Americanafest 2014 closes officially today, with only a handful of events conducted during the day (Sunday) around Nashville in the lead-up to tonight’s headline concert by Lucinda Williams.
A walk to the Country Music Hall of Fame was the first order of the day where we browsed through the extensive gift shop, before making off to The Frothy Monkey for lunch. A cab ride took us to The Blue Bar where Sounds Australia was holding its farewell bash – The Sister City Jam. The bill was long (around twenty artist, with many Australian artists showcased with a mini-set each (three or four songs). We arrived to see Oxford & Co and then enjoyed Melody Pool, Jemma Nicole, Mia Ray, Kirsty Akers, Kevin Bennett, Helen Shanahan, John Flanagan, Sue Ray (with Anne McCue). The president of the Americana Music Association, expat. Australian Mark Moffatt was there and a lifetime achievement award was presented to music promoter Jeff Walker. An enjoyable afternoon surrounded by fellow countrymen. Oh and my friend Sandra won an Akubra hat!
Time to get a cab to The City Winery for Lucinda Williams. Our friends Colleen and Bryant had saved us prime seats right near the stage and we were able to see most of the set of support act Elizabeth Cook, which was terrific.
Lucinda closed last year’s Americana festival and it was my gig of the year. Tonight’s band was the same – Stuart Mathis (guitar), David Sutton (bass) and Butch Norton (drums). Here is the set list for the evening:
Can’t Let Go
Drunken Angel (“another song about a beautiful loser”)
It’s Hard To Take*
World Without Tears
Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone*
Cold Day In Hell* (with Amos Lee)
Little Angel, Little Brother
Are You Down
Everything But The Truth*
Changed The Locks
Something Wicked This Way Comes*
Get Right with God (Elizabeth Cook and Amos Lee)
* from the to-be-released album Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone
A special night, with the sound perfect throughout. Her band set up is simple, they are wonderful players and have been together for a while now, there’s not much complication with other instrumentation thereby making it easier to get the sound consistently pristine. Lucinda’s new double album will be released at the end of the month and, judging from the new songs I heard tonight, it is going to be special. “Little Angel Little Brother”, “Pineola”, “Unsuffer Me”, “Essence” and the sweet, smouldering and soulful cover of J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia” were highlights.
At the end of the night, I met briefly young performer Jonah Tolchin – he’s one to watch – find out more here.
We said our goodbyes to friends and realised that we hadn’t eaten anything substantial for a while – luckily there was a bar open in The Gulch on the way home, which was still serving food. Our waiter for the meal was Mike who is in a band Tenasie. Here’s a clip:
That’s it then, another Americanafest over. This year being my second visit was better than last year’s debut – easier to work out the myriad musical options and venue logistics. Our house location was ideal for facilitating getting around. I saw music performed at The Ryman Auditorium, 3rd and Lindsley, Station Inn, Blue Bar, Soulshine Pizza, Groove Record Shop, Bluebird Cafe, Mercy Lounge, High Watt, Cannery Ballroom, Yazoo Brewery, Hutton Hotel, City Winery, Country Music Hall of Fame and Downtown Presbyterian Church. Countless performers and performances (I’ll work on the list when I have more time), all so consistently good that I can truly say, in the words of the The Queen Of Americana, Lucinda Williams – we have been BLESSED.