NASHVILLE 2.0: The Rise of Americana to Air on PBS This November

Nashville 2.0

NASHVILLE 2.0 kicks off the “PBS Americana Music Weekend,” which pairs this documentary with an Americana music concert from PBS’ iconic Austin City Limits (ACL) series. In a special episode, ACL travels to Nashville to capture performance highlights from the 2013 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards. ACL PRESENTS: AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2013 airs November 23rd on PBS in select markets (check local listings for broadcast dates and times)

The hour-long film was co-directed by Carol Stein and Susan Wittenberg (the duo behind 2011‘s Women Who Rock) and will feature a lineup of some of the best rising and veteran country, folk, rock and multi-genre artists prominent in building the Americana movement.

The special will incluse includes performances by, and interviews with, Alabama Shakes, The Avett Brothers, Billy Bragg, Laura Cantrell, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Crowell, Dawes, Jerry Douglas, John Fullbright, Shakey Graves, Emmylou Harris, The James Hunter Six, Jason Isbell , Amanda Shires, Jim Lauderdale, The Lone Bellow, The Mavericks, The Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller, Mumford & Sons, Shovels and Rope*, Richard Thompson, and Dwight Yoakam.

This is hardly an exhaustive list, and not all of these artists are from, or reside, in Nashville. Buy Music City has become the de-facto hub of the Americana Music industry.

For now.

Americana Music Awards Winners 2013

Shovels and Rope Americana Awards

The Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, was again a fit setting for the Americana Music Awards, kicking off a week-long Americana Music Conference. A ceremony that the evening’s MC, the incomparable Jim Lauderdale, set the tone by saying “The past matters, traditions matter, even when we explore ways to have those traditions extended and expanded.”

The night’s nominees and performers were on hand to offer proof and testimony of that reflective sentiment.

Charleston SC husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope took home two awards, Emerging Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. At the podium a notably choked-up Cary Ann Hearst said, “All we ever wanted to do was make music the rest of our lives and.…propel ourselves into a normal existence.’

Hearst could have been speaking for all the nominees, presenters and many in attendance this night.

An unannounced Delbert McClinton lead things off with Hank Williams’ classic “Hey, Good Lookin.’” His granddaughter Holly Williams , and daughter Jet Williams, accepted President’s Award for Hank Williams on the day after what would have been Hank’s 90th birthday. Holly said in acceptance , “Hank would be Americana if he was alive today.” She then performed a lovely rendition of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” on the same stage her grandfather stood brining Opry crowds to their feet many years ago.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell won 2 awards for duo of the year and album of the year for their collaboration on Old Yellow Moon. The veteran performers used their time onstage to congratulate the other nominees, Harris’ ex-husband and longtime producer Brian Ahern, and reminisce about their 40-year friendship.

John Fullbright and Shovels & Rope reminded that there s new generation that is carryon on tradition and shaping it in unexpected and electrifying ways by bring the house down around the capacity.

Jim Lauderdale choked back emotion as he presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting to his mentor, collaborator and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Hunter then played his first public performance in almost a decade by doing the Dead’s classic “Ripple.”

Austin was represented in great form by nominees Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison performing “Border Radio.” Richard Thompson folioed by performing “Good Things Happen To Bad People” from his Buddy Miller produced “Electric.”

The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance to Louisiana’s JuJu master Dr. John. Auerbach recounted Dr. John’s extraordinary, and sometimes dangerous, career trajectory. “Songwriter, bandleader, hustler – the guy who found work for his friends when they needed it – A&R executive, keyboard player, a phenomenal guitarist”. Auerbach added that the John was: “A man whose music transcended race and cultural divides… A man who’s been in the right place at the wrong time and lived to write the songs.”

Auerbach then strapped on a guitar to accompany Dr John for ‘I Walk On Guilded Splinters’ from his 1968 debut album, ‘Gris-Gris’, accompanied by the house band of legendary session musicians, led by Buddy Miller and including Don Was, Larry Campbell, Marco Giovino, John Deaderick, Jim Hoke and the McCrary Sisters.

