The Americana genre has become an all-encompassing music style that finds folk, bluegrass, rock and soul artists united in strong songwriting, solid musicianship and passionate performances. Minus the eye-popping production values of major pop artists those under the Americana umbrella regularly hold an audience’s attention by presenting music in its purest form.
With the commercial success of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, and Americana acts appearing at every festival that doesn’t favor electronic dance music, the scene has blossomed over the years in a natural and influential manner.
Celebrating the sounds and the artists, the Americana Music Festival & Conference takes place Sept. 18-22 in Nashville.
From legends to up-and-coming acts more than 100 artists will be performing in local venues. Nearly 50 panels will also emphasize the educational side of the conference, which not only brings together musicians and fans but industry professionals from all over the world.
"Americana fest is one of my favorite fests, not just because the farthest venue is two miles from my house,” said bluesman Patrick Sweany who performs on opening day. “
“I like it because its small enough, everyone can see everything, and the visiting industry folk and audience actually interacts with Nashville life rather than driving all the residents away. And the shows are in the clubs, the way God intended rock and roll to be viewed.
Sweany’s no-holds-barred roots ‘n’ soul performance is influenced by Mississippi John Hurt, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Reverend Gary Davis, Skip James, Jesse Fuller and John Hammond Jr. among others.
His recently-released his sixth album, “Closer to the Floor,” acts as a cathartic take on a period of grief and examines his hard-touring ways and the life of a struggling musician. The 10 tracks rely less on woe and more on his gritty voice and never-give-up attitude.
Summing up the event as well as his inclusion in it he said, “Americana Fest is a place where the not easily classifiable, not necessarily trendy, but intrinsically rootsy, can connect to the audience it deserves on the most level of playing fields. How do you beat that?”
The diverse and talented 2013 Americana lineup includes Roseanne Cash, Richard Thompson, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Over the Rhine, David Bromberg, Delbert McClinton, The Greencards, Billy Bragg, Shooter Jennings, Justin Townes Earle, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lisa Marie Presley, JD McPherson, Randell Bramblett, Caitlin Rose, North Mississippi Allstars, Josh Rouse, Elephant Revival, Paul Kelly, Houndmouth, Donna the Buffalo, The Howlin’ Brothers, Black Prairie, Dash Rip Rock, The Del-Lords, The Devil Makes Three, Field Report, Susan Cowsill, Tim Easton, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Aoife O'Donovan, Darrell Scott & Tim O'Brien, The Wood Brothers, Band of Heathens, Bobby Rush, Howe Gelb, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Kim Richey, Laura Cantrell, Samantha Crain, Shannon McNally, Steep Canyon Rangers, Treetop Flyers and Hymn for Her.
As part of the festival and conference’s events, the 2013 Honors & Awards take place on opening day at the Ryman Auditorium. It will be broadcast live on AXS TV.
Shovels & Rope lead all artists with four nominations while Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller have three.
Other nominees include The Lumineers, Rodney Crowell, John Fullbright, Lauderdale, JD McPherson, Milk Carton Kids, Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, Richard Thompson, and Dwight Yoakam.
To get a taste of this year's participating artists a special Spotify playlist was created, http://bit.ly/12JfFTi.
The non-profit American Music Association's mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American Roots Music around the world.
For more information, visit www.americanamusic.org.