10 Upcoming Bands To Catch At AmericanaFest 2013

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Every time I head across this great nation to Music City to attend the always enjoyable Americana Music Association Festival, Conference and Awards Ceremony (whew!) i always come home with great memories.

Most of those memories concern showcase bands and performers I hadn’t I hadn’t planned on seeing, Some where bands that were not part of the official showcase but were caught off the official badge accessible path.

Though there is no knowing the unknowable, but here are some ands that might not be at the top of AmericanaFest goers list. But they should be.

1. The Lone Bellow – The next wave of Pop-Americana raises that car on harmony and musicianship.

2. JD McPherson – The buzz is heavy around this Oklahoma native (seriously Oklahoma? Wasn’t John Fullbright enough excellence) digs into rocks past and delivers it fresh and hot.

3. St. Paul and The Broken Bones – Birmingham-based band St. Paul and the Broken Bones performs a review of neo-soul sure to please.

4. Dugas – Speaking of soul, Winnipeg, Canadaian siblings Sarah & Christian Dugas brings it with a Southern flair.

5. Matrimony – ‬Lovely melodies and ‪Ashlee Hardee Brown‬’s impassioned vocals makes Charlotte, North Carolina-based Matrimony a must-see.

6. Hurray for the Riff Raff – Maybe less under the radar, but never-the-less a well-known favorite at Casa Twang. New Orleans-based singer/somgwriter Alynda Lee Segarra and her revolving collective, known as Hurray for the Riff Raff, packs houses wherever they play.

7. NQ Arbuckle – Since 2002 Toronto-based NQ Arbuckle has been making their brand of whip smart and hart felt alt.country.

8. Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers -Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Nicki Bluhm has pipes that got her invited to perform with the Chris Robinson, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, Grace Potter, The Avett Brothers. Her crackerjack band since 2003 8, The Gramblers, lay down just the right amount of heat.

9. Willie Sugarcapps – Of the handfull of Americana Music supergroups taht have come about Willie Sugarcapps is one of the most super. The star-studded band features Will Kimbrough, Sugarcane Jane, Grayson Capps and Corky Hughes melding together thier considerable talents.

10. Parker Millsap – Purcell, OK (Oklahoma!) native Parker Millsap is what you might call a troubadour. His excellent song-craft, expressive and gritty vocals front one hell of aa great band.

Music Review: Grayson Capps – The Lost Cause Minstrels [Royal Potato Family]

On his 5th studio album Grayson Capps engages a new band, The Lost Cause Minstrels, consisting mostly of former members of the now defunct Mobile, Alabama band Kung Fu Mama – Guitarist Corky Hughes, keyboardist Chris Spies, drummer John Milham and bassist Christian Grizzard  – captures the greatness of classic rock, country as well as folk, blues and Dixieland resulting in a blend of great Americana music.

The main protagonist in The Lost Cause Minstrels is the asphalt ribbon, both as a means of escape and as a means anguish. Sometimes, as in the country rock ramble Highway 42, both in the same song to Tao-like results “Let go of the future, let go of the past, put gasoline on the present, and have yourself a blast.”

Other characters emerge on the travels. Capp’s aging rocker rasp, reminiscent of Shooter Jennings, opens the album with Coconut Moonshine is a Jazzy Cab Calloway-style tale of the character Mr. Jim who dispenses tropical bootleg hooch from his Ocean Springs, Mississippi barbecue joint. Taj Mahal’s country shuffle Annie’s Lover gets a loving rendition of palatial proportions and features a bit of hillbilly scat for good measure.

Capps reflects both his Alabama birth and, until recently, New Orleans residence in a horn and drum fueled Dixieland romp on Ol’ Slac. the name derives from the fictional character created by Joseph Stillwell Cain, Jr. (Joe Cain. in the song) Chickasaw Chief Slacabamorinico. Cain was a Confederate veteran that revived the tradition of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama after it was halted by the occupying Union Army. Cain and six other Confederate veterans paraded in a decorated coal wagon playing drums and horns were dubbed The Lost Cause Minstrels.

The road takes it’s own toll in Rock N Roll, a Turn the Page-like lament of empty gas tanks, full whiskey glasses and long nights and Yes You Are has an aging, battle-worn musician confessing the futility of his chosen career to his lover who tenderly assures and  and encourages from afar.

A couple of classic-rock styled torchers pick things up as  No Definitions (in which the title defines the album overall) highlights guitarist Corky Hughes chops and manages to sound new and channel Hendrix’s Foxy Lady. John the Daggar rocks by digging out the blues is a retelling of the John Lee Hooker crossroads fable.

The albums taunt sound is a credit to Capps, who co-produced the effort with his longtime partner and Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Trina Shoemaker (Queens of the Stone Age, Dylan Leblanc, Sheryl Crow). Capps has taken on a considerable undertaking of styles and personal, heartfelt confession and made it into a great album.

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