No Country’s Guide To AmericanaFest 2017

Americana Music Association

AmericanaFest takes over Nashville this week, Sept. 12-17, with shows and showcases happening at a number of the venues in Music City, including a sold out awards show taking place Wednesday, Sept. 13 at The Ryman Auditorium.  The sheer volume of the ever-growing festival is too vast for us to cover every artist performing, but, frankly, it can be a bit overwhelming for those trying to navigate the absolutely packed schedule.  So, we put together an itinerary that would carry a fan through to see a number of our favorite acts at this year’s event.  This is by no means all inclusive, and you should peruse the AmericanaFest website for the full lineup. We even tried to shine a light on some different artists than we covered last year, even though many returning performers are still worth your attention in 2017.  The focus includes some not-to-miss national acts, but also spotlights some locals that those visiting our fair city may not know to look out for.

Full conference registrations are still available for $499, but, if you are just looking to check out the shows, you can still grab a wristband to access the music events all week for only $75. Head below to see just some of the artists we are excited about at AmericanaFest 2017.

***WEDNESDAY***

Hiss Golden Messenger
5pm @ Grimey’s

Hiss Golden Messenger-AMA

It was just last fall that we were talking up a new record from Hiss Golden Messenger when the M.C. Taylor fronted folk rockers last played Nashville, and now they are returning for a run through AmericanaFest that sees the talented songwriter gearing up for yet another full-length release, Hallelujah Anyhow, on Sept. 22 via Merge Records.  Whether you’ve been a fan of Hiss Golden Messenger since their early catalogue or are just now getting the memo, there is a little something for everyone in the diverse subgenres the band effortlessly explore, just like they offer up in the newly released alt-country flavored jam “Domino (Time Will Tell)” from the upcoming record below.  [MH]

WATCH | “Domino (Time Will Tell)”

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Lukas Nelson
10:30pm @ Cannery Ballroom

Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real-AMA

Son of the Red Headed Stranger himself, Lukas Nelson has been blazing his own trail for years now, and blew us away at this year’s Bonnaroo. The 28-year-old’s latest album mixes his country roots with soul and plenty of pop. There’s even a collaboration with Lady Gaga in the mix. If you’re looking for a more experimental side of Americana, make sure you check out Lukas’ set. [LL]

WATCH | “Find Yourself”

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Deer Tick
12:00am @ Mercy Lounge

Deer Tick - AMA

It’s been four years since Deer Tick released new music, and they shocked fans  earlier this year with the announcement of an upcoming double release on Sept. 15.  Deer Tick Vol. 1 features the edgy folk, song-driven style that will remind fans of their incredible early records, while Deer Tick Vol. 2 sees the band capture the punk attitude that defines their live show with a more garage rock leaning release.  The band will be supporting both releases this fall with their Twice Is Nice tour, which will feature a stripped down set to start and a full electric set after the intermission.  For AmericanaFest, where they kick off the tour though, you’re gonna have to make some decisions as they will be kicking things off with a rowdy full band, Vol. 2 style late night at Mercy Lounge on Wednesday (you can check out “It’s A Whale” from that release below).  If you are jonsing for the acoustic set, you’ll need to make plans to head to Station Inn at midnight on Thursday. [MH]

WATCH | “It’s A Whale”

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***THURSDAY***

Lilly Hiatt
5pm @ Little Harpeth Brewing

Lilly Hiatt Americana

East Nashville based troubadour Lilly Hiatt has been in the spotlight for a number of years.  Growing up as the daughter of songwriting legend John Hiatt surely gave Lilly an early taste of what life in the industry was like, and she has shown her continued growth through her music, as evidenced by her recently released record, Trinity Lane.  Hiatt’s local release show was cancelled a few weeks back given the tragic turn of events at Fond Object Records, but Hiatt is back in town for a couple of sets on Thursday at AmericanaFest.  The 5 p.m. set at Little Harpeth fits nicely into our schedule, and it also provides some tasty local libations for your happy hour. If 5 p.m. is a little early for you, she’ll also be playing her official showcase at 8 p.m. at Third Man Records across town. [MH]

WATCH | “The Night David Bowie Died”

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Robyn Hitchcock
8pm @ City Winery

RobynHitchcock-Americana

Legendary British songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is going on nearly four decades of making music with 20+ records under his belt from his solo work, as well as that with his backing band The Egyptians and psychedelic folk outfit The Soft Boys.  Hitchcock recently settled in Nashville, and his latest self-titled release, which was produced by Brendan Benson, sees the talented songwriter pulling influences from his new home, while maintaining his psych, punk, and rock roots.  There are lots of living legends you can see during AmericanaFest, but few of them have the pedigree of Hitchcock. [MH]

WATCH | “Raymond and The Wires”

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The Lumineers
9:30pm @ Cannery Ballroom

The Lumineers (from left): Neyla Pekarek, Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz.

