Australians Showcase In Nashville – Americanafest 2014

Read about the Australian artists at Americana Festival Nashville


The Largest and Most Successful Australian Music Presence To Ever Hit Americana Music Festival

Sounds Australia put on an extensive and terrific Australian showcase in Nashville TN.  For the fifth consecutive year, Australian performers traveled across the globe to Nashville as part of the 2014 Americana Music Festival & Conference with showcase events between September 16 and 23.

The Americana Music Association officially invited five Australian artists to be part of the 2014 event including The Audreys, Brooke Russell and the Mean Reds, Falls, Immigrant Union and The Mae Trio, all of whom performed multiple times during the week.

The five official invites were only just the start, with 50+ Australian artists and industry descending upon Nashville, representing genres across commercial and alternative country, folk, bluegrass and of course Americana.

Sounds Australia put the whole intricate thing together and this year launched the SOUNDS AUSTRALIA APP, free for Android and iPhone.



Tamworth presents ‘Australiana @ Americana’
Tuesday, September 16th
Bluebird Café

IMG_1143.JPGAustraliana @ Americana is the annual preview event which this year highlighted fourteen  of Australia’s finest at the iconic Blue Bird Cafe.  The show was presented in two sittings with artists performing in a line during four separate sets of fantastic music.  Performing in a line (one song each in sequence) is an interesting concept and one that might challenge a few performers.  Choosing the material for impact and doing one song only might mean it’s hard to get momentum and ride the ebb and flow with an audience through a normal set.  But it’s a refreshing concept for an on-looker.

Artists performing on the night include: Chris Altmann / Christopher Coleman / Dan Waters / Daniel Champagne / Helen Shanahan / Imogen Clark / Jemma Nicole / Kevin Bennett / Kirsty Akers / Melody Pool / Mia Wray / Rob Draper / Sal Kimber / The Mae Trio.

The performances throughout the four hours were of a tremendous standard, over what must have been almost fifty songs on the night.  Too many to cover all and do them justice here.  I would, though, make some observations.  Sal Kimber continues to delve into what is a treasure trove of source material – stories of her family and of the land, so uniquely Australian.  Her music never fails to deeply move me.  Chris Altmann has been living in Canada for a while now and it was good to see him on stage again (and about to embark on a tour back to Australia after a break).  I’ve always admired his rustic portrayals and his musicianship – read more about him here.  Christopher Coleman continues to impress, with his strong songwriting, individuality and irony.  His debut album is well worth checking out – see more here.  Helen Shanahan hails from Perth Western Australia and her voice and intensity took me aback.  Her self-deprecation and nerves dissipate as she launches into her songs – one to watch.  Kevin Bennett’s story telling introductions are captivating and so is his music.  A song about Neil Young’s former sidekick Danny Whitten a beauty.

Apologies to those artists I left out.


The Bluebird Cafe


Daniel Champagne


Jemma Nicole


DSC00649 Chris Coleman

Christopher Coleman


SOUNDS AUSTRALIA presents ‘A Taste of Australia’
Friday, September 19th
Blue Bar

Hosted by SOUNDS AUSTRALIA Representative Dobe Newton “A Taste Of Australia” luncheon and showcase has become a must-attend event for the Americana delegates and local industry as SOUNDS AUSTRALIA showcase Australia’s five official artists at Americana 2014.

This year the event moved to a new venue, Blue Bar on Broadway.  This event was an invitation only or delegate event.

Saturday, September 20th
The 5Spot (East Nashville)

Now in its fourth year in Nashville, THE AUSSIE BBQ is an established favorite at major music events around the world, this time in its new East Nashville home, The 5Spot.  The BBQ also moved to Saturday so that even more people had the chance to see and hear their new favorite Australian acts.

Featuring Brooke Russell & The Mean Reds / Chad Mason / Chris Altmann / Dan Waters / Daniel Champagne / Dianna Corcoran / Falls / Immigrant Union / Kevin Bennett / Oxford & Co / Sal Kimber / The Audreys / The Mae Trio / The Weeping Willows, THE AUSSIE BBQ continues to be the best place to discover new talent and do business with the Australians taking part in Americana 2014.

The music was free and the food was ‘by donation’ with all proceeds going to the Nashville Kangaroos, Music City’s champion Aussie Rules football team.


The Sister Cities of Tamworth & Nashville present ‘The Sister City Jam’
Sunday, September 21st
Blue Bar

The Sister Cities of Nashville and Tamworth played host to the inaugural ‘Sister City Jam’ toasting, the official twinning of ‘Music City USA’ and Australia’s ‘Country Music Capital.’

The Sister City Jam highlighted more than twenty Australian artists in short sets including Tamworth Road to Discovery winners Helen Shanahan and Christopher Coleman and culminated in a jam session hosted by renowned Mustered Courage.  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.

Artists participating throughout the day included: Ben Wright Smith / Christopher Coleman / Dianna Corcoran / Helen Shanahan / Immigrant Union / Imogen Clark / Jackie Bristow / Jemma Nicole / John Flanagan / Katie Brianna / Katie Cole / Kevin Bennett / Kirsty Akers / Melody Pool / Mia Wray / Mustered Courage / Oxford & Co / Personal Deluxe / Rob Draper / Sal Kimber / Sue Ray / The Weeping Willows and more.


Melody Pool



Helen Shanahan




Jeff Walker and Dobe Newton

Music City Roots Showcase –

The Factory Franklin Tennessee

Wednesday 24 September

Jim Lauderdale hosts Music City Roots, a Nashville radio institution, recorded before a live audience.  Country and bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman was the headliner, with the rest of the bill being Australians, assembled by Dobe Newton (CMA president and Sounds Australia rep.), and they put on a very successful showcase, four great acts which exhibited quality and a statement of difference from the local U.S. artists.

Kevin Bennett continues to be a highlight (I’ve seen him so many times over here, he probably thinks I’m stalking him!) with the relevance, strength and authenticity of his songwriting and vocals.


Kevin Bennett


Brooke Russell was without her band this time around but it did not detract from her breezy and beautifully pitched vocals.  She showcased two new songs which sounded pretty impressive, these may well form the basis of a new recording she will be looking to do upon her return to Melbourne.  If you can, I’d recommend you catch Brooke and get a good dose of her beautiful and wistful western swing.


Brooke Russell



The Mae trio hail from Castlemaine, central Victoria and recently received acclaim at the National Folk Awards.  Their music has a traditional folk base but is refreshingly original, doing their own thing with quirky lyrics and arrangements.  Beautiful harmonies and a strong cohesion are also evident.

DSC01414The MaeTrio

The Mae Trio with Music City Roots’ Craig Havighurst


Falls are a duo from Sydney with a classical and jazz background, but their music is neither. With a string quartet and their interesting voice combination and material, they are ones to watch also.




Read about the Australian artists at Americana Festival Nashville



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Author: Rob Dickens

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