Americana Conference Wrap Up

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!)


Plant and Krauss Back In The Studio

  • Country Standard Time and Rolling Stone posts that Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are back in the studio with T Bone Burnett working on the follow-up to their platinum-selling, five Grammy winning album Raising Sand.
  • Iron & Wine (aka Sam Beam) is readying Around the Well (due May 19 from Sub Pop) a compilation 23 rare and previously unreleased tracks. The double-disc set will be supported by a short May tour. For this tour, the group is asking fans to help shape the set lists through voting on Live recordings will be available shortly after each gig at Meanwhile, Iron & Wine is hard at work on its next studio album, due in early 2010. (Billboard)
  • The Americana Music Association announces more artists have been added to the line-up for its “Live at The Bluebird Cafe” concert series.  On February 19, beautifully rich voice of Stephanie Chapman will join Jim Lauderdale.  The Sam Bush Band will take the stage on February 26. Nanci Griffith will perform in-the-round on March 5 with critically acclaimed artists Mary Gauthier and Elizabeth Cook. Award-winning, multi-talented songwriter Darrell Scott will headline on March 12. Foster & Lloyd close the series on March 26.

Gurf Morlix Last Exit to Happyland

Austin Texas based roots musician, Gurf Morlix, is finishing up his new release Last Exit To Happyland. A noted producer of the Americana elite (Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Slaid Cleaves, Mary Gauthier, and Robert Earl Keen, Tom Russell, Blaze Foley, Ian McLagan, and the Hot Club of Cowtown),  delivers some great new songs. Backed by the mighty Rick Richards on drums, and with vocal support from Patty Griffin, Ruthie Foster and Barkara K, he explores the territory where folk and blues and country intersect, a place he likes to call “The Muddy”. Last Exit To Happyland will be released on Rootball Records on February 17th, and marks his evolution from sideman (Lucinda Williams’ band leader for 11 years) and producer to world class singer-songwriter in the spotlight.

New York Concert Calender Part Deux

I posted the overlooked a couple of doozies from the fall music calender.

Mary Gauthier with John Henry  9/20/2007    Blender Theatre at Gramercy   New York, NY

Ryan Adams                 10/31/2007    Hammerstein Ballroom        New York, NY

Mary Gauthier New Release 9/18 – Tour Information

On September 18, Lost Highway will release Between Daylight And Dark, the new album from critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier, of whom Entertainment Weekly says, “The beauty of Gauthier’s country noir lies in the humanity of her characters, and in the sweet yearning of her gruff Louisiana drawl.”

Between Daylight And Dark is Gauthier’s fifth album and the follow up to her 2005 breakthrough Mercy Now, which garnered high praise in the media. Gauthier was named 2005 New Emerging of the Year Artist by the Americana Music Association.

Gauthier’s continuing evolution as a songwriter is evident throughout the 10 songs that comprise Between Daylight And Dark. “I’ve matured – and my writing has matured,” she says, “Mercy Now was as close as I’d ever come to capturing the voices in my head and bringing them to life, but with these new songs, while I still insert myself into each one, they have become much less autobiographical and more observational.”

Between Daylight And Dark was cut live, with minimal overdubs, and produced by Joe Henry. The album features guest appearances by Van Dyke Parks (piano on “Can’t Find The Way”) and Loudon Wainwright (backing vocals on “Soft Place To Land” and “I Ain’t Leaving”).

Mary Gauthier Tour Dates:

9/7/2007    CT Folk Festival and Green Expo     New Haven, CT
9/12/2007    St. John’s United Church         Halifax, NS, Canada
9/13/2007    Deep Roots Festival Venues         Wolfville, NS, Canada
9/15/2007    Longhorn Ballroom             Dallas, TX
9/20/2007    Blender Theatre at Gramercy         New York, NY
(Special Show Co-Headlining with Joe Henry)
10/6/2007    The Pleasance                 Edinburgh, United Kingdom
10/8/2007    Glee Club                 Birmingham, UK
10/9/2007     The Cluny                 NewCastle, UK, England
10/11/2007    St Bonadventures             Bristol, UK, UK
10/13/2007    ACADEMY 3                 MANCHESTER, ENGLAND
10/14/2007    The Arts Theater             London, England
10/18/2007    The 5 Spot                 Atlanta, GA
10/19/2007    Evening Muse                 Charlotte, NC
10/20/2007    Cat’s Cradle                 Carrboro, NC
10/21/2007    The Birchmere                 Alexandria, VA
10/24/2007    Gravity Lounge                 Charlottesville, VA
10/25/2007    World Cafe Live             Philadelphia, PA
10/26/2007    Ram”s Head                 Annapolis, MD
10/27/2007    Kaufman Theater             Norfolk, VA
10/29/2007     Club Passim                 Cambridge, MA
10/30/2007    Iron Horse Music Hall             Northampton, MA
11/1/2007    Joe’s Pub                 New York, NY
11/2/2007    Joe’s Pub                 New York, NY