The Americana Music Festival, being held Sept. 17-21 in venues throughout Nashville, has always kept a delicate balance between celebrating the roots of American popular music and highlighting the new and innovative artists who are pushing the genre forward. With over 150 artists performing at Americanafest 2014, there's something for everyone. But some artists are so popular that they've become Americanafest regulars, drawing huge crowds no matter how many times they appear. Here are 5 of the most popular Americanafest fan favorites returning for 2014.
Former Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies frontman and current gospel blues artist Mike Farris is always a welcome attraction at the Americana Music Festival. Whether performing on his own or as a guest with other artists, Farris' booming voice and commanding stage presence make him a popular draw any time he appears.
Paul Thorn pops up on the Americana Music Festival lineup every couple of years or so, but no one minds. Thorn's humorous stage banter and strong lyrical style make him a perfect fit for an Americanafest audience. Add in a backing band that brings a big blues rock sound, and you've got an easy sellout at whatever venue he plays.
Phil Madeira has always been well-respected inside Nashville's music scene as a songwriter, producer, and member of Emmylou Harris' Red Dirt Boys. With the 2012 release of "Mercyland: Hymns For the Rest of Us" and the subsequent Americanafest performance at the Downtown Presbyterian Church that was lauded by many attendees as the weekend's highlight, Madeira has been a regular at Americanafest. Now a published author and hard at work on the follow-up to "Mercyland", Madeira's star is even more on the rise and you can bet the crowds will turn out for his Americanafest Showcase performance.
The daughters of legendary Fairfield Four founding member Rev. Sam McCrary, these siblings have forged careers backing up the likes of Bob Dylan, Mike Farris, and Buddy Miller before coming together to release their own music. Since that time, they've been a yearly highlight of Americanafest, sometimes performing their own shows and sometimes backing up other acts, but always bringing powerful gospel melodies to wherever they set foot.
Steep Canyon Rangers
Multiple time IBMA award winners and occasional Steve Martin backing band The Steep Canyon Rangers have made multiple Americanafest appearances. Progressive bluegrass is always a popular draw at Americanafest and, right now, nobody is doing progressive bluegrass better than The Steep Canyon Rangers.