Forget political parties, Americana music is the big tent. At what other music festival would you expect to find performers as diverse as Bonnie Raitt, Booker T. Jones, The Alabama Shakes, Hayes Carll, and Richard Thompson?
It all gets started on Wednesday, Sept. 12 when the 13th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference brings the best in roots, folk, blues, r&b, and more to Nashville. Live music begins with the 11th Annual Americana Honors and Awards Wednesday evening, 7 pm at the Ryman Auditorium and continues with nightly showcases across town.
During the Honors & Awards, Jones, Thompson, and Raitt will all perform and be presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Other show performers include The Alabama Shakes, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Deep Dark Woods, Guy Clark, Hayes Carll with Cary Ann Hearst, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, John Hiatt, Robert Ellis, The Mavericks, and more. As usual, Jim Lauderdale will host the proceedings and Buddy Miller will lead the house band. Check here for a list of nominees.
Prior to the Awards on Wednesday (9/12), the conference keynote will feature Raitt being interviewed by NPR music critic Ann Powers. On Thursday, September 13, Jones will be interviewed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The program runs Noon – 2 pm, and is included with museum admission or conference registration.
Later on Thursday at 6 – 7:30 pm, BMI will present Phil Madeira with special guests performing selections from the acclaimed Mercyland: Hymns For the Rest of Us at Downtown Presbyterian Church. Guests include Emmylou Harris, Shawn Mullins, North Mississippi Allstars, Buddy Miller and more.
Nightly concert highlights include Corb Lund followed by an all-star tribute to the late Levon Helm at Mercy Lounge on Wednesday (9/12); a Memphis-themed show Thursday (9/13) at The Rutledge featuring Jim Lauderdale with the North Mississippi Allstars, The Bo-Keys, and the songs of Big Star; a free Wallflowers concert at Live on the Green also Thursday night; and Buddy Miller with Lee Ann Womack at Mercy Lounge on Saturday (9/15), among many others. For the full showcase lineup, check here.
Get wristbands for the nightly concerts for $50 here.
In related news, CMT is getting into the rootsy spirit by launching a new blog called CMT Edge to spotlight artists that land outside the country mainstream. It will be a home for editorial and the network’s performance series like Concrete Country. Upcoming guests include Punch Brothers, Shovels & Rope, Delta Rae, Jason Isbell and more.