No Country’s Guide to AmericanaFest 2016: 8 Can’t Miss Wednesday Bands

Americana Music Association

AmericanaFest kicks off in earnest today with a full slate of shows and showcases at most of the venues in Music City.  The sheer volume of the ever growing festival is too vast for us to cover every band performing, but we wanted to highlight a few of the artists each day that we think are worthy of your time and attention.  The focus includes some not-to-miss national acts, but also shines a light on some locals that those visiting our fair city may not know to look out for.  Head below for our top artists to catch on Wednesday at AmericanaFest 2016.

MARGO PRICE

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Country Music Hall Of Fame | 11:30am – 12:45pm

It’s been a record year for beloved local talent Margo Price. Thanks to the backing of Jack White and Third Man Records, her latest album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter shot up the charts and brought her some much-deserved national exposure. She’ll take the stage at the Country Music Hall of Fame for a special showcase with NPR Music, along with Jeremy Ivey, Erin Rae, Lily Hiatt, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Darrin Bradbury, Kenny Vaughan, Matt Ross-Spang and Darrin Bradbury. Where else are you going to see so much talent during your weekday lunch break? [LL]

WATCH | “Hurtin’ on the Bottle” (Official Music Video)

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BECCA MANCARI

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ACME Feed & Seed | 10pm

Local singer-songwriter Becca Mancari has a voice that’s hard to forget. You’ve probably heard her infectious single “Summertime Mama,” which features soaring vocals and a hook that’s seriously irresistible. If you dig her recordings, or just great music in general, you’ll be blown away at how her intricate songwriting comes to life on the live stage. [LL]

WATCH | “Kitchen Dancing” (Live)

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AOIFE O’ DONOVAN

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Station Inn | 11pm

Aoife O’Donovan may still be best known as the frontwoman of alt-bluegrass band Crooked Still, but that is just part of a long list of accomplishments for the talented singer-songwriter. She also includes working with folk trio Sometymes, and collaborations with the likes of Noam Pilkney, Alison Krauss, Chris Thile, Jim Lauderdale, and even Yo-Yo Ma.  O’ Donovan settled down into a solo career back in 2011, and has been a frequent touring artist through Nashville in the years since, particularly after the release of her debut LP, Fossils, back in 2013.  After extensive touring with the likes of Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz, Aoife is back in support of her sophomore LP, In The Magic Hour, and that magic hour during AmericanaFest will be 11 pm on Wednesday night in the magical showspace at Station Inn. [MH]

WATCH | “Magic Hour” (Official Music Video)

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BRANDY ZDAN

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The 5 Spot | 11pm

We’ve been longtime fans of adopted Nashvillian Brandy Zdan‘s brand of hard-hitting mix of rock, folk and Americana. Last year, she released a self-titled LP that shows off just how seasoned of a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist she is. By blending the attitude of indie rock with soaring arrangements and stellar songwriting, Zdan has brought herself to the top tier of local talent. [LL]

WATCH | “More of a Man” (Official Music Video)

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DWIGHT YOAKAM

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Mercy Lounge | 11pm

Even in Nashville, it’s a rare treat to see an artist as incredible as Dwight Yoakam on such a small stage. This week, the country crooner is gearing up to release his new album Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…, which features bluegrass versions of some of his biggest career hits. Plus, there’s a pretty incredible cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Cross your fingers that he’ll play it during his set at Mercy Lounge, and make sure to get there early to claim your spot. [LL]

WATCH | “Liar” (Official Music Video)

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ALLEN THOMPSON

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Acme Feed & Seed | 11pm

One of our favorite local artists, both personally and musically, Allen Thompson and his band have a knack for writing toe-tapping songs that are a throwback to the roots of Americana in the 60s and 70s, yet with a contemporary flair that nods to the undulating landscape of that super-genre in the years since.  It’s been five years since we’ve had a proper release from the Allen Thompson Band, and, what is best described as a family band, has seen a ton of hardship in those years, including two serious brushes with death.  They found solace in the studio in the winter of 2015 to record an upcoming album, and just recently release their first single, “Long Time Thinkin’,” which you can check out below.  If you are downtown tonight, or need an excuse to be downtown tonight, Allen Thompson is an absolute must see. [MH]

LISTEN | “Long Time Thinkin'”

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TIM EASTON

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The 5 Spot | 11:59pm

Songwriter’s songwriter Tim Easton has wowed us on more than one occasion with his ramblin’ folk styling and Americana rock focus.  A constant worker, he closed out 2015 with an ambitious project where he performed 100 original songs in 100 days, and there is video evidence to prove it.  We last saw Easton when he totally exploded all of our expectations at an Acme Feed & Seed showcase, and he has his fingers in a few of the Americana showcases around town this week.  He’s worthy of one last beer on the East Side when he performs at The 5 Spot on Wednesday night. [MH]

WATCH | “The Old New Straitsville Blues” (Live)

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BJ BARHAM

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The High Watt | 11:59pm

BJ Barham may be best known as the primary songwriter and frontman for established alt-country band American Aquarium, but his decision to release a solo record is as powerful of a story as the record is itself.  American Aquarium was touring through Europe, and the band was in Paris in November of 2015 during the terrorist attacks in that city.  The experience and the aftermath moved Barham to write his debut solo album Rockingham in a matter of only two days, and the recording process happened quickly between American Aquarium tours.  The resulting record is reportedly a narrative fiction rather than autobiographical, and the finished product is a truly outstanding, honest, and powerful record that will find a nook to burrow into almost any listener. [MH]

WATCH | “Rockingham” (Official Music Video)

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[LL] Lorie Liebig
[MH] Matt Hall

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