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Roseanne Cash

A 10th year anniversary is a big deal for anybody, but especially for the Americana Music Festival & Conference. Born into the gap between country and rock, Americana stands for everything in between. Whether bluegrass or blues, roots rock, alt-country or mountain music, folk or something in-between, Americana embraces a wide variety of musical styles, with or even without a name.


This year’s festival was a true celebration, a defining moment for an organization that has consistently nurtured and stood up for a formerly scattered community of artists. No longer orphans, the uncompromising artists, songwriters, musicians and producers came home to Nashville again this year, bringing with them their unique sounds, instruments, and sometimes, looks.Radney Foster


Opening the affair as the keynote speaker was Roseanne Cash, who sat down to speak about her dad Johnny Cash, and the legacy of 100 songs that he gave her as a gift in 1973. Now, she has released a not-to-be-missed album of some of those songs called The List.


Another moving event was held at the Country Music Hall Of Fame, where Behind the Confessions: Radney Foster’s Revival was screened. The songs on Foster’s new album represent some of the most personal songs that he has ever written. They were born out of both happiness and tragedy- first, his son’s return after 13 years in France, and then, the death of his father. The Ford Theatre was packed with Radney’s family and friends, who turned out to celebrate the release of the record and the film, which also features appearances by Keith Urban, Jack Ingram, Joe Ely, Vince Gill and others.

Sam Bush


Many other fantastic artists played around town during the four-day event, and if you’ve never heard of them, you’ve got to fix that immediately! Australian songstress Kasey Chambers and her husband Shane Nicholson played, as did The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sam Bush, (sometimes called the “King of Newgrass”), Steve Earle’s son Justin Townes Earle, John Fogerty, Grayson Capps, Hayes Carll, Band of Heathens, Elizabeth Cook, Cross Country Ragweed, Canadian newcomers Luke Doucet and Oh, Susanna, and Sweden’s blonde and beautiful sister act Baskery were among the many amazing artists who performed.


A special treat was an intensive Justin Townes Earlsongwriting session with 2005 Americana New/Emerging artist of the year Mary Gauthier and 2007 Song of the year recipient Darryl Scott. Check this out, folks! The pair, joined by Beth Neilsen Chapman, will be conducting a special workshop December 26- January 2, 2010 at the Pura Vida Yoga Spa in Costa Rica and YOU can attend. What a splendid way to welcome in a new year and a new decade.


One of the highlights of the Americana Conference is the Annual Honors & Awards Ceremony, this year celebrating its 8th edition, featuring host Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller’s house band, and special guest performers including the great Asleep at the Wheel, Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Reckless Kelly, Band of Heathens, Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles, Raul Malo, Rodney Crowell, The Flatlanders, plus so many more. 

John Prine, Mary Gauthier, Nancy Griffith


Lauderdale, who served as master of ceremonies, began the night by singing with Miller, even delivering a tongue-in-cheek, Broadway-style, over-the-top number called That's Americana. "It's bluegrass, country, folk and blues. It's Gram, Townes, Rodney and Patty, and of course, there's Emmylou,” he said.


The show was tremendous, and tremendously long. But who cares with so much amazing music to listen to?


Buddy Miller and his wife Julie, won both the top album and duo/group awards. Julie's self-penned Chalk won the Song of the Year trophy, and Buddy triumphed as Artist of the Year. In the Americana world, this is the equivalent of winning a Grammy. And speaking of the Grammy’s, this year, for the very first time, Americana music will have a Grammy Award of its very own. Ken Levitan, Emmy Lou Harris


In case you think that the Americana Conference is only about playing music, you are so wrong. It’s also a hotbed of education about the music business. “David vs. Goliath? The Battle Over Radio Performance Royalties”, “How To Write a Press Release”, “Music in Movies, TV and Advertising”, and most importantly, “The Future of the Americana Artist” are only a few of the many important topics discussed.


The 2010 Americana Conference will happen once again next September in Nashville, TN. Don’t miss it! 


For more about the Americana Music Association, go to their website at / Issue 116 - September 2555
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