Emerging artists nominee John. JD McPherson followed this up with a spirited performance of his rockabilly hit “Northside Gal.”

The ABC Nashville television drama overlapped this night as Lennon and Maisy Stella covered The Lumineers “Ho, Hey!” much like they did on an episode the show itself.

Guitar interpretive master Ry Cooder presented Jack Emerson with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive by recounting his many ventures south of the border to chase unique music. Following was Old Crow Medicine Show, who the devious night had been inducted in to the Grand Ole Opry fold. Naturally they played “Wagon Wheel.” Actor Ed Helms presenting Old Crow with the Trailblazer Award in the form of a WW2 era Harmony guitar with the lyrics of “Wagon Wheel” written on it.

Nicki Bluhm and Sam Bush pleasantly surprised the crowd by announcing the 2013 Artist of the Year award for the Dwight Yoakam. In response to an audible disappointment from the audience that Yoakam was on tour and not in attendance.
Sam Bush accepted the award on Dwight’s behalf and that he wore the “tightest pants I have.”

This was followed by a performance from the golk-duo Milk Carton Kids then BBC Radio’s Bob Harris presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist to Duane Eddy who then played his most famous instrumental, “Rebel Rouser.”

The Spirit of Americana Freedom of Speech award went to Stephen Stills, who played the Buffalo Springfield classic 60s anthem “For What It’s Worth” alongside fellow Buffalo Springfield member Richie Furay and guilt-slinger Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Dr. John led the final song, with many of the performers – Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Buddy, Jim, Old Crow’s Ketch Secor, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars’ Joy Williams, Shovels & Rope, Billy Bragg and Aiofe O’Donovan united to sing Rodney’s “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.”

Then it was out into the sultry Nashville night to attends various venue showcases where the future Americana Music Award winners would be perfecting their considerable craft for us fortunate enough to be here.

Listen the the Americana Music Awards Winners from the NPR archives.

Americana Music Honors & Awards 2013 Winners:

Album of the Year: “Old Yellow Moon,” Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Artist of the Year: Dwight Yoakam
Duo Group of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Song of the Year: “Birmingham,” Shovels & Rope
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shovels & Rope
Instrumentalist of the year: Larry Campbell
Trailblazer Award: Old Crow Medicine Show
Spirit of Americana / Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Stephen Stills
Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist: Duane Eddy
Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive: Chris Strachwitz
Lifetime Achievement for Performance: Dr. John
Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriter: Robert Hunter
President’s Award: Hank Williams

Listen Up! Willie Nelson – “Grandma’s Hands” featuring Mavis Staples

Willie-Nelson-To-All-The-Girls

Willie Nelson just doesn’t know the meaning of quit. The Texas Yoda took time from his extensive (some might say grueling) touring schedule to enter the studio with some of his favorite female singers for a duets album entitled ‘To All The Girls….’ (Oct. 15 on Legacy Recordings.)

Nelson features his talented daughter Paula Nelson, as well as legends like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Roseanne Cash and newcomers Secret Sisters, Norah Jones, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.

Also representing the legend status is Mavis Staples. She and Nelson do a smooth version of Bill Withers’ deeply personal “Grandma’s Hands.” Besides Withers the song has been previously covered by Mavis’ own legendary family gospel group, The Staple Singers.

Preorder the album here.

To All The Girls track list:

1. Dolly Parton — From Here To The Moon And Back
2. Miranda Lambert — She Was No Good For Me
3. Secret Sisters — It Won’t Be Very Long
4. Rosanne Cash — Please Don’t Tell Me
5. Sheryl Crow — Far Away Places
6. Wynonna Judd — Bloody Mary Morning
7. Carrie Underwood — Always On My Mind
8. Loretta Lynn — Somewhere Between
9. Alison Krauss — No Mas Amor
10. Melonie Cannon — Back To Earth
11. Mavis Staples — Grandma’s Hands
12. Norah Jones — Walkin’
13. Shelby Lynne — Til The End Of The World
14. Lily Meola — Will You Remember Mine
15. Emmylou Harris — Dry Lightning
16. Brandi Carlile — Making Believe
17. Paula Nelson — Have You Ever Seen The Rain
18. Tina Rose — After The Fire Is Gone

Americana Music Association Announces Showcase Line-up

ama final_480x476

Building on the already excellent initial lineup announcement the Nashville-based Americana Music Association has released has released the full roster of artists performing during the event.

