Sponsored by the Americana Music Association, the 20th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference features a broad range of music showcases from diverse musicians in alt-country, roots-rock, bluegrass, R&B, blues, folk and singer-songwriters, as well as dozens of daytime industry panels.
Produced jointly by WMOT Roots Radio, NPR Music, World Cafe and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) the 2019 AmericanaFest Day Stage will host a modern day parade of roots and country music greats from The Local in Nashville. Performances will be broadcast on WMOT with video webcasts on NPR Music and World Cafe via VuHaus.
Watch all the performances in the player above and check out the complete schedule (Central Time) and daily artist spotlights from WMOT below.
WMOT Artists Spotlight: Saturday, Sept. 14
12 p.m.: The Wood Brothers
Brothers Oliver and Chris Wood pursued separate music careers — Oliver played with Tinsley Ellis before founding the group King Johnson and Chris was part of Medeski Martin & Wood — for approximately 15 years before joining forces. In 2006, Blue Note Records released the brothers' debut, Ways Not To Lose, which explored elements of funk, folk, jazz, blues and soul. Oliver and Chris eventually relocated to Nashville and added multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix to the lineup. For the group's latest release, the self-produced One Drop of Truth, the band took a more experimental approach, recording each track without the constrictions of a set timeline. The Wood Brothers employed multiple mixing engineers for the final tracks, allowing each song to evolve as its own entity, like a collection of short films.
1 p.m.: Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley
The musical partnership of acoustic duo Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley is one of those only-in-Nashville stories. Guitar prodigy Ickes dominated the International Bluegrass Music Association's Dobro Player of the Year category for 15 years and played with Earl Scruggs, Alison Krauss, Merle Haggard and Reba McEntire. Hensley made his Opry debut at age 11 and later opened for iconic artists including Johnny Cash, Peter Frampton and Charlie Daniels. When the two musical phenoms joined forces, they recorded a debut album, the Grammy-nominated Before the Sun Goes Down, in a couple of days, capturing the raw energy of their magnetic live performance. The pair will release World Full of Blues, featuring cameos from Vince Gill and Taj Mahal, in October on Compass Records.
2 p.m.: Allison Moorer
On Oct. 25, Allison Moorer will release her first solo album in four years, Blood, followed by the release of her memoir of the same name. Moorer has never shied away from difficult subjects in her songwriting, including losing both of her parents as a teenager, or, more recently, her son's autism diagnosis. While Moorer found commercial success early in her career — she received an Academy Award nomination in 1999 for Best Original Song with "A Soft Place to Fall," — she never appeared to feel confined to the commercial country playbook. Instead, she followed her own artistic instincts wherever they led, creating a catalog of critically-acclaimed albums that have been welcomed by the Americana community. In fact, in 2002, Moorer penned a bio for the release of her album Miss Fortune that could be the Americana genre's manifesto: "Do me a favor — don't worry about what bin it's gonna go in at the record store."
3 p.m.: The Get Ahead
This family band of sorts — the band is comprised of two married couples, Juliet Howard and Nathan Earle, along with Angie and Danny Johnson, plus longtime friend Sean Farrell — The Get Ahead formed in 2012 in Portland, Oregon, with an intention to create music to make people dance. This birthed a fertile ground for experimentation in which the band explored elements of R&B, gospel and soul music, leading to their 2017 release, Mind Is a Mountain, which was produced by Son Little. Their latest offering, the melodic, psychedelic-tinged Deepest Light, manages to be simultaneously soul-searching and fun. And, true to the band's original intention, it's downright danceable.
4 p.m.: Jade Jackson
California native Jade Jackson started writing songs at the age of 13 and penned more than 300 songs before graduating high school. She also started performing publicly as a teenager, and a stripped-down coffeehouse performance caught the attention of Social Distortion's Mike Ness's wife and son, leading Ness to produce Jackson's debut album Gilded, released by ANTI- Records in 2017. Jackson's precocious, world-weary vocals have drawn comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Lydia Loveless. Her sophomore offering, Wilderness — also produced by Ness — captures a young artist making her way through the unknown.
5 p.m.: Drivin' N' Cryin'
Since 1985, Southern roots rockers Drivin' N' Cryin' have blurred the lines between hard rock, folk, country and alternative music, gaining a dedicated following that remains loyal to this day. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Kevn Kinney and bassist Tim Nielsen, the group quickly made a name for itself in Atlanta's thriving mid-'80s underground rock scene and enjoyed steady rotation on college radio before landing a record deal. Despite some commercial radio success, label issues plagued the band, and Drivin' N' Cryin' took a break while Kinney explored solo projects. Kinney and Nielsen reconnected in 2001, forming a new incarnation of the band, which later featured noted guitarists Sadler Vaden and Aaron Lee Tasjan, who produced Drivin' N' Cryin's 2019 album, Live the Love Beautiful.
Abby White, Nashville-based music correspondent for WMOT Roots Radio