One of the reasons we feel so surprised at Americana’s success and so many have been so slow to recognize it is because it has been a slow and steady process. Because of Americana’s model of sustainability, the revolution has been plodding, yet purposeful. And now it’s success is palpable, and measurable by industry-standard metrics.
In January of 2016, Saving Country Music published an article explaining how 2016 Could Be 1975 All Over Again in country music—how an upsurge in more traditional and substantive talent and music could really take hold in country, from the independent realm to the mainstream. And that is exactly what we’ve seen as 2016 has progressed.
With absolutely no hyperbole intended, William Michael Morgan earning a #1 on country radio for his debut single “I Met A Girl” is a historic moment in country music. It’s a point in time when an undeniably traditional country song from an undeniably traditional country artist has topped the chart after a long vacancy for a traditionalist at the top spot.
AmericanaFest is one of the biggest annual gathering of the tribes on the roots music calendar, and the crown jewel is the Americana Awards on the Wednesday of the festival week. This year Saving Country Music showed up early to take in the rehearsal for the festivities taking place at the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium.
The reigning king of Americana music at the moment is arguably songwriter and performer Jason Isbell. But Jason Isbell will not be performing at Americana’s annual premier event every year—The Americana Music Conference, or AmericanaFest, that transpires September 20th through 25th in downtown Nashville.
Sturgill Simpson is currently in the running and being voted on by members of the Country Music Association for three of the 50th Anniversary presentation’s biggest prizes. Also surprising since she’s not on a major label, Margo Price has made the top 20 females being considered for Female Vocalist of the Year.
If someone is apt to not pay attention to female artists, whether that’s a garden variety country fan or a major label executive, bunching female artists together is probably not going to garner their attention, it’s probably going to turn them off even more, especially if the premise of putting these artists together is an attempt to break through a gender bias.
There are bigger festivals. This is for sure. And there are bigger performers and headliners. But few festivals can boast the ability to not just support worthy music from a wide swath of the American audio palette, but truly launch major careers for artists that go on to have an international impact—artists that music needs.
Alvvays, Alynda Segarra, C.W. Stoneking, Cahalen Morrison, Caleb Klauder, Foghorn Stringband, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jeff Tweedy, Jessica Wilkes, Kacy & Clayton, Kevin Black, Margo Price, Pickathon, Red Yarn Band, The Deslondes, The Wild Reeds, Vhol, Western Centuries
Willie Nelson, along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews are the board members for the Farm Aid organization first launched in 1985, and all four will be performing at this year’s event being held in Bristow, Virginia at Jiffy Lube Live on September 17th. Along with the four headliners, this year’s Farm Aid features an impressive list of country music talent.
Carlene Carter, Dave Matthews, Farm Aid, Jamey Johnson, John Mellencamp, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Neil Young, Sturgill Simpson, Tim Reynolds, Willie Nelson
Believe it or not, you can draw a straight line between underground roots music, and Chris Stapleton becoming the most successful country music artist in the last two years in regards to awards and album sales. Let me explain how:
This year the event will be held for the second year in a row at the Austin 360 Amphitheater on the grounds of the Circuit of the America’s Formula 1 raceway just outside of Austin, and will feature an impressive list of talent, from Picnic mainstays like Johnny Bush, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and David Allan Coe, to newcomers such as Margo Price and Shakey Graves.
2016, Amber Digby, Asleep at the Wheel, Billy Joe Shaver, Brantley Gilbert, Cody Johnson, Dallas Wayne, David Allan Coe, Folk Uke, Jamestown Revival, Jamey Johnson featuring special guest Alison Krauss, Johnny Bush, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack, Leon Russell, Margo Price, Paula Nelson, Raelyn Nelson Band, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shakey Graves, Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic
Early Wednesday evening (5/11), the nominees for the 2016 Americana Music Awards were announced via NPR’s live stream from the historic Mansion on O Street in Washington, DC. The event was hosted by the Milk Carton Kids, and featured performances from multiple Americana artists.
This is not another article about Chris Stapleton. This is an article about mainstream American country music radio. Yes, Chris Stapleton won big, again. But Chris Stapleton’s impact still remains paltry on mainstream country radio. The question is, will country radio listen? Or will country radio be left with anybody listening to it?
Margo Price has now officially pulled off the mother of all coup d’Ã©tats for an independent country artist. Announced on Thursday (3/31), she will be the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live on April 9th. But I have to be honest with you: this all feels like too much, too soon for Margo Price.
For the last few years, one of the fixtures of East Nashville has been country throwback singer and songwriter Margo Price. And thanks to another oddball of the Nashville music scene—Jack White and his Third Man Records—Margo was plucked out of The 5 Spot and the other East Nashville dives, and is getting her shot at the big time.
It took the death of four people and dozens of others injured after a drunken madman ran his car through a crowded downtown Austin street in 2014, as well as a completely clusterfucked permitting system by the City of Austin so mired in red tape it takes months of dedicated manpower to actually put on a show, but it appears that SXSW has finally reached a point where the annual event has stopped growing uncontrollably.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Al Scorch, Andrew Combs, Daniel Antopolsky, Heartworn Highways Revisited, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jonny Fritz, Luck TX, Luke Winslow-King, Margo Price, Michaela Anne, Parker Millsap, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robbie Fulks, Robert Ellis, Sam Outlaw, Sam Quinn, SXSW, The Black Lillies, The Wild Reeds, The Yawpers, Townes Van Zandt
It’s not the usual train of events for a multi Grammy-winning and double CMA-awarded major label country artist to play South by Southwest for the first time some three years after first attaining major success, but that’s what Kacey Musgraves is experiencing this week as she shimmies through traffic snarls like everyone else to make appearances during Austin’s biggest annual music gathering.
The longest tenured member of Sturgill Simpson’s band has moved on. After a few weeks of chatter about how he may not be making Sturgill’s next tour, bass player Kevin Black officially announced Tuesday (3/15) that he will no longer be a part of Sturgill’s band moving forward.
With Letterman’s retirement, the concern was this once important roots music outlet on television would dry up. But since Stephen Colbert has taken the reigns at The Late Show, quite the opposite has happened. Monday night (2-1), critically-acclaimed songwriter John Moreland will be making his network television debut from the Ed Sullivan Theater courtesy of Stephen Colbert.
The only thing that sucked about Margo Price’s performance Tuesday night (1-19) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is that her debut album is not due out until March 25th. It will be a cold, dark two months of toiling in the winter bleakness until traditional country fans will be delivered their reward for patience in the form of ‘Midwest Farmer’s Daughter’ through Jack White’s Third Man Records.