead, and the only band that rivals the Drive By Truckers for a live performance, the Bottle Rockets, sending the whole thing off to a booming, bitter-sweet end.
Then there were the artists, radio, writers, fellow bloggers and general soldiers that, like myself, champion this music each and every day out of love more than riches (Ha!)
You can’t be everywhere all the time, and the four performance spaces for the AMA festival are a considerable distance from each other, so there are tough choices to be made and many show I wish I could have attended. But with a little logistics and a dash of serendipitous happenstance this trip to Nashville was a great party with wonderful memories (from what I can remember!)
- The line-up for Cross Canadian Ragweed’s 4th Annual Red Dirt Roundup has been announce, and the roster is filled with names that make any Texas music lover proud – CCR, Charlie Robison, Robert Earl Keen, Johnny Cooper, The Gourds as well as the alt rock of The Wallflowers. The festival will be held on two stages at the Historic Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday, Sept. 6. on the former cattle pens – the “North Forty” fields just east of Billy Bob’s Texas. Check the Red Dirt Roundup site for ticket and time information.
- CMT Blog’s Whitney Self revisits Jessi Colter’s Out of the Ashes.
- The Americana Music Association conference is right around the corner (Sept 16-19) and it’s shaping up tto be a great one. Amy Speace is the newest addition to the already excellent roster (The Station Inn – Sept 16 @ 10 PM) You can nor keep up with the AMA on twitter for up to the minute information about the Festival and Conference, including ticket giveaways and behind the scenes info. If you’re going drop me a line!
- Southern-rock stalwarts the Kentucky Headhunters will release The Kentucky Headhunters Live/Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, Ohio – May 13, 1990 (Mercury/UMe) on on September 22, 2009, the 20th anniversary of 1989 debut album, Pickin’ On Nashville.
- Willie Nelson premiered his new video covering Tom T. Hall’s Shoeshine Man (below) The song is not on his upcoming covers album American Classics so I have no idea whay he made this video, but he seems to be having a ball. The Texas Yoda has taken a page from the DIY codger goofing around in front of a video camera recently used by Neil Young for his video Fork in the Road.
- The Americana Music Association announced the lineup for its 2009 festival, Sept. 16-19 at around several of Nashville’s best venues – The Mercy Lounge, The Cannery Ballroom, 3rd & Lindsley, The Station Inn and The Basement. On the roster is Cross Canadian Ragweed, Angela Easterling, Asleep at the Wheel, The Bottle Rockets, Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Joe Pug, Charlie Robison, Marty Stuart, Patrick Sweany, Those Darlins and many more.
- Popmatters.com has posted an mp3 for Chain, a cut off Vic Chesnutt’s upcoming release At the Cut (Constellation) to be released 22 September (US)
- Randy Travis, Martina McBride and Ray Price join an International line-up of over 60 International, UK and Irish acts performing on three separate stages at the UTV CountryFest ’09 August 1st – 2nd at the Kings Hall in Belfast.
- Charlottesville, VA’s 6 Day Bender has embarked on their Spring/Summer East Coast tour, They are stopping by two of my favorite clubs in the New York area – Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn and Arlene’s Grocery in New York City. Go support this fine band!
- MerleFest 2009, scheduled for April 23-26 on the campus of Wilkes Community College, will once again host the MerleFest Mandolin Contest, the Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Championship and the Doc Watson Guitar Championship on the first two days of the festival in Alumni Hall. These contests offer aspiring pickers some time in the spotlight to be heard by the wildly appreciative audiences at the festival, along with a chance to compete for prizes.
- Speaking of festivals Twangfest 13 will be held June 10-13, 2009 in St. Louis: Woot!” Saint LouisOUIS, MO curretlty have conformation for Big Sandy & the Fly-Rite Boys, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles, Bruce Robison and Eilen Jewell with more on the way. Check thier website for more news.
- The 11th Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival July 31-August 2 just outside Portland, OR. will feature Blitzen Trapper, The Sadies, Dale Watson, The Hackensaw Boys, Justin Townes Earle, Elliott Brood, Joe Pug and many other great acts.
- The the 6th annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival June 4th – 7th at the Mulberry Mountain in Ozark AR. will feature the Yonder Mountain String Band, Split Lip Rayfield, Lucero, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Blue Mountain, Cross Canadian Ragweed and many more.
- And though not strictly a roots music festival San Francisco’s second Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival will feature Band of Horses, Bettye LaVette, the Heartless Bastards, Ryan Bingham and Tom Jones (?!)
