We just wrapped up one of our favorite weeks of the year and after taking a few days to recharge, we wanted to share our favorite moments from AmericanaFest! With over 500 live performances to choose from, six days of panels, and lots of good hangs, AmericanaFest kept us movin' and groovin’.
Check out team BBR’s highlights below:
Billy Strings was the absolute highlight of my AmericanaFest experience, taking fans new and old on a psychedelic bluegrass experience that is unlike anything seen in the genre. Most notably, Billy’s set with Béla Fleck showed not only is he an amazing player, but well received by veterans of the genre all while bringing bluegrass to fans who would normally disregard string music.
In addition to Billy Strings, I had the pleasure to attend Fruition’s first AmericanaFest set and was floored. Mixing elements of folk, blues, rock and, soul, this band is incredibly versatile live and has you yearning for more. Also in one of my favorite venues, Cannery Ballroom, the energy was apparent from both the band and fans alike.
I saw Katie at her official showcase at High Watt. The room was justifiably packed and she put on an amazing show. The energy was incredible and I was crazy impressed with her vocals. If there's a "New Nashville" she's certainly the face of it.
Admittedly, I'm a little obsessed with the super group that is Our Native Daughters. I was lucky enough to see them kick off the Americana Awards show at The Ryman. Not only is the message incredibly powerful, but the talent stuffed into this one group is ridiculous.
In true AmericanaFest fashion, I got to witness an impromptu acoustic performance from rising newcomer Jade Bird following her panel with NPRs’s Lauren Onkey and Glassnote Records’ Daniel Glass. The discussion gave insight into what artist development looks like in 2019, but the real high note for me was hearing Bird sing “Lottery” for the small room. The raw energy of her acoustic performance blew me away and I love her rock-infused take on Americana music.
My favorite new discovery was LA based duo Mapache. They brought their delicate, stripped down tunes to the Analog. Drawing from folk, psychedelic, country, and Latin music, the bands unbelievable harmonies were extremely intimate and warm. It felt like I was sitting by a bonfire on the coast of California, listening to two best friends tell stories. Mapache effortlessly delivered nostalgic vibes with a modern twist and I was hooked immediately.
I got to see singer-songwriter, Anna Tivel, perform at The High Watt during Americana Fest and it was the perfect way to kick off the week. She played alongside her guitar player and told stories about each song. My favorite song she performed was “The Question.”
I also had the pleasure of seeing Kelsey Waldon Wednesday night at 3rd and Lindsley. She played songs off her upcoming album, giving the audience a sneak peek of what’s to come and it did not disappoint! Her strength as a songwriter was apparent as she sang songs about love, addiction, and heartbreak.