Friday, October 21, 2011

New Friends, the Sequel

One of the truly great things that I appreciate about Nashville, and specifically about the Americana scene while I was in Nashville, is the real sense of community that is shared among the artists.  My initial reservations about attending the Americana Music Conference was short lived as I happened to come in contact with a fellow Canadian who now resides in Nashville and is working hard to promote a wonderfully talented Canadian artist trying to break through in Nashville and the United States as a whole.

At a showcase held at The Listening Room that was organized independently from the Americana Music Association Festival, I was introduced to three up-and-coming artists who we'll be seeing and hearing a lot of in the near future.  The one artist in this showcase that stood out in my mind was the talented Canadian I mentioned above.  

Hailing from the fertile musical ground of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Trevor Finlay has been in Nashville for the past few years showing Music City that he's there to stay.  Drawing from his many influences, which include guitar wizards like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and B.B. King, mixed with some Johnny Cash, Trevor delivers the kind of performance that gets you moving and feeling good in your soul.  His guitar prowess is powerful, reminiscent of another guitar wizard from Winnipeg, Randy Bachman.  It's not easy to master the slide guitar -- Trevor has it mastered and he gladly demonstrates this ability in his shows.  The clever original tune "Love, Peace and French Fry Grease" showcases Trevor's wonderful songwriting ability, making this emerging star the quintessential triple threat of singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. 

After releasing seven albums and receiving numerous awards from such respected bodies as the Toronto Blues Society, Trevor is preparing for his debut release in the United States sometime in early 2012.  We can all look forward to a long and extensive career from a fantastic artist who is continuing to grow his fan base and hone his craft.  Pay attention to this star on the rise.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Americana Music Festival Showcase Wrap Up -- Part 2

The final two nights of the Americana Music Festival bore two of the biggest surprises of the Festival Showcase's -- at least, for the shows that I personally attended.

Friday night October 14, 2011 found me at The Rutledge in Nashville, where I tucked in to see a couple of acts I had my eye on from the moment the lineup was announced.  Matraca Berg, arguably one of the top five songwriters in Nashville today (or any day for that matter) was performing at 9:00, while The Bottle Rockets were taking the stage at 11:00.  However, the first act of the night was surprise number one.

The Vespers are a four piece band comprised of two brothers (Taylor and Bruno Jones) and two sisters (Phoebe and Callie Cryar) from Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee respectively.  There really is nothing that sounds as wonderful as siblings performing in perfect harmony.  These four kids, all at or near their early-20's, can flat out play any instrument you can think of that has strings on it.  Working the upright bass, mandolin, ukulele, accordion, banjo, guitar, fiddle, piano, drums and electric bass in to a show and have it all happen seamlessly, is a task to behold.  The soaring harmonies of Phoebe and Callie Cryar are angelic.  Judging by the goose-bumps I had while watching this magnificent group perform the opening set, I can say with great confidence that The Vespers will be back at the Americana Music Festival and Conference, but on a much larger stage.  That stage will be at the Ryman Auditorium as a nominee for New and Emerging Artist at an upcoming Americana Music Awards ceremony.

As mentioned above, Matraca Berg has long been one of the most successful singer/songwriters in Nashville over the last 20 years.  Learning her craft from the late, great Harlan Howard, Matraca continues to be among the most sought-after writers in music today.  Performing songs from her recent Dualtone Records release, "The Dreaming Fields", Matraca held the packed Rutledge in the palm of her hand.  The crowd listened intently and respectively quiet as she told the stories behind the creation of such songs as "Oh, Cumberland", the title track, as well as her version of the tune co-written with Deana Carter, "You and Tequila."  Of course, "You and Tequila" recently became a big hit on the mainstream country charts for Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter.  Matraca closed off her set with one of her most recognizable songs, "Strawberry Wine" which was a 1997 award-winning hit for Deana Carter.

Eric Brace and Peter Cooper have taken a somewhat unconventional way to find themselves sharing a stage.  As music writers for The Washington Post and The Tennessean newspapers, they certainly had much in common when they met for the first time in Nashville.  However, from that first meeting one of the great duos of East Nashville music has evolved.  Brace and Cooper have tight harmonies that are very easy to listen to.  The clever songwriting and brilliant interaction between Brace and Cooper make for a really enjoyable show.  Check out their combined efforts, such as 2009's "You Don't Have To Like Them Both", as well as their respective solo projects on Red Beet Records

The Bottle Rockets are one of the bands that I took an interest in when I started this blog 18 months ago.  Veterans of the road, they are out touring in their 16th year of existence, supporting their latest release on Bloodshot Records, "Lean Forward,"  the Rockets took a stripped-down approach to their performance with guitar, bass and a wooden box for a drum.  The Bottle Rockets are a group of guys who love what they do and they bring the crowd along with them.  This was a really enjoyable performance with great music and great interaction with the band and those in attendance at The Rutledge.

The next and final night of the Festival Showcase found me at a variety of locations, thanks to the assistance of new found friends and fellow travelers.  Kicking off the night at The Basement, the second surprise of the week was waiting.  Six Shooter Records recording artists, The Deep Dark Woods,  garnered the most attention of the week (at least that I could see).  With Buddy Miller, Kenny Vaughan and Americana Music Association President Jed Hilly in attendance, it became quite clear that the packed house at The Basement was in for a good show.  And the boys from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan did not disappoint.  Rolling out new tunes from their latest Six Shooter release (released on Sugar Hill Records in the United States), "The Place I Left Behind", The Deep Dark Woods had the huge crowd in the palm of their hand.  There was a reason why the best in Americana came out to view this show.  This is another band I can promise will be playing the Americana Music Festival in Nashville again, and like The Vespers, it will be on the much bigger stage of the Ryman Auditorium.  The only difference is, I think we can expect to see The Deep Dark Woods on the Awards show next year as a nominee for New and Emerging Artist.  It would be tough not to give these young guys some strong consideration for that honor, to be sure.  This is an act I will be keeping an eye on over the course of the year.

My next stop on this final night was back to the Rutledge where Americana/indie veterans Blackie and The Rodeo Kings (BARK) took the stage.  Another fantastic Canadian band, BARK  took the stage for their first ever appearance at the Americana Music Festival, even as most of the band now reside in Nashville.  Interestingly, this show also brought over AMA President Jed Hilly.  With the president firmly entrenched in the show at the Rutledge, as well as some much deserved hype from my new found friends that I met over the week in Nashville, BARK delivered one of the best performances I had the pleasure of attending during the week.  Supporting their latest release, "Blackie and the Rodeo Kings -- Kings and Queens", the boys from Hamilton, Ontario tore the place up.  Among the many highlights of the night was a surprise appearance from Instrumentalist of the Year nominee, Carrie Rodriguez, as she joined BARK on stage for a stellar performance.  

The final performance of the 2011 Americana Music Festival took place where my festival week began, The Mercy Lounge.  From Austin, Texas, Deadman was a group that I had not heard of until earlier that same day as another new friend had mentioned that I should stop by and check them out.  For a group to close out the week, Deadman was an excellent choice as they delivered a stellar set of Texas music to a still lively crowd who had witnessed some of the best artists that Americana has to offer over the course of four days and nights.  Scanning the crowd, I witnessed such longtime Americana stalwarts as Jim Lauderdale and Raul Malo in attendance to take in this young band closing out the week.  Interestingly, that performance was Deadman's first appearance at the Festival.  It was an impressive debut to say the least and I look forward to more great work from this wonderful Texas band.  And, this was a great way to conclude the 2011 (and my first) Americana Music Conference and Festival

Congratulations and very, very well done, to all the performers I had the pleasure of watching this past week.  Look out for next year, this will be a tough act to follow.  I know there are artists out there who are up for the challenge.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Americana Music Festival Showcase Wrap Up -- Part 1

The Americana Music Festival wraps up today in Nashville, Tennessee after a truly amazing week of great music, moments and periods of great growth and learning (especially the latter for this writer).  Trying to capture and eloquently describe the great music that was performed here this week is a daunting task.  But, this week was about overcoming mountains, so tackling this particular challenge should be fairly easy.

