With over 200 artists playing AmericanaFest this third week of September, it can be a little bit intimidating for the folks either looking to attend in person, or experience the gathering vicariously through various social channels and video streams. So here is a curated list of artists battle tested and approved by Saving Country Music.
The AmericanaFest keeps piling on names for their annual gathering, causing you to seriously question your September plans if they don’t involve trekking to Nashville to take in this years festivities. After announcing the first 68 names in early May, another batch of performers has just been released, swelling the participants to a solid 121.
From crude videos taken on somebody’s phone, to full production videos with scripts and actors and sets, to animated shorts and everything in between, you never know what’s going to capture the imagination and become the perfect compliment to a song in the visual form. what breaks through the crush of visual material to be called the best in 2014?
Don Williams, First Aid Kit, Florida Georgia Line, Gary Nicholson, Ray Benson, Steelism, Sturgill Simpson, The Tillers, The Whiskey Shivers, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
Each year when Saving Country Music sits down to compile the best songs, it’s done so with a solemn reverence and understanding that the idea embedded in a song has the power to change a life, and change the world. There are many songs out there that are a joy to listen to, but a Song of the Year must say something that can evoke shivers, and do so in a way nobody else has done before.
Don Williams, Everything's Gone, First Aid Kit, Garry Nicholson, Hellbound Glory, Hurray For The Riff Raff, I Lost You, Jim Lauderdale, Joseph Huber, Leon Virgil Bowers, Lloyd Maines, Lydia Loveless, Parker Milsap, Ray Benson, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, The Body Electric, The Lonely Island, The Secret Sisters, Truck Stop Gospel, Turtles All the Way Down, Waitress Song, Wanchese & Manteo, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
Pickathon is the roots music experience like no other. It offers one of the most forward-thinking lineups in the independent festival circuit, is two steps ahead in featuring artists that are on the verge of becoming the next big thing, and presents the artist in some of the most unique settings to be found. Even if you can’t make it to the Northwest extremity of the country next weekend….
Charlie Parr, Chris Thile, Della Mae, John Doe, Jon Langford, Neko Case, NIckel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show, Possessed by Paul James, Robbie Fulks, Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, Shakey Graves, The Black Lillies, The Sadies, Valerie June, Willie Watson
Compared to albums, making picks of songs is such a tough, arbitrary business. This year seems especially tough, not because the field isn’t strong, but because many of the best moments are coming from unlikely sources, including a cadre of cover songs that despite the spirit of the “Best Songs” approach being about original compositions, seem almost criminal to omit.
Bob Wayne, Dierks Bentley, Don Williams, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Hellbound Glory, I'll Be Here In The Morning, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Karen Jonas, Kirsty Lee Akers, Leroy Virgil, Liberty Bell, Lonely Island, Matt Woods, Melody Williamson, Miranda Lambert, Parker Milsap, Red Eye Gravy, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Take Me Back, The Promise, The Secret Sisters, The Wall, There's No Country Here, Turtles All the Way Down, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, Zoe Muth
Willie Nelson’s private town called Luck, TX that sits on the edge of his ranch just west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country was heavily damaged in storms that moved through the area late last week. “Our beautiful Luck wasn’t so Lucky recently,” the Willie Nelson camp said in a statement, “Last week’s tornado force winds ripped several buildings apart…”
American Aquarium, Band of Brothers, Damaged, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Luck, Luck TX, Lukas Nelson, Nikki Lane, Shakey Graves, Shovels & Rope, Storm, SXSW, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, World Headquarters
On paper, nothing about this album should work. You can’t take one guy, and one guy only, no overdubs or band, just acoustic instruments and a cued mic and call it good. Not to mention that this is an album entirely consisting of covers and traditionals. So yeah, this isn’t Billy Bragg or Charlie Parr. I’m sorry, but that’s just not enough to hold the listener’s ear for an entire album. Or is it?
Saving Country Music was out and about Austin, TX and its outskirts over the past week or so as part of the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) gathering, pounding the pavement and looking for the next country music artist worthy of your ears that you may never otherwise hear about. In the coming months I look forward to taking some of these discoveries and sharing them with you.
American Aquarium, Brooklyn Country Cantina, Hurray For The Riff Raff, J.D. Wilkes, Legendary Shack Shakers, Lukas Nelson, Mickey Raphael, Nikki Lane, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Doores, Shovels & Rope, South by Southwest, Sturgill Simpson, SXSW, The Cactus Blossoms, The Defibulators, The Deslondes, The Dirt Daubers, Tim Easton, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
Oh you poor little non-SXSW goers, you’re social network feeds are about to get positively inundated with South By Southwest information, riddling your psyche with scores of free music events you’re unfortunately missing out on, resulting in an experience for you somewhere between the teasings of a cruel temptress, and Chinese water torture. Here’s a list of artists that all happen to be attending SXSW…
Andrew Combs, Caitlin Rose, David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jeremy Fetzer, John Fullbright, Lydia Loveless, Old Crow Medicine Show, Possessed by Paul James, Robbie Fulks, Robert Ellis, Shakey Graves, South by Southwest, Spencer Cullum, Steelism, Sturgill Simpson, SXSW, Townes Van Zandt, Turnpike Troubadours, Willie Watson