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5 lesser known Americana artists to catch at Bonnaroo 2014

The Lone Bellow are among the excellent slate of Americana artists scheduled to perform at Bonnaroo 2014.
The Lone Bellow are among the excellent slate of Americana artists scheduled to perform at Bonnaroo 2014.
Photo by Frazer Harrison

The initial lineup for the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was released on Feb. 19 and with marquee acts like Elton John, Phoenix, and Jack White on tap, there are plenty of great stars to fill your weekend. You can even see our choices for 10 can't miss acts here. But the beautiful thing about immersing yourself in 4 days of Bonnaroo is discovering bands you've never heard of and having them surprise you with one of your favorite sets of the weekend.

For fans of Americana music, there's plenty to do at Bonnaroo 2014. Acts like The Avett Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Drive-By Truckers offer marquee names to check out. But the Bonnaroo undercard is also stacked with great Americana talent you might not know about. Here are our choices for 5 you can't miss:

Sarah Jarosz

At age 22, Sarah Jarosz is already a seasoned veteran of the music business. Her third studio album, "Build Me Up From Bones" was released in 2013 to critical acclaim. This is Jarosz's third Bonnaroo, having played a Cafe Stage in 2010 and a main tent in 2012, sharing a bill with Kenny Rogers and The Civil Wars. This year, Jarosz will be part of Ed Helms' Bluegrass Situation Superjam on Sunday.

Shovels & Rope

Husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope are among the fastest rising Americana stars in the business. 2012's "O' Be Joyful" made many critics' list of best albums of the year and the duo has been touring festivals and clubs across the country since, gathering new fans along the way. The pair's live shows take on a party atmosphere, with the space normally occupied by a full band being ably by vocalist Cary Ann Hearst's huge and infectious personality. Shovels & Rope will also be part of the Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation stage and Superjam on Sunday.

Seasick Steve

Bluesman Seasick Steve has spent the majority of his almost 50 year musical career working on the fringes of the musical world. He has toured and done session work for Janis Joplin and Janis Ian and worked in production on records for Modest Mouse. Seasick Steve saw his breakthrough in 2006 after appearing in the UK on Jools Holland's "Hootenanny" show on the BBC. Seasick Steve's live show feature his collection of obscure and personalized instruments, including his "Three String Trance Wonder" and a guitar made from a Hudson Terraplane hubcap given to him by friend and Bonnaroo 2014 headliner Jack White.

The Wood Brothers

Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood have both had very successful musical careers separately, Oliver as a founding member of King Johnson and Chris as a member of Bonnaroo veteran jazz act Medeski, Martin, and Wood. They have performed together periodically since 2006 and have released 5 albums together, the most recent being 2013's Buddy Miller produced "The Muse." Joined by multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix on tour, the band has quickly developed a reputation as a strong live act and highly sought after collaborators. Don't be surprised to see one or both of The Wood Brothers pop up to sit in at another artist's set.

The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow is one of the youngest acts at Bonnaroo 2014, with their debut album only being released last year, but they've already received a ton of buzz as an up and comer to watch due to the success of the album and their highly regarded live shows. They turned in one of the biggest surprise performances at the 2013 Americana Music Festival, packing The Mercy Lounge to capacity and holding their own on a bill with veterans like JD McPherson and Band of Heathens. The Lone Bellow will be part of the Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation Superjam on Sunday at Bonnaroo.

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