Another exciting night of Americana music has come to pass in Music City. As usual, an incredible litany of talent was showcased all over town, with the most active venue being the Mercy Lounge/High Watt/Cannery Row complex.
It was a night to try and catch acts in all three venues contained in this building, and the music did not disappoint. The tough decision was where to stay. It seemed the only logical conclusion was to roam around a little bit. Downstairs in the Cannery, New West Records was celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the much-celebrated record label with performances from their entire roster. I came in at the time Buddy Miller was onstage and delivering a scorching set that included guest performances with Rodney Crowell for two songs (including the classic "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight") and the McCrary Sisters. Some of the many, many great things about seeing Buddy Miller live is seeing how much he loves playing and experimenting with music, creating new sounds, and just watching how much he loves being on stage and performing. Every time I see his name advertised anywhere, I always do my best to check out his show. It's always worth the time, and you will always be entertained.
Next up was Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark, two old friends from Texas that recorded an album together 42 years ago and reunited to release an album this year called "Blind, Crippled and Crazy." McClinton is a legend in the music business, carving his legacy with crafting a hard, country-blues sound. Performing tunes that were largely from their album. Delbert and Glen put the scald on the Cannery, belting out some hard core blues such as "Been Around a Long Time" and the tongue-in-cheek "Peace in the Valley." The set closed off with a return appearance by the McCrary Sisters, additional back-up vocals on "Givin' It Up For Your Love", one of Delbert's all time best.
The final performance of the
night, at least for me, was the extended set delivered by The Bottle Rockets.
Where Delbert and Glen put the scald on down in the Cannery, The Bottle Rockets
burned the place down with arguably the best set I've attended at the Americana
Music Festival. The energy that was in the room was nothing short of
amazing, with band and audience feeding off each other in ways that are not
often replicated. Performing crowd favorites such as the guitar heavy
"Radar Gun" and "The Long Way", from the Lean Forward
album, to sing-alongs like "Welfare Music" and "$1,000
Car," the raucous crowd got the encore they were looking for with a
three song finale that included "Countin' On You" and "Take Me
To The Night."
With much respect to the
other performers that were to follow The Bottle Rockets, I left the venue after
their performance. There was no need to see anyone else, it wouldn't be
fair. The Bottle Rockets were on a rare level that no one was going to exceed
last night. Having said that, I do want to give special mention to Judah and the Lion, a group of young musicians whom I understand have just graduated
from Belmont University in Nashville. I caught a couple of their songs
earlier in the evening. They are an outstanding group of young musicians
who are well on their way to having a solid career. Do keep an eye on these young musicians, I
know I will be.