AmericanaFest Day Three

Our day served on a platter y’all

The Station Inn – Photo: LTTL

AmericanaFest 2019

Day 3 – Buffalo Lost, Mavericks Gained

GrassRoots Music Tour

Images: Jim Jacob

Words: Rob Dickens

Lost Buffalo and Market Monkeys

It’s time to get over the Cumberland River to the heart of East Nashville where the hipsters and struggling artists co-habitate. Lost Buffalo Artists and Market Monkeys held an afternoon of intimate musical performances. The fourth annual event featured some official showcasing artists, special surprise guests, collaborations, a backyard party, snacks/lunch options and the famous donation-based Bloody Mary bar. There were many artists performing but more just hanging out.

Mary-Elaine Jenkins – Photo: LTTL

Mary-Elaine Jenkins has been quite the itinerant. A South Carolina native, she bounced from Washington DC, then Spain, to now home in Brooklyn. Arriving in New York City in 2013, Mary-Elaine played in venues all over town and surrounded herself with a creative network that would eventually include producer / engineer Thom Beemer. Working together out of Good Child Music Studios, her debut album Hold Still was released in September 2018 (via Good Child Music).

Mark Erelli – Photo: LTTL

An In-The-Round session with Mark Erelli, Kirby Brown and Sarah Siskind followed. Erelli had but last night appeared at The Americana Honors and Awards Show showcasing his nominated master song “By Degrees” and today he provided his soulful, expressive vocals for his new single “Her Town Now” and “Stranger’s Eyes”.

Kirby Brown – Photo: LTTL

Hometown in Damascus, Arkansas and now a Nashville resident, Kirby Brown played “Little Red Hen” and “Little Miss”.

Sarah Siskind – Photo: LTTL

I saw Sarah Siskind at The Festy and was instantly impressed with her performance, the sweetest and nuanced voice and lyrics embodying an emotional gamut. Recording-wise, I’ve soaked up most of her output since and continue to be an unabashed proponent and somewhat curious as to why her acclaim is not more widely spread. Today she was captivating – only two songs though! Highly recommended.

Anna Egge – Photo: LTTL

Ana Egge’s latest Is It The Kiss is her eleventh album. Showing commendable drive as teenager, she built her own guitar and moved to Austin, TX. Her career has consolidated over time having worked on recordings with Steve Earle and Ron Sexsmith, as well as full projects with The Stray Birds and The Sentimentals. Her last single “We Are One,” co-written with Gary Nicholson, has gathered over five million Spotify spins. Some arresting songs from the new release today – “Hurt A Little”, “Oh My My” with her stunning ethereal vocals, the heartbreak of “Teacake and Janey”, taking a stand in “Rise Above” and finishing off with “Cocaine Cowboys”. The combination of sax and pedal steel guitar was inspired.

Lauren Balthrop – Photo: LTTL

From Alabama through New York to Nashville, Lauren Balthrop’s debut album This Time Around came out last year, produced by Josh Kaufman and via Tone Tree Music. With Lindsay Lou on bass and Oliver Craven (ex-Stray Birds) on fiddle, we enjoyed a run through of some of this material – “We Fell” and “Down” were noteworthy.

Lula Wiles – Photo: LTTL

Lula Wiles comprises Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland and Mali Obomsawin. Long before they were in a band together, the members were singing folk songs and trading fiddle tunes at camp in Maine. On What Will We Do, the band’s second album released this year (on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) and in today’s performance, they capture folk traditions, trade lead singers and add their own three-piece harmonies.

Official Showcases – Station Inn

This was one of the RSVP-only shows that would fill the room quickly. The demand was largely due to the buzz around the emergence of J. S. Ondara, but mainly because Nathaniel Rateliff was set down as the fourth showcase. As chance would have it, a badly-bruised wrist forced him to cancel and Americana Music Association Executive Director Jedd Hilly called in a favour to Raul Malo for The Mavericks to perform instead, to which he agreed.

Caroline Spence – Photo: LTTL

Caroline Spence kicked off proceedings – her first show at this exalted, but humble venue. With electric guitar sidekick Charlie Whitten adding some lovely embellishments, Spence showed again her songwriting prowess and wit – “Hotel Amarillo”, “Mint Condition”, Wait On The Wine”, “Who’s Gonna Make My Mistakes” and the wonderful “All The Beds I’ve Made”.

J. S. Ondara – Photo: LTTL

The softest roar. In 2013 J. S. Ondara won a Green Card lottery, so from Nairobi he somehow ended up in one of the coldest places in America, Minnesota. Fast forward a little and his first album Tales Of America has led to much acclaim and an Americana nomination for Emerging Artist. Tonight it was just him solo as he proceeded through the album’s song list with the lightest touch on his guitar to accentuate his captivating voice. Lucky there weren’t any pins dropping during the forty minute set.

Jeremie Albino – Photo: LTTL

Jeremie Albino was born and raised in the large city of Toronto, but he figured on a cleaner lifestyle and moved into Prince Edward County, where country living and working on vegetable farms gave him the time and simplicity to hone his songwriting skills. He moved from acoustic to electric guitar, sometimes working the foot-pedal to the base drum on one side and the cymbal on the other. A bluesy backdrop with an energetic vocal overlay.

The Mavericks – Photo: LTTL

What better way to finish off the day than with The Mavericks. Somehow they managed to fit all nine players onto the stage (well, most of the time) and have the most infectious fun time which to a large extent makes this outfit one of the best lives bands to see. They kicked off with “Swingin'”, “Rolling Along” and “Back In Your Arms Again”.

The band has just recorded some non-originals that are meaningful to them and we were able to hear their version of Ray Price’s “Don’t You Ever Get Tired Of Hurtin’ Me”, plus “Loving You”, Bruce Springsteen‘s “Hungry Heart”, “All You Every Do Is Bring Me Down” and “What A Crying Shame”. What a treat!



Our day served on a platter y’all

Our day served on a platter y’all

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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. “Best band in the land!”, Rob! It seems like the Mavericks were ubiquitous for the first day or two of the fest. Outlaw Counry on Sirius XM aired a lot of the festival live so I heard some of the awards show and streamed the rest when I got home. I was looking for you in the crowd, it looked like a fantastