The Americana Music Festival is known for bringing legendary acts to Nashville as Americana Showcase performers and 2012 is no exception, with acts like Billy Joe Shaver, Richard Thompson, and Buddy Miller performing. But half the fun of Americanafest is discovering new talent you’ve never heard before, a young group you get to see a year or two before they start showing up on the awards shows. Whether it’s the young act playing before the legend you came to see or a group you just saw on a whim, the future of Americana music is bright and on display at Americanafest 2012.
Between shows by Sam Bush and Jim Lauderdale, catch these 5 up and comers who are set to make up the next generation of Americana superstars.
While only together for 5 years, American Aquarium already have 5 albums and hundreds of shows under their belts. This Raleigh, NC collective has impressed audiences at numerous festivals, including past Americana Music Festivals. The songs on their 5 albums deftly move from John Mellencamp-esque small town rock swagger to quiet songs with deeply penetrating lyrics. American Aquarium performs Friday, September 14 at The Basement. They share a bill with Caitlin Harnett, Cory Branan, Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys, and Buxton.
Jill Andrews is another artist who, while young, is already a seasoned veteran performer. She made her name as a part of buzzmaking Johnson City, Tennessee duo The Everybodyfields and more recently has ventured out on her own with her full-length debut album “The Mirror.” Andrews’ voice is one of the best in Americana music and her lyrics can swing from sweet to cutting on a dime. Jill Andrews will perform Saturday, September 15 at High Watt. She shares a bill with Derek Hoke and Kasey Anderson and the Honkies.
The Deep Dark Woods
If you want an example of the benefit of catching smaller or less known acts at Americanafest, The Deep Dark Woods are it. This young Canadian group came out of nowhere to put together one of the most talked about performances of the 2011 festival. They have capitalized on that momentum in 2012, playing high profile festivals like Bonnaroo and snagging an Americana Music Award nomination for Emerging Artist. The Deep Dark Woods will perform at The Basement on Thursday, September 13. Also on the lineup that night are Lydia Loveless, Angel Snow, Sons of Fathers, and The Black Lillies.
Shovels & Rope
While only together as a band since 2010, Shovels & Rope members Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent are both seasoned industry veterans. After stints in each others’ solo bands, this two piece act took to the road as Shovels & Rope and have parlayed their musical history into coveted opening slots for Americana heavyweights like Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell, and Hayes Carll. Shovels & Rope will perform at The Basement on Wednesday, September 12. They will be joined on the bill by Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside and Blue Mountain.
As individuals, the members of The McCrary Sisters are all seasoned industry veterans, playing with superstars like Bob Dylan, Mike Farris, and Buddy Miller. Ann McCrary started her musical career at age 3, performing alongside her father Samuel McCrary of The Fairfield Four. Recording their first album together in 2011, The McCrary Sisters put together a gospel music supergroup made entirely of siblings. The McCrary Sisters will perform Friday, September 14 at The Station Inn. Also on the lineup will be Red June, Della Mae, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Humming House.