AmericanaFest 2019 Day One

We spill the beans on our first AmericanaFest experience

Photo: LTTL

AmericanaFest 2019

Day One

GrassRoots Music Tour

Images: Jim Jacob

Words: Rob Dickens

An interview with Waylon Payne

Waylon Payne – Photo: LTTL

Hangin’ & Sangin’ is a podcast and radio show hosted by music journalist Kelly McCartney. Today’s edition was a live version in the Hutton Hotel and featured Waylon Payne.

Now there’s a rich abundance of stories surrounding artists that are in Nashville this week. None, however, may top for incidents and drama that of Payne.

Waylon Payne is the son of Jody Payne, formerly a guitarist in Willie Nelson‘s band, and Grammy-winning country singer Sammi Smith (“Help Me Make It Through The Night”). He was named after his godfather, Waylon Jennings.

His upbringing was anything other than disruptive – estranged from his mother, met his father at age sixteen, ordained then expelled (for being gay) from the Southern Baptist Church, started on his own singing career rising to a $1 million record deal with Universal only to waste it all away through drugs, alcohol and whatever. He released an album The Drifter in 2004 and gradually has gotten his addictions in check and life back into some semblance of balance due to the support of some dear friends. Collaborations with Shelby Lynne, Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert have followed.

Seven years now clean, he is to finally release another album – The Prodigal. Today we were treated to an unflinchingly honest account of his experiences, emotions and brave resolve to move forward.

The new record promises to be a raw account of his journey to the brink and back, one sample being “Sins Of The Father” as part of a four-song set.

BMI Official Kickoff Party

One of our favourite events each year. The BMI building rises like a sentinel guarding Music Row from non-music dark forces downtown. Its rooftop provides a spectacular vista of the Nashville skyline. For us AmericanaFest annual visitors, its rooftop is also the best vantage to identify the changes each year in one of America’s fastest growing cities.

Billy Strings – Photo: LTTL

From the first time I heard Billy Strings‘s last album Turmoil & Tinfoil, I have been hankerin’ big time to see him live. (Read our review of that album)

Tonight’s the night! It did not disappoint. Strings and his three colleagues provided a rousing set replete with scintillating instrumentals and extended jams, the resignation of “Doin My Time”, a superb, lively cover of The Stanley Brothers’s “Stone Walls & Steel Bars”. Because he is young and immensely talented, Strings has been touted as the ‘future of bluegrass’. Nay, that limits his potential as he has the capacity to shake the sometimes set boundaries of bluegrass until they fall.


Brent Cobb – Photo: LTTL

The last time I saw Brent Cobb was in a solo, acoustic setting on a boat where he was way overboard (pun intended) with self deprecation and self consciousness – the songs however spoke for themselves and formed the heart of his excellent Providence Canyon (2011). Tonight he was with a muscly band and showed no signs of hesitation. Maybe coming off a big tour supporting the hugely successful Chris Stapleton has fine-tuned the stage act.

The band was formidable and the set was largely unknown to these ears, but mostly from his new release Shine On Rainy Day – “Diggin’ Holes”, “Keep Em On Their Toes” and “Sucker For A Good Time” stood out.

3rd & Lindsley Official Showcases

A threesome of entertaining shows.

Janiva Magness – Photo: LTTL

Janiva Magness gave us some interesting renditions of her John Fogerty covers which make up her new release Change In The Weather. A sensual take on “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” was a highlight, as was “Lodi”.

Alvin Youngblood Hart – Photo: LTTL

Alvin Youngblood Hart‘s three-piece ensemble was tight and powerful and Ana Popovic closed the night with stunning guitar work, backed by a punchy brass and rhythm section.

Ana Popovic – Photo: LTTL


We spill the beans on our first AmericanaFest experience

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Author: Rob Dickens

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