Some of the additions that stand out to me are roots-rockers Shooter Jennings and Austin Lucas, alt.country stalwarts Bottle Rockets and Ashley Monroe who apparently has no problem working both the Americana and Music Row sides of the fence (good!) One performer I’m bummed to see missing from the roster is Jason Isbell (Though his talented better half, Amanda Shires, is on the list.) There might be scheduling conflicts with his current tour supporting the excellent “Southeastern.”

The vagueness of Americana’s boundaries allows a richness and diversity within a shared source and vision. it’s what legend, and scheduled performer, Darrell Scott describes positively as a “hard-to-define place.”

the selections show a broad range of diversity and excellence the of the genre. Great to see many Casa Twang favorites represented as well.

The AMA has created a Spotify playlist of the performers on the 2013 bill.

The 14th annual event will take place in Nashville, Sept. 18-22. I’ll be there. hope you are too!

Americana Music Festival & Conference Showcase Performing Artistt
Alanna Royale
Amanda Shires
American Aquarium
Amy Speace
Andrew Combs
Andrew Leahey & the Homestead
Aoife O’Donovan
Ashley Monroe
Austin Lucas
Band of Heathens
Bear’s Den
Ben Miller Band
Bhi Bhiman
Billy Bragg
Black Prairie
Bobby Rush
Bottle Rockets
Brian Wright
Chelsea Crowell
Claire Lynch
Daniel Romano
Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
Dash Rip Rock
David Bromberg
Delbert McClinton
Della Mae
Donna the Buffalo
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
DUGAS
Elephant Revival
Farewell Drifters
Field Report
Frank Fairfield
Hillbilly Killers
Holly Williams
Houndmouth
Howe Gelb
Howlin’ Brothers
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Infamous Stringdusters
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
JD McPherson
Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons
Joe Nolan
John Fullbright
Jonny Fritz
Josh Rouse
Joy Kills Sorrow
Judah & the Lion
Justin Townes Earle
Kim Richey
Kruger Brothers
Laura Cantrell
Lera Lynn
Levi Lowrey
Lindi Ortega
Lisa Marie Presley
Luella & the Sun
Mandolin Orange
Matt Mays
Max Gomez
McCrary Sisters
Melody Pool
Mustered Courage
My Darling Clementine
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
Nikki Lane
Noah Gunderson
Nora Jane Struthers
North Mississippi Allstars
NQ Arbuckle
Old Man Luedecke
Over The Rhine
Parker Millsap
Patrick Sweany
Paul Kelly
Peter Bruntnell
Phil Madeira
Pokey LaFarge
Randall Bramlett
Rayland Baxter
Richard Thompson
Rosanne Cash
Rose Cousins
Sam Doores, Riley Downing & the Tumbleweeds
Samantha Crain
Shakey Graves
Shannon McNally
Shel
Shooter Jennings
Sons of Fathers
Spirit Family Reunion
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Steelism
Steep Canyon Rangers
Stewart Mann & the Statesboro Revue
Sturgill Simpson
Susan Cowsill
The Bushwackers
The Del-Lords
The Devil Makes Three
The Greencards
The Lone Bellow
The Lost Brothers
The Stray Birds
The Westbound Rangers
The White Buffalo
Tim Easton
Tommy Malone
Treetop Flyers
Two Man Gentleman Band
Uncle Lucius
Water Liars
Wheeler Brothers
Willie Sugarcaps
Willy Mason
Wood Brothers

Americana Music Association Announces Initial Showcase Line-up

Americana Conference Lineup

Nashville-based Americana Music Association has released an excellent initial artist line-up for showcase portion of the conference, festival and awards show. the selections show a broad range of diversity and excellence the of the genre. Great to see many Casa Twang favorites represented as well.

