This week’s edition of Americana World Headquarters is a report from last week’s Americana Music Association Conference and Festival in Nashville. The event kicks off with the Americana Music Awards and Honors at the historic Ryman Auditorium with emcee Jim Lauderdale and an all-star house band led by Buddy Miller backing up award nominees and Lifetime Achievement honorees like Duane Eddy and Doctor John. Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter gave a touching solo rendition of "Ripple," his first public performance in 10 years. Stephen Stills tore into "For What It’s Worth," supported by Buffalo Springfield bandmate Ritchie Furay and current accomplice in The Rides, Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The night’s big winners were Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell for Duo/Group and Album of the Year. You can hear the entire show on the NPR Music site.
Then it was on to 4 nights of showcases featuring 120 acts in 7 venues. Intimate by SXSW standards, perhaps, but still there was a lot of great music from which to choose. Highlights included The Greencards at the Station Inn, Richard Thompson at 3rd & Lindsley, and a blistering set by Oklahoma’s John Fullbright at the Cannery Ballroom, debuting brilliant new songs from his forthcoming second album.
Daytime conference sessions let out to fun yard parties at cool indie record stores, The Groove and Grimey’s. Ruth Moody debuted songs from her new album, These Wilder Things, at the Breakout West Party. One of the best attended events was hosted by Lone Star Music magazine, featuring Amanda Shires. The most intriguing event was a party at Jack White’s Third Man Records to introduce The Rise and Fall of the Paramount, a limited edition release of hundreds of jazz and blues songs from 1922-32, delivered on vinyl and USB and housed in a handsome handmade case, curated in partnership with Austin’s Revenant Records.
Photo Courtesy of Ruth Moody