It's hard to believe that the festival has come and gone so quickly, but here it is Sunday and while some have started to make their way back home, I'm in Nashville for one last day and we'll call this a day of rest.  The music festival portion kicked off on Wednesday evening, October 12 and I decided to focus on the proceedings at the Mercy Lounge.  Opening up the festival was a well-known veteran band from Austin, Texas, The Gourds.  Performing tracks from their newest release on Vanguard Records, "Old Mad Joy", this hard working group was the perfect choice to kick off the proceedings at the Mercy (other showcases would take place simultaneously in four additional venues as well).  Working older material in to the set list kept longtime fans of The Gourds rocking long after the boys had wrapped their set and gave way to another Texas veteran whom has reunited with a longtime songwriting and perfoming partner.  Sadly, I am not familiar with much of The Gourds material, but they were outstanding.  I look forward to learning more about The Gourds and catching up on their lengthy career and extensive catalog.

Following The Gourds was an artist nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year at the Americana Music Association Awards and longtime guitarist for Marty Stuart, Kenny Vaughan.  Mr. Vaughan is one of the most gifted musicians in the world today.  This was my first experience watching Kenny on his own, having watched him on a couple of occasions with Marty as one of the Fabulous Superlatives.  Performing tunes from his debut Sugar Hill Records release "V".  Mr. Vaugahn is, in a word, "Superlative."  He commands the stage with the presence of a veteran guitar player who is ready to introduce a whole other side of himself as a leading entity on stage.  This was a perfect kick start to what will be a very long and successful solo career.

Up next was an act that I grew up admiring in my teens.  Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd, commonly known as Foster and Lloyd, have made their mark as songwriters and performers in mainstream country and Americana music for decades, both as solo and collabortative artists.  Their commercial success in the mid-to-late 1980's introduced Foster and Lloyd to a wide audience, but sadly, the industry never did quite figure out how to categorize the act.  As I mentioned to one of Mr. Foster's assistants at the CD table, I believe Foster and Lloyd, and indeed Radney Foster on his own, were ahead of their time and the industry didn't know how to react to keep their momentum going.  Mainstream country's loss is Americana's gain, as Foster and Lloyd showed the packed Mercy Lounge that they still posess the magic that brought them to the big stage all those years ago.  Kicking off with the title track to their standout new album "It's Already Tomorrow", Foster and Lloyd rolled through tracks from the new album while dropping in old hits such as "Fair Shake" and "What Do You Want From Me This Time."  The crowd knew they were in for something special with Foster and Lloyd on the bill, and the boys did not disappoint.  It was a treat to watch a rare performance from both of these songwriting masters.

The next night found me at The Station Inn following the Americana Music Association Awards.  After watching one of the truly great moments in music history with the pairing of Gregg Allman and Robert Plant with many other standout Americana artists to perform "Glory, Glory Hallelujah" off the latest Allman album "Low Country Blues," anyone who came on stage was going to have a tough act to follow.  Many kudos to the job that Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore did at The Station Inn on Thursday night, it was not an easy task.  Mollie's soaring vocals with Rich providing the right harmonies and gentle guitar picking was a great change of pace from the Awards show.  Mixing elements of classic jazz, folk and a tinge of latin rhythm made for a truly great and interesting show.

The final act of the Thursday evening at The Station Inn was a true legend in the songwriting world.  JD Souther has long been associated as one of the pioneers of the southern California country-rock movement of the 1970's.  Frenquently collaborating with Don Henley and Glenn Frey, he helped craft some of the biggest hits of the 1970's and beyond with and for the Eagles.  Putting his own spin on such Eagles classics as "New Kid in Town", and filling the crowd in on the backstory of how "Heartache Tonight" was completed with Bob Seger was a rare treat.  His performance of the night was his rendition of his own hit "Only Lonely." 

The first two nights of the Americana Music Festival had shown the depth and variety of the music that exists in this particular genre.  It was only two days in and I had the great fortune to see some truly gifted artists and groups.  The next two days were met with great anticipation.  But, those shows will be dealt with tomorrow.

Until then my friends, have a good day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Day After -- Americana Music Association Awards Recap

Well, as the old saying goes, sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. The Americana Music Association held the 10th edition of their awards ceremony last night, honoring the best the genre had to offer in 2010/2011. The show itself was outstanding, a true celebration of the finest music created in the world today. There were many highlights which backed up the reason I love Nashville so much. There are things that you see on stage in this town that only happens in Nashville, Tennessee. If you have never been to Nashville, get your butt down here soon, this place is a gem.