Last year, The Lumineers packed out two full nights at Ascend Amphitheater. This time, they’re back for one of their most intimate performances in years. Still riding high off of last year’s LP Cleopatra, you’ll definitely need to get there early to secure a good spot for this one. [LL]

WATCH | “Sleep On The Floor”

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Iron & Wine
11pm @ The Station Inn

Iron & Wine

Modern indie folk troubadour Sam Beam has watched his musical vehicle, Iron & Wine, soar since they first found success in the early ’00s.  He just released his sixth solo (and eighth counting his collaborative efforts) record, Beast Epic, on August 25 via Sub Pop, and it is a callback to some of his earlier work that put Beam and Iron & Wine on the map.  Have a listen to the single “Thomas County Line” below to get a taste, and, even though he just played Third Man Records’ Blue Room, we’d recommend that you try to queue up at Station Inn in advance of this one, as we expect it to be a packed house. [MH]

WATCH | “Thomas County Law”

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Colter Wall
12am @ The Basement

cw-slim

In just a year, Canadian country singer Colter Wall has become one of the most talked about rising artists in country and Americana. Although he’s just 21, his voice sounds like a mature mix of the genre’s oldest and best. Along with his talented pipes, Wall has some of the most impressive songwriting chops around. Do yourself a favor and see what all the buzz is about by heading to the Basement after hours. [LL]

WATCH | “Thirteen Silver Dollars”

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Blank Range
12am @ Third Man Records

Blank-Range-Americana

We’ve watched Blank Range grow from a budding and promising young band to true Nashville stalwarts over their 5 years in existence.  After two successful EPs and a slew of live gigs, the band finally released their debut full-length, Marooned With The Treasure, just last month, and it has a number of folks in Nashville talking about local record of the year nods.  Dig into the alt-country twang of their first single off the new record, “Opening Band,” to get a taste of the band’s laid back vibe. [MH]

WATCH | “Opening Band”

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***FRIDAY***

Rogue + Jaye
8pm @ Mercy Lounge

Rogue + Jaye-Americana

An exciting new project featuring some familiar faces, Rogue + Jaye is a new collaborative vehicle for Rogue Wave frontman Zach Rogue and longtime Nashville resident Courtney Jaye.  Jaye, now living in Los Angeles, teamed up with Rogue to release their debut LP, Pent Up, earlier this year, and the collaborative effort pulls from the strengths of both, dabbling in their pop and rock backgrounds with a touch of twang, while highlight their beautiful harmonies.  It’ll be a bit of a homecoming for Jaye on Friday night, but there’s a lot more reason to be at this show than seeing a familiar face.  [MH]

WATCH | “Golden Lady”

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Becca Mancari
8:30pm @ Cannery Ballroom

becca1

When she’s not jamming out with Bermuda Triangle, Becca Mancari is writing and performing some of the most insightful Americana tunes around. In October, she’ll drop Good Woman, her long-awaited debut album. Featuring the infectious and breezy “Summertime Mama,” which has earned a lot of independent radio love, don’t be surprised if the record is one of the big breakouts of the fall. [LL]

WATCH | “Summertime Mama”

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Amanda Shires
9pm @ The Station Inn

as-slim

Texas native Amanda Shires has earned critical acclaim for her 2016 record My Piece of Land. She’s up for Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2017 Americana Music Awards, but don’t let that fool you. She’s been performing alongside some of the genre’s biggest names since she was a kid. Watch her mesmerizing live show and experience the artistry for yourself.  [LL]

WATCH | “You Are My Home”

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Caamp
11pm @ The 5 Spot

CAAMP-Americana

Ohio based duo Caamp have seen a quick rise in their brief two years of existence.  Formed by friends Taylor Meier on guitar and Evan Westfall on banjo, the two beautifully harmonize vocals, and have a knack for their instruments and the timing of their songs that belie their years.  You’re going to be hearing a lot more about Caamp in the coming year, and you really should dig into their awesome self-titled debut which dropped last year to get in the know. [MH]

WATCH | “So Long Honey”

