Nashville Calling: An Intimate And Exhilarating Experience At The Americana Music Festival And Conference
It’s an extraordinary thing, this place called Nashville. So extraordinary in fact that only Nashville could host an extraordinary event like the Americana Music Festival and Conference. While some might argue that New York, L.A. or Austin could also be the perfect nurturing grounds for an event like this which blends business with ballyhoo, there can be no doubt that Nashville is the ideal place, at the ideal time. Besides, Austin has South By Southwest (simply abbreviated to “South By” by its many veterans… and here in Nashville you do run into quite a few), and New York and L.A. have a monopoly on practically everything else. Yet when you’re talking Americana, you’re talking country (and, okay, blues, Gospel and R&B), and so where else can you host an event that gives such nods to tradition? Where indeed? It’s here that Hank Williams — gone some 60 years plus at this point — is still revered, and his logical descendants — Buddy Miller, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale, and hell, practically everyone who packs a guitar and a dream in this town — is respected, admired, encouraged to become part of his continuing, living legacy.
Though more than a dozen years in existence, the Americana Music Association’s annual event continues to grow in size, pride and prestige each year, its honours and recognition growing well beyond the city limits to embrace those of like-minded musicality far and wide. There are entire showcases, spotlights and barbecues (of course… this is Tennessee after all) devoted to Americana done Aussie-style or with a Brit beat and attitude. Several in fact. And the point made is the fact that it doesn’t take a fondness for over-sized cowboy hats, big boots, down-home rural charms, or even the sweetest Southern accent imaginable, to grasp an appreciation for the wide terrain that Americana now embraces. It takes only a willingness to appreciate, and a heart and a head open to its sounds. And if that means getting up and dancing like you’re at a hoedown, or shedding a few furtive tears while hearing an especially sad refrain, then so be it. Americana is here, it’s always been here, and it sure as hell ain’t going away.
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