1352 Guitar Pickers In Nashville – Americanafest Day #4

Read about our day four at the Americana Music Festival 2013




By morning the rain had cleared up thankfully.

The first port of call was Dunn Bros coffee -‘to go’ this time as we continued down the hill and past Broadway to the impressive Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the façade of which resembles a grand piano.  The crowds were thick – mostly to the museum proper but we were there to go the auditorium to hear and see an interview with Rodney Crowell.

I say an interview but it was just Crowell taking questions from the audience and playing whatever songs fitted in with the conversation flow.  When, in response to an enquiry about the songwriting craft, Crowell mentioned his experiences with Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, I knew we were in for a special experience.

The questions from the assembled were pretty good and we learned an enormous amount – the high standards of Clark and Van Zandt, the perspiration and commitment to songwriting, the influence of the death of his mother on his superb The Houston Kid.  He played the last track he wrote for that album, one that he penned after a dream in which his mother and father said to him that he needed something else to finish the album – that song was “I Know Love Is All I Need”.  You could hear a pin drop.

He also played a new song, I think called “These Houston Blues”, quite a departure from his work with Emmylou Harris on Old Yellow Moon.  The hour and a bit went in a flash – heady stuff.

A quick lunch there and a cursory look in the Hall Of Fame gift shop followed.

On the way to our next destination, we walked past Bridgestone Arena, the major indoor arena in the heart of Nashville. Taylor Swift is in town and playing at that venue – outside were nine maybe ten semi-trailers emblazoned with the Swift tour.  What the…?  Sound gear, lighting equipment, wardrobe but so many trucks!


Just some of the trucks


Taylor Many?

The recent documentary on Paul Kelly, Stories Of Me, was screening at the Nashville Public Library, along with an interview and a short live performance from Kelly.  We arrived there in pretty good time.  The doco was excellent (I had not seen it before) and it filled in a lot of gaps for me about this iconic Australian.  Journalist and performer Emma Swift conducted the interview and there were a few familiar faces in the audience – Damian Howard, Anne McCue and Kim Richey.  Paul sang three songs from his most recent album Spring and Fall.

Another benefit of attending this event is that we got to see the Nashville Public Library – imposing, grand and spacious – and hard to believe it was only built in 2001.


Nashville Public Library

The day was warming up and the sun was out so Jenny and I went for a walk around the impressive State Capitol Building before having an hour’s rest prior to the evening’s festivities.

A group of us tried two restaurants but they were booked out (we bumped into Paul Kelly at one), so we hopped on the shuttle bus and dined at a nice Mexican restaurant just up from The Station Inn.  Then a pleasant walk to The Mercy Lounge.

Paul Kelly was on with brilliant mandolin player Kym Warner – as it was an eight o’clock set, the venue was not full but it was a respectable number and they were extremely attentive and quiet.  Kelly finished off with “Meet Me In The Middle of the Air” – the room was electric for a moment.  My friend Baz reckoned you need in your life to see Paul Kelly a least once every two years.

During the break, I saw Paul Niehaus again (the first time being The 5 Spot) and, given that Calexico is currently touring Australia, I was curious that he was still in Nashville.  He told me that, during a Calexico hiatus, he took some dates with Justin Townes Earle which then ultimately led to scheduling clashes.  He will be appearing with JTE at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

Water Liars were on next – consisting of St. Louis, MO songwriter, vocalist, guitarist Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Oxford, MS drummer, producer, multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bryant.  Pretty full-on band and loud to boot – I liked their quieter, more accessible material.


Houndmouth hail from Southern Indiana and are touring on the back of their debut album.  Soulful playing and a distinctive style – “Penitentiary” is a striking song.  I must get hold of the album.  I would highly recommend this band.

It has, as they say in the classics, been a jolly good day.


Read about our day four at the Americana Music Festival 2013

Read about our day four at the Americana Music Festival 2013

Read about our day four at the Americana Music Festival 2013


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Author: Rob Dickens

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