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***SATURDAY***

Darrin Bradbury
12pm @ Little Harpeth Brewing

Darrin Bradbury-Americana

Local songsmith Darrin Bradbury describes his genre as “Modern Americana / Folk Satirist / No-Point Storyteller.”  If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, then think of him this way, he’s the Americana version of The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle.  Still not getting the picture here?  Dig into his 2016 release Elmwood Park: A Slightly Melodic Audiobook, and ponder the first lyric, “Our love is like the meth lab in your mother’s basement….,” and we think you’ll get the picture.  Bradbury will be performing at the Cafe Rooster Records Party at Little Harpeth Brewing on Saturday, and, while we don’t have an exact set time for him, the rest of that afternoon bill features Aaron Lee Tasjan, Brian Wright, Jon Latham, and Ladies Gun Club, which is all the more reason to make a day out of it.  If you can’t start your day that early, Bradbury will perform his official showcase set at The Anchor at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. [MH]

WATCH | “True Love”

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Whitney Rose
8pm @ Mercy Lounge

wr-slim

Next month, Austin transplant Whitney Rose is set to release her third studio album, Rule 62. Produced by the Mavericks’ lead vocalist and guitarist Raul Malo, the LP features a modern but retro-inspired sound that’s influenced heavily by dreamy ’60s pop. With bitingly honest lyrics and plenty of personality, you’ll want to be among the first to hear these new tracks. [LL]

WATCH | “Better To My Baby”

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Skyway Man
9pm @ The Station Inn

Skyway-Man-Americana

Skyway Man is the new project of the uber talented multi-instrumentalist James Wallace, who found initial acclaim through his early releases as James Wallace And The Naked Light.  The new music is decidedly more experimental, and see Wallace blurring the genre lines from his folky past to his eclectically profound work in his latest LP Seen Comin’ From A Mighty Eye.  Wallace has been on the road a bit of late, and you can keep up with the cosmic folkster in his latest video for “Mighty Eye” documenting his recent travels to Japan. [MH]

WATCH | “We Both Have Nothing To Fear”

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Escondido
9:30pm @ Cannery Ballroom

e-slim

Veterans of the AmericanaFest circuit, Escondido are back with new music ready to go. Just last week, they dropped their haunting new track “Darkness.” Last year, they dropped their stellar EP Walking With a Stranger, marking their spot in the ever-growing local Americana scene. It’s safe to say their next release will turn a lot of heads, so cross your fingers that they’ll have a few new tracks added to this year’s set. [LL]

WATCH | “Try”

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Caroline Spence
10pm @ The Country

Caroline Spence.

If you missed out on Caroline Spence’s most recent record, Spades and Roses, you better redeem yourself by seeing her set this week. The project features some of the most honest and refreshing songwriting of the year, and Spence’s sweet but soulful vocals drive the narrative forward. If you’re looking for the next Emmylou Harris, look no further than Caroline Spence. [LL]

WATCH | “Hotel Amarillo”

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Liz Cooper & The Stampede
12am @ The High Watt

Liz-Cooper-The-Stampede-Americana

It’s been an interesting road for local badass Liz Cooper and her band The Stampede.  Cooper was pursuing a golf scholarship, before she became enamored by music, and found her way to Nashville, only to find herself working at a local country club.  However, a chance encounter with coworkers in another badass rising band, Future Thieves, and the rest is history in the making.  Her band has made a name for themselves with their unrelenting live act that not only shows off the rock chops of her band, but also highlights her darkly-lit songwriting.  Liz Cooper & The Stampede have a new record, Window Flowers, coming out soon, and this fitting end to your Saturday night will be just the opportunity to see what’s on deck for one of Nashville’s hottest bands. [MH]

WATCH | “Fondly & Forever” (Audiotree Far Out)

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***SUNDAY***

The Texas Gentlemen
12pm @ Fond Object Records

tg-slim

Not ready for the party to end? Head over to Fond Object for one last showcase featuring a stacked hangover healing bill, including Brian Wright, Hugh Masterson, The Band of Heathens, The Wild Reeds, and buzzed-about group The Texas Gentlemen. They’ll be celebrating the release of their debut record TX Jelly, which drops this week on New West Records, and provides a funky mix of soul, country and psych rock.  Based on an early listen, you’ll likely head home with a copy after hearing their set. [LL]

WATCH | “Habbie Doobie”

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[LL] Lorie Liebig
[MH] Matt Hall

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