No Depression’s Lloyd Sachs looks for reasons for Americana/Roots leaning folks to tune into the Grammy Awards on February 9. Maybe it’s reasons not to tune in…either way it’s pretty darn funny.
On February 2nd Country music legend Dolly Parton will play a charity show at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon to benefit the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School. Other Sony BMG artists will also perform – Ronnie Dunn, Kellie Pickler and Keith Anderson. Tickets are only $45 for this general admission event. (via Music City TV)
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville is partnering with Ford Motor Company Fund for the second consecutive year to offer free admission to the Hall on Saturday, Jan. 24. (via Country Weekly)
Pitchform.com‘s Stephen M. Deusner really, really does not like the newly released Johnny Cash Remixed.
- The Americana Music Association has released an initial list of arists that will be playing around Nashville during their music festival and conferencethis September 17-20 2008. Some of the performers will be: Jim Lauderdale, Mike Farris, Kane Welch Kaplin, The everybodyfields, The SteelDrivers, Tift Merritt, Jason & the Scorchers, Joe Ely, Malcolm Holcombe, Rosie Flores, Band of Heathens, Laura Cantrell, Cross Canadian Ragweed, James McMurtry, Jason Isbell and much much more.
- The drop date for Chris knight’s new album, Heart of Stone, has been pushed back to September 2nd due to “production issues.” Guest musicians on Heart of Stone include Mike McAdam (Steve Earle, Radney Foster) on various guitars, Keith Christopher (Georgia Satellites, The Yayhoos) on bass, Tammy Rodgers (The SteelDrivers) fiddle and vocals, mandolin and banjo, and Michael Webb (The Wreckers, Allison Moorer) on B-3 organ, piano and accordion. Producer Dan Baird also contributes on guitar and vocals. Knight says of Heart of Stone “It might just be my best. For some reason, there’s a cohesiveness here that’s not like anything I’ve done before. But at the same time, it’s not real predictable. There’s a lot of texture to it as well, but it’s a simple record. I don’t know how that happened. But I know it when I hear it.”
- The documentary “Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music” will air on PBS stations tomorrow night. The film is directed by Robert Elfstrom and is a “cinema vérité look at Cash.” PBS produced the documentary almost 40 years ago (!) Robert Elfstrom also takes some time to answer some questions for the the Tennessean (via the 9513)
- Dallasnews.com has a nice write up on the grand dame of Country Music, Loretta Lynn’s sold out show last Saturday at Ft. Worth’s Bass Hall. The night before Lo-retty had played Stubb’s in Austin’s (latter part via the 9513)
- The New York Times covered the Alison Krauss and Robert Plant show at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. I was at this fantastic show and my review is forthcoming (I swear! Really!)
- Jonathan Yardley at the Washington Post reviews Dana Jennings’ book about country music and his hard scrabble upbringing in rural New Hampshire “Sing Me Home.” I have read this excellent book and my review is forthcoming (I swear! Really!)
demand to be heard with the same open-mindedness and enthusiasm as Lambert.”
- Barnes&Noble.com has posted a video of “One on One with Emmylou Harris”, recorded live at their Union Square store in New York. Emmylou talks about her new release “All I Intended To Be” and performs her songs off the album “Gold,” “Not Enough,” written about her dog Bonaparte after he dies, and “How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower” which was written after seeing a PBS documentary on the Carter Family. She also tells a great story about how her babysitter was the conduit for her and Gram Parsons to meet.
- Willie Nelson and Carl Cornelius are ready to take the wrapping off the new 30,000-square foot renovation off of the renovation of Carl’s Corner truck stop, the one with the old Tango nightclub giant musician frogs on the roof.
The new space is now christened “Willie’s Place,” and will includes a honky tonk, restaurant, a poker room and trucker amenities, with a concert July 3. “Willie’s Place” is on IH-35 about 40 miles north of Waco “Willie’s Place at Carl’s Corner” will also process and sell biodeisel fuel.
- Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman Cody Canada draws a line in the Red Dirt between their sound and pop country: “It just keeps getting more pop and more pop. We’re only in our 30s, but we’re kind of old-school, old-fashioned when it comes to country music. If it’s called ‘country music,’ it ought to sound like country music.”
- And last but not least, Twang Nation HQ will be pulling up stakes from beautiful, balmy New York City for new digs in San Francisco, CA. on July 15th (with a long stretch in the homeland, Texas, in between.