Artists include: Black Prairie, Billy Bragg, Rosanne Cash, The Devil Makes Three, Frank Fairfield, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, John Fullbright, JD McPherson,
The Lone Bellow, Aoife O’ Donovan, Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien, Richard Thompson, The White Buffalo, Holly Williams and The Wood Brothers

The 14th annual event will take place in Nashville, Sept. 18-22. I’ll be there. hope you are too!

Showcase artists confirmed to perform include:

Black Prairie
Billy Bragg
Rosanne Cash
The Del-Lords
The Devil Makes Three
Sam Doores, Riley Downing & the Tumbleweeds
Frank Fairfield
Field Report
John Fullbright
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
Hurray for the Riff Raff
The Infamous Stringdusters
Kruger Brothers
Pokey LaFarge
Nikki Lane
The Lone Bellow
Luella & the Sun
JD McPherson
Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
Aoife O’Donovan
Old Man Luedecke
Lindi Ortega
Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
Shakey Graves
Sturgill Simpson
Sons of Fathers
Spirit Family Reunion
Steelism
The Stray Birds
Richard Thompson
Holly Williams
The White Buffalo
The Wood Brothers

Video Feature: Randy Travis with The Avett Brothers “Three Wooden Crosses”

Photo Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

One of the most thrilling performances I’ve had the good fortune to attend  was a New York City based CMT Crossroads, the first filmed outside of Nashville, featuring  Rosanne Cash and Steve Earle.

The premise of the show is to pair country music artists with musicians from other music genres, often covering the other one’s songs and performing duets.  Over it’s decade-long existence CMT Crossroads the pairings have ranged from the aforementioned Earle and Cash show, also Lucinda Williams with Elvis Costello and Travis Tritt with Ray Charles. Some are less inspired, like Sugarland with Bon Jovi and Sara Evans and Maroon 5.

I would put the upcoming collaboration of the Avett Brothers with country music legend Randy Travis in the inspired category. The Avetts are riding high in their new release , The Carpenter. The album threads with themes of mortality and personal trials. These are themes the recently troubled Travis can certainly identify with.

Check this excellent video  Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses.” I hope the rest of the programs reached this level.

Tune in and find out – CMT Crossroads Nov. 23 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Twang Nation 5k Twitter Followers Celebration Featuring Lindi Ortega

When twitter first caught my attention I felt I had no use for it. It seemed like an endless torrent of inanity and, I was not narcissistic enough to imagine anyone gave a flip what or where I was eating at that exact moment.

But I created an account and after seeing how some musicians, like Jason Isbell – @JasonIsbell – and labels, like Bloodshot Records – @BSHQ – that I respect were using it as a format for topical, and often hilarious, discussions about music I dove in and began to carve out my own backwoods niche.

Now after 22k + tweets and 5k + followers I think I’ve got the hang of it. I’ve followed, been followed by, re-tweeted and been re-tweeted by, some of the best musicians, labels , venues I could dare to imagine. THAT’S the magic of twitter, it democratizes discussions. As long as you have something to add to the dialogue someone will listen. As the grand matrone of Americana on twitter, Rossanne Cash – @rosannecash says on her profile page, “I like Twitter as cafe society.”

I’ve discovered many great musicians from twitter, one being the lovely and talented Lindi Ortega – @lindiortega – (thanks to a tweet by the excellent musician Brett Detar – @brettdetar .) Ortega and her team were kind and gracious enough to work with me to bring you a little something to celebrate my little milestone.

Just share your email address below to download a sweet ( and FREE!) mp3 of Lindi’s unique interpretation of the Johnny Cash classic Folsom Prison Blues.

And be sure to look for Lindi’s new release “Cigarettes and Truckstops” coming out October 2nd!

Thanks to all my excellent followers and, if your not yet doing so, be sure to follow Twang Nation, as well as everyone in this post I’ve mentioned and and all your favorite musicians on twitter. Let’s keep the conversation (and music!) going.