Anyway, back to the show. Yesterday I made my predictions as to how the chips would fall during the proceedings, and honestly, I would stand by them today. This doesn't mean that my predictions were right ... I only connected on two of them. However, I feel this demonstrates the depth and quality of the talent and the projects that were up for consideration this year. I could have written another entire article with entirely different selections and made a great case for those other selections. Then, I could have written another, and another and so on ... all justifying why each of nominee deserved to win their respective awards. In the years I have been following music, I have never witnessed the depth of talent and quality that was up for consideration. The Association will be hard pressed to top the nominee list next year, but I feel the challenge can and will be met.
 The Instrumentalist of the Year went, to the surprise of no one I'm sure, to Buddy Miller. Buddy was once again the band leader for the Awards show and had ample time to showcase why he wins this award year after year.

Justin Townes Earle received the honor of Song of the Year for "Harlem River Blues", the title track to his latest Bloodshot Records release. All of the artists nominated in this category performed their song with the exception of The Decemberists with Gillian Welch as they were not present at the ceremony.

In what I felt was the first big surprise of the evening, The Avett Brothers picked up the award for Duo/Group of the Year. This isn't to say they are not deserving recipients. Everyone in this category had an excellent year, and The Avett Brothers are no exception. When I was making the call as to who would win this award, I felt that overall Mumford and Sons topped the other nominees over the course of the year. The Civil Wars have exploded on the scene and have brought new fans to the genre. They can look forward to a very long career in Americana.

The next surprise was in the New and Emerging Artist category. While I was convinced that The Civil Wars would pick up this award, as they clearly have emerged in a big way this year, the same argument can be made for the winner Mumford and Sons. Mumford and Sons were not present to accept the award but they did have their good friend Jerry Douglas accept on their behalf and read a statement from the group thanking everyone for their support. It is worth noting that Mumford and Sons' album "Sigh No More" is closing in on double-platinum status in the United States with sales approaching 2,000,000 copies. Mumford and Sons are currently on tour in North America.

The surprises in my mind kept coming for the next two awards. Yesterday, I said in this space that this would be the year of the Cook. The Association, while I'm loves Elizabeth Cook, decided otherwise. The Album of the Year was awarded to Robert Plant and the Band of Joy for their album "Band of Joy".  Again, a deserving win as a great case could be made for this album to receive this award.

The final award of the evening was also the most interesting choice. Buddy Miller walked away the big winner of the night with the Artist of the Year award, giving him a total of 3 awards for the evening when you include his participation in the Band of Joy album.

Receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards for their extensive careers and contributions to music are the following:

Executive -- Rick Hall

Instrumentalist -- Jerry Douglas

Songwriter -- Lucinda Williams

Trailblazer -- Bob Harris

Performer -- Gregg Allman

With the last award of the evening being presented to Gregg Allman for Lifetime Achievement, one of the most poignant moments of music (and I'm speaking personally here) followed with Gregg Allman performing the great Allman Brothers classic "Melissa" on center stage at the Ryman Auditorium. Mr. Allman sounded in fine form and the backup band sounded outstanding. Following this performance and at the invitation of Awards show host Jim Lauderdale, several artists took the stage to close the show out with a track from Gregg Allman's "Low Country Blues" album. Most notably, joining Gregg onstage was Robert Plant. Only in Nashville, Tennessee, and at the Mother Church of Country Music the Ryman Auditorium, could one witness two legends of the music world come together and close out a show.

I'll say it again. Man alive ... I love this town.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Predictions -- Putting it out There

This evening the Americana Music Association will acknowledge the accomplishments of their finest artists for the tenth time at the historic Ryman Auditorium. The Americana Music Association Awards recognize the best that the genre has to offer. Each year it gets tougher to pare the list down to the final four in each of the six categories, as evidenced by the number of stellar artists and album releases that were not nominated for awards (chief among them Gregg Allman’s stellar album, “Low Country Blues”). I feel confident in stating the belief that Americana hasn’t witnessed the mainstream exposure it’s been receiving since the days of the motion picture “O Brother Where Art Thou,” which was released ten years ago. Virtually all of the nominees have appeared on various daytime and late night talk shows, while receiving much love from various trade organizations and magazines. It is indeed time for a well-deserved celebration.

