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So, Americana Fest 2016 is winding down... what's that? It's just Thursday morning... oh good god!
Night 2: After work, I made about a fifteen minute pit stop at my home to change clothes and grab a bite before heading to The 5 Spot to catch Renee Wahl and The Sworn Secrets open up Amelia White's Residency. Renee is one my absolute favorites, and I could listen to her all day long. Next up, Ted Russell Camp played a few and then joined the Blu Souvenirs for Amelia White's set. This week, Amelia was joined by Jon Byrd for several songs, and this is a combination I definitely want to hear more often.
As that show was ending, I headed across the river to The City Winery Nashville. There was a large East Nashville-centric contingent in the audience for Darrin Bradbury's Official Americana Fest Showcase debut. He was backed by a killer band - Derek Hoke, Megan Palmer, Cameron Carrus, and Matty Alger.
If I may... So, Darrin and I often recall the night we first met in person (at Bongo East) - he had just recently moved out of his car and into an apartment (which he would soon have to vacate after coming home from a tour and finding a bullet hole in his wall), and I was entering a new and uncertain phase of my life. But, last night I was recalling and even earlier time. As I have mentioned, I had written about Darrin's old band - Big Wilson River a couple of year previous to all of this, but they were in the process of breaking up, and I didn't connect with Darrin at that time. In November of 2013, my friend and fellow music blogger David Horton sent me a message and said that Darrin Bradbury was moving to Nashville, and that I should look out for him. Around that same time, a friend on Facebook posted something about how there weren't any "pure" songwriters like John Prine/Guy Clark etc.... these days... while today, I would have many examples to give him - I just didn't at that time. But, after David Horton's message, I went on-line and checked out Darrin's music. One of the first things I listened to was a (now unavailable) collections called The Almost Great Crepes (Demos). As I listened, I immediate knew that my friends observation was dead wrong. I began writing about Darrin - a lot, and after our initial meeting, in the first six months or so after that, I probably saw him play on average 3 or more times a week. I heard "True Love" and other songs more times than I could count, and I knew I was in the presence of greatness - even when I was watching him with 10 or 12 other people in some sketchy venue. Yesterday, Darrin played a song at The Country Music Hall of Fame and (finally back to my original post) had an official AMA Showcase at The City Winery (a decidedly unsketchy place), and I watch a whole group of people experience his music for the first time, and you know what, they got it! The same way I got it almost three years before. And they got it because Darrin Bradbury owned the moment - as he usually does regardless of the venue or the number of people). His performance of "Elmwood Park" was, I think, a watershed moment for him - and all of the record labels that passed on his latest album should be kicking themselves hard. "Elmwood Park" is the title track to Darrin's latest album which was recently released by Cafe Rooster Records. I know I am gushing just a little, but I had goosebumps watching the performance last night - even hearing "True Love" for probably the 900th time.
James McMurtry was up next, and he was as incredible live as he has been the other times I have seen him. "Choctaw Bingo" "Painting By Numbers" etc. Incredible.
After his set, we headed back across the river and back to The 5 Spot to catch the tail end of Tim Easton's Showcase and to hear his duet with Megan Palmer who also crossed the river.
I am running on fumes today, and I have a full night ahead of me. It all begins at 5:00pm at The 5 Spot for the fourth week of The Mark Robinson Showband and Rhythm Revue Residency which happens to be an official AMA event this year. Mark and his incredible band - Daniel Seymour and Rick Schell will be joined by David Olney and RB Morris - two of the absolute best poets/songwriters I have ever heard. I know there is a lot going on - but seriously this is one that I am not going to miss.
After that, my plans are kind of still up in the air - as I am overwhelmed by choices. I will alert you that Austin Lucas is playing ACME Feed and Seed at 7pm and that Jon Latham will be singing a song or two with him. Also, Brian Wright showcases at The Basement East at Midnight. After seeing him destroy with ALT and Friends on Tuesday, I am thinking this is going to be an epic night. Green Room Music Source is hosting an AMA Showcase night at the American Legion Post 82. Tommy Womack is heading a non-official night at Mad Donnas. Other non-official shows at Douglas Corner. Official shows all over town - including John Moreland, Wanda Jackson and more at 3rd and Lindsley... and far to many other things to mention. Which is why I am overwhelmed.
It's Thursday - let's throw things back with a shuffle that is part Americanaesque and part not Americanaesque.
"Leaving Here" by Motorhead
How about Motorhead doing the Holland-Dozier-Holland song that was also covered by The Who. Seems like Americana to me.
"Dragon Flies" by The Reivers
Next up, the first of two tracks from Pop Beloved by the band formerly known as Zeitgeist.
"How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
Dan Hicks passed away earlier this year. This is one of his well-known songs from his debut album - Original Recordings aka Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
"The Phone Call" by The Pretenders
This is the second track off of the classic 1980 debut album by the British-American band The Pretenders.
"Shutup" by The Replacements
Oh just shutup and listen to The Replacements off of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. To blatantly rip-off Jim Lauderdale - Now, That is Americana!
"The Weight" by The Band
What can I say... from Music From Big Pink. Written by Robbie Robertson - lead vocals by Rick Danko and Levon Helm. 1968.
"Keep Me Guessing" by The Reivers
Another from Pop Beloved.
"Hole in the Ground" by The Mekons
In 1987, Americana was not even a gleam in the eye. British punk band, The Mekons were a decade into their long run that continues to this day, and they released Honky Tonkin' which came out two years after Fear and Whiskey which was reasonably qualifies as one of the first Alt-Country albums.
"B Movie" by Elvis Costello and The Attractions
Elvis Costello is another British artist. In 1981, he recorded an album (Almost Blue) in Nashville that was made up of classic country covers. This, though, is a track from his 1980 album, Get Happy!
"Let's Go Dancing" by Drivin' N' Cryin'
And a great way to take things out. Kevn Kinney and company with one of my favorite songs, "Let's Go Dancing" from 1991's Fly Me Courageous.