BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
The Americana Music convention got a whomper-stomper kick-off on Tuesday evening (Sept. 11).
The great Tony Joe White riled up a crowd of conventioneers on the roof of the BMI building on Music Row. Then, The War & Treaty ripped it up on the same stage. Rocking song poet Israel Nash closed the cocktail party.
This “Official Americanafest Kickoff Party” took place as breezes gently wafted in the first fall temperatures that Music City has felt. The sponsoring George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey offered libations. I sampled the pleasingly light chardonnay provided by the Daou Winery of Paso Robles, CA. The vineyard offers tours, by the way.
When I arrived, Martha Moore, Jon Freeman, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Barry Corbin were already working the room. So were Jill Block, Grady Block and Rocky Block, the last of whom had signed as a songwriter for Bob DiPiero’s company earlier that very day. His late papa Billy would be so proud.
Holly George-Warren, Patrick Clifford & Toni the Tiger, Geoff Himes, Brad Paul, Patrine Day Mitchum (the daughter of movie great Robert), Earle Simmons, James Hand, James Inveld, Pat DiPuccio (of Flipside fanzine fame), Robyn Hitchcock, Robbie Fulks, Jim Lauderdale, Maurice Miner and more engaged in early convention schmoozing.
Tim McFadden turns out to be a major Americana maven. He introduced me to Deana McCloud, the executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa. Judging by her description, this sounds like a must visit. Mark Lourie of New England’s Skyline Artist Agency was another Tim introduction. That biz handles acts like Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and Poco.
Tim also knows Anya Siglin. She’s the program director of the acclaimed non-profit roots-music venue The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I am told this is one of the world’s great listening rooms.
Although this was the kick-off cocktail party, it wasn’t overly crowded. That’s because the convention was already in full swing with competing music showcases by Llllie Mae, Arkansas Dave, The Ruen Brothers, John Prine, I’m With Her, Neighbor Lady, Caleb Caudel and Fantastic Negrito at the more than 40 venues that are participating in Music City.
Onward into the week we go.