This will be the first year I have attended the awards, the second year making predictions as to how the awards will be doled-out at this evenings’ event. I expect a few surprises tonight as all of the nominated artists had a fantastic year and more than contributed to the overall growth and continued success. You will note from the list of nominees in the six categories that choosing just one winner would be no easy task for the voters. So, here we go with how I think the chips will fall tonight. Feel free to play along, leave a comment, and we’ll compare the results tomorrow. The nominees are:

Instrumentalist of the Year

Sarah Jarosz

Will Kimbrough

Buddy Miller

Gurf Morlix

Kenny Vaughan

The reign of Buddy Miller will continue in this category. His stellar album with Julie Miller, continued album work for many artists, and although it shouldn’t matter for this category (but I suspect it does factor in to some voters’ decisions), his many production credits over the year will put Buddy over the top in a field of excellent musicians.

New/Emerging Artist of the Year

The Civil Wars

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Mumford and Sons

The Secret Sisters

The future is very bright for Americana, as indicated by the list of nominees in the New/Emerging Artist category. Jessica Lea Mayfield spent the year opening shows for high profile Americana acts Justin Townes Earle and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. The Secret Sisters emerged with a new yet classic sound that only siblings can capture. But the category this year comes down to two acts who have pulled away from the field. The Civil Wars have recently emerged as a force in Americana, selling 150,000 copies of their debut album “Barton Hollow”, touring the country to packed houses, and appearing on various media outlets. While a great arguement could be made for Mumford and Sons to get the nod for this trophy tonight, The Civil Wars should pick up the win adding to their ever expanding list of public and industry accolades.  Which leads us to …

Duo/Group of the Year

The Avett Brothers

The Civil Wars

Mumford and Sons

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy

Again, this is an extremely tough category.  It really is nearly impossible to select just one artist, as they can conceivably all be acknowledged as the Duo or Group of the Year.  But tonight, the winner will be Mumford and Sons. To my knowledge, no group has captured the attention of such a large cross-section of the public around the world as has this British band.  Their appearance on last year's Grammy Awards with The Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan catapulted the boys from England in to the stratosphere. Their album "Sigh No More" is a runaway success the world over, and they have fans aged 8 to 80. Mumford and Sons will be around for a very long time and will receive what could be the first of many Duo or Group of the Year Awards by the Americana Music Association.

Song of the Year

"Down by the Water," Decemberists with Gillian Welch

"El Camino," Elizabeth Cook

"Harlem River Blues," Justin Townes Earle

"Kmag Yoyo," Hayes Carll

Again, this is a very tough category to pick just one. I do have this whittled down to two. “Harlem River Blues” is a great, spiritual rocker that kicks off his recent album of the same name. It perfectly sets the tone for an outstanding album, one which is nominated for album of the year. Elizabeth Cook’s “El Camino” is another fantastic tune, a fun song with a fabulous funky/psychedelic beat that captures Cook’s clever song writing to a tee. In this category, I’ll go with “Harlem River Blues” as AMA song of the year. But fear not Elizabeth Cook fans, two more categories remain … and I believe it will be the year of the Cook.

Album of the Year

Band of Joy, Robert Plant

Blessed, Lucinda Williams

Harlem River Blues, Justin Townes Earle

Welder, Elizabeth Cook

When I think of the great Americana albums that have been released this year, I have no idea how you go about whittling this down to a top four. Certainly, all of the above nominees deserve to be there. The Association got it right with the four albums in this category, but I think of other deserving albums such as the aforementioned Gregg Allman’s “Low Country Blues” and I think “Wow, what a great time we’re in right now for the state of Americana music.” All of these albums are excellent and are worthy of residence in your record collection. However, the Album of the Year in my mind, regardless of who was or wasn’t nominated, is “Welder”, by Elizabeth Cook. Cook really put her heart on her sleeve for this album, a record which in many ways is autobiographical. The album features lighthearted fare such as “El Camino”, to the heart-wrenching true story of “Heroin Addict Sister”, to the sad yet celebratory true story of “Mama’s Funeral.” This is the album of the year, and it could be the album of the year for any year. It’s that good.

