When the Americana Music Festival and Conference rolls around Sept. 17-21 in Nashville, you can bet on there being plenty of guest sit-ins during Americana Showcase sets. With a large portion of the genre's biggest stars either living in Nashville or in town for the Americana Honors and Awards Show, guest performances are rampant. But some artists performing at Americanafest 2014 don't have to wait for guests to get a group of established Americana stars on stage together. It's just part of their band. These 5 Americana supergroups are guaranteed to provide the star power bang for your buck.
While many people know of Black Prairie as one of the fastest rising young groups in Americana, what they may not know is the band had its foundation in an even more famous group, The Decemberists. Chris Funk, Nate Query, Jenny Conlee, and John Moen of that group joined with Annalisa Tornfelt of Bearfoot and Jon Neufeld of Dolorean to create a band that has become a force on the festival scene in recent years.
Packed with some of the strongest songwriters and instrumentalists in Americana history, Willie Sugarcapps is an Americana supergroup among supergroups. Guitar wizard Will Kimbrough and singer-songwriter Grayson Capps are joined by the duo Sugarcane Jane and Corky Hughes in a band that brought down the house at Americanafest 2013 and could very well do so again in 2014.
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Lest we forget that Canada, being part of North America, has plenty of claim to Americana music too, we are reminded by Canadian supergroup Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Formed by Junkhouse's Tom Wilson, respected producer and guitarist Colin Lind, and solo artist Stephen Fearing, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings' raucous country-blues is heavy on the guitar and on the groove.
Todd Snider and Friends
Anytime you see "and friends" at an Americanafest show, it's a sign to line up because you can be sure the stars are going to shine. Last time Snider did an "and friends" show, he was joined by Don Was, Mike Farris, and Warner Hodges just to name a few. This year, with his existing Americana/Jam fusion supergroup Hard Working Americans nominated for an AMA award, it's a safe bet to expect at least some of the band to show up for this free for all performance.
Bluegrass Situation's Late Night Windup
Sometimes a show is less a supergroup than a super jam session. If Ed Helms' first visit to Americanafest last year is any indicator, that's exactly what you can expect in 2014 with his Bluegrass Situation Late Night Windup at The Station Inn. Last year, it seemed like half the bands performing Showcases during the weekend and more than a few who were just in town to catch the festival jumped on stage with Helms to jam a song or two. We'd be surprised if this year's show provided any less bang for your musical buck.