RIP Susanna Clark

Behind every great man there is a great woman rings none more true than in the case of Guy and Susanna Clark.

Atlanta, Texas-born Susanna Clark, a former art teacher and renowned songwriter for Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Miranda Lambert, Rosanne Cash, Jerry Jeff Walker and others, died Wednesday, June 27 in Nashville. She was 73, and had reported to have been in poor health in recent years.

Susanna was key to Guy Clark quitting his job at a Houston television station and focusing on songwriting. Guy Clark, a contemporary of frequent house-guest Townes Van Zandt, would go on to pen great songs such as “L.A. Freeway” (which mentions Susanna ) , “Desperados Waiting for a Train” and “Hemingway’s Whiskey” (which was later covered by Kenny Chesney.)Clark would go on to become a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Tennessean sites a Journal of Country Music interview where Susanna said “I just asked him what he wanted to do, and he said, ‘Music, I said, ‘Well, let’s do it.’ And he said, ‘That’s the first time a woman has ever asked me to quit a job.”

Her first Top 20 country hit was “I’ll Be Your San Antone Rose” for singer Dottsy in 1975. In 1978, she and Carlene Carter wrote “Easy From Now On” the lead track of Harris’ Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town. Most recently she wrote the title cut from Miranda Lambert’s 2007 “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Clark also put her painting talents to work creating the album cover for Harris as well as Willie Nelson’s “Stardust.”

One of my favorite scenes from the classic film “Heartworn Highways” is the scene with Texas singer/songwriters gathered at Guy and Susanna Clark’s home for a picking session on Christmas Eve 1975. Here you see Guy and Susanna in the opening scene followed by Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell and Richard Dobson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJrVwJonlrA

Here’s a great video of Guy Clark telling a great story about Susanna and performing a song he wrote for her.

Father’s Day – Daddy Sang Bass

If you’re lucky enough to have your father near, hug him and tell him you love him, and get him a damn beer!

Here are some Country and Americana music performances by fathers and their children. I hope you like them.

Johnny Cash & Rosanne Cash – Don’t need no memories hanging round

Steve Earle with Justin Townes Earle  – “Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold (Townes Van Zandt)

Billy Joe Shaver and Eddie Shaver – Georgia on a Fast Train

Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson – Help Me Make it Through the Night (Kris Kristofferson)

Doc Watson and Merle Watson – Summertime

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNYHJIr0ur4

Doc & Merle Watson – Summertime

News Round Up: New Guy Clark and Hank Willams III Coming Soon

  • On August 16thlegendary singer/songwriter Guy Clark will release Songs And Stories, a live album recorded at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. Clark runs through his extensive collection of classics – L.A. Freeway, The Randall KnifeThe Cape, Homegrown Tomatoes, and Stuff That Works – complete with stories and casual asides that should make this a must-have.
  • In other Clark news – In time to coincide with his 70th birthday This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, is set to drop November 1 on Icehouse Music. Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas with a rotating cast of other musicians including multi-instrumentalist Lloyd Maines, bass players Glenn Fukunaga, Mike Bub and Glenn Worf, and drummers Kenny Malone and Larry Atamanuik. The release will feature Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Steve Earle, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett and many other singer-songwriters that have performed with and been influenced by Clark over his extensive career.
  • Bringing prolificacy to a new level Hank Williams III will celebrate his freedom from his well-documented contract disputes with Curb Records and his own new label , Hank3 Records, in a grand fashion – by releasing four records on September 6th. That’s right — four. Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown,’ a double-album set,will be a country collection fusing Hank’s trademark hellbilly sound with Cajun influences and will feature special guests including Tom Waits. The other two releases are ‘Attention Deficit Domination’ and ‘3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin,’ are metal-driven records on which Hank 3 plays all instruments. ‘Cattle Callin’ will explore a proposed genre entitled “cattle core” sound, featuring Hank 3’s speed metal woven around actual cattle auctioneering. Hmm, something about that makes me very happy. All three projects were recorded at The Haunted Ranch, Hank 3’s home and studio on the outskirts of Nashville.