With more than 150 acts rolling into Nashville for the 14th annual Americana Music Festival Sept. 15–20, Music City becomes Roots Music City for the week. While there are plenty of “don’t miss” performances, such as:
- The Mavericks
Thurs., Sept. 17, Music City Roots, 7 p.m.
- Ry Cooder, Sharon White, Ricky Skaggs
Thurs., Sept. 17, 3rd & Lindsley, 10 p.m.
- Lee Ann Womack
Fri., Sept. 18, 3rd & Lindsley, 9 p.m.
- Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch
Sat., Sept. 19, Ascend Amphitheater, 4:45 p.m.
. . . don’t be afraid to add some fresh show-stoppers to your itinerary.
Yes, it’s impossible to see every show, (you’d need the ability to time-warp), but Nash Country Weekly editors Jon Freeman and Jim Casey have you covered. Here are eight of their must-see picks for the week.
|Jim & Jon’s 2015 Americana Music Fest Picks|
|Jim’s Picks||Jon’s Picks|
|Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Husband and wife by day, banjo virtuosos by night—this musical relationship will make you believe in the perfect marriage. But you still won’t believe how fast they pick those banjos.
|Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Sept. 16 at 10 p.m.
Americana now encompasses soul revivalists like this Colorado-based band, which gave a knockout performance of their single “S.O.B.” on The Tonight Show in August. It’s a bit like Van Morrison fronting the killer rhythm section of Booker T. & the MGs, but with a bigger beard.
|Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen
Sept. 17 at 11 p.m.
Texas country mainstays Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen were bros before bro-country, and their new album, Hold My Beer: Vol. 1, is the perfect microcosm of everything that’s good about friends collaborating, from the cover of Willie and Merle’s “Reasons to Quit” to the happy-go-lucky “Lady Bug.”
Sept. 17 at 10 p.m.
The High Watt
Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega’s latest album, Faded Gloryville, mixes Dolly-style traditionalism and storytelling with some gritty Muscle Shoals groove (including a cover of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody”) and a voice that sounds like heartbreak.
Sept. 18 at 9 p.m.
Part 1870s cowboy, part 1970s alt-county honky-tonker, Canadian Corb Lund can spin a narrative yarn as well as weave them into a kickass album, just like his new offering, Things That Can’t Be Undone, which drops on Oct. 9.
Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.
3rd & Lindsley, 8 p.m.
Sam dubs his music “SoCal Country,” owing to his Los Angeles home base and his excellent 2015 album, Angeleno, found the sweet spot where ‘90s country music could happily intermingle with Laurel Canyon-style songwriting and mariachi horns.
Sept. 18 at 12 a.m.
The Station Inn
The hard-drivin’ Carolina string band blends traditional bluegrass with a modern sound that’s raw and edgy and awesome. With an authentic delivery and stellar songwriting, you can feel this bluegrass in your bones.
Sept. 18 at 10 p.m.
3rd & Lindsley
Anyone lamenting the lack of modern country outlaws should hasten to see Whitey Morgan, the hulking, blue-collar Michigan native who writes and sings like he chugs Wild Turkey for breakfast. He’s as tough and uncompromising as they come, like any good outlaw should be.