Artist of the Year

Hayes Carll

Elizabeth Cook

Buddy Miller

Robert Plant

I’m sure by now you’ve figured out where I’m going with this. Taking nothing away from any of the accomplishments of Hayes Carll, Buddy Miller or the great Robert Plant, this has been Elizabeth Cook’s year in my mind. From her successful radio show “Apron Strings” on Sirius/XM’s Outlaw Country channel, to her landmark album “Welder”, to her constant touring and appearances on television and in print media, Elizabeth Cook has long been a torchbearer for Americana, roots based and country music. Ms. Cook continues to work hard to hone and refine her craft, while remaining a down-to-earth soul who will spend time with fans like they’re old friends. For these and many other excellent reasons, Elizabeth Cook will be so honored tonight as the Americana Music Association Artist of the Year.

It may sound cliché to say “it’s an honor to be nominated”, but this year I believe that statement holds true. Looking at the list of nominees, all can make an excellent case for winning their respective category. This years’ list of nominees shows exactly how strong the year was for Americana and provides an excellent road map of the future of this genre. Indeed, the future is very bright. I’m proud to be just a small part of it. Good luck to all the nominees this evening, and I’ll have the results up tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Day(s) Ahead

It was with much excitement that I left home and made my way to Nashville yesterday (October 10).  I have had the great fortune to visit many cities across North America, but Nashville is at the top of my favorite places to be.  There is a certain creative energy that exists in this city, one that can't really be described.  It's one of those things where you sum it up by saying, "You have to be there" if you want to fully understand it.  I acknowledge there are many great cities out there that have a creative energy of their own (New York, Chicago, Toronto), but the energy here is in a class all its own.

I'm in Nashville this week to attend the Americana Music Festival and Conference.  This is my first time attending such a conference.  I admit to having some butterflies.  I'll be sharing the company of people who work in this business for their living, some will have spent many decades in the music business.  My attendance this week has me in the role of the rookie in the Super Bowl ... I'm happy to be here, I'm thrilled to be taking this all in, and I hope to make a positive contribution when the time comes.  

I have three simple goals this week:  gather and share ideas on what can be offered on this blog, establish contacts to expand what's offered on this blog and write/share the daily events of this week.  There are many, many events happening around town this week both affiliated with the Americana Music Association and non-affiliated.  The week culminates with the pinnalce of the Associations' year as the Americana Music Association Awards take place on Thursday October 13.  Watch for the predictions piece tomorrow.

I have spent the morning crafting my agenda for the upcoming days, and it's pretty stacked.  Conference week starts at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon, and we hit the ground running.  For the rest of the day though, I'm going to take in the music history of Nashville.  I'm off to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and cap off the day with a performance of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Man alive, this is a great town!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nashville Bound!!

I'll consider this week a bit of a milestone for this blog space.  As some of you read this on October 10 I'll be in the air, on route to Nashville, Tennessee to attend my first Americana Music Association Conference and Music Festival.  Nashville is a really special city.  If you love music, any genre of music, Nashville is a place to visit, enjoy and appreciate.  Nashville earns its moniker of "Music City USA" for good reason.  This is where the finest songwriters and musicians, the famous and not-so-famous, and fresh-faced music rookies all ply their trade.  I'm very much looking forward to attending this Conference and Festival.

I've been paying close attention to the Americana Music Association website for the past several weeks as the Conference schedule and Showcase lineup has grown and expanded over time.  My first thought is, "Sweet Jesus, this could be overwhelming ... there is a TON of stuff to do and try to take in."  However, I feel more than up for the challenge to attend as many of the sessions as I can, and attend as many showcase events as I can.  Yes, it is mostly about the music, but I am there to learn as much as I can in a week as well.  I am a proud member of the Americana Music Association and my ultimate goal is to see what more I can do to showcase the great art that is Americana music.  The week itself reaches a pinnacle on Thursday evening as the 10th annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards ceremony takes place at the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium.  

I invite all of you who visit this site to come back often, especially this week, as I'll be submitting blog pieces every day on my upcoming adventure.  I'll be writing about the daily events, the Showcase's that I've attended the night before, and a couple of extra features as well.  On Wednesday morning, look for a piece on my visit to the Tuesday night broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry and on Thursday morning, I'll be stating my predictions for that evenings Americana Music Association Awards, with the Awards recap on Friday morning.  

It's going to be an exciting week and I'm really looking forward to sharing this experience with you.  If anyone reading this is attending, I hope to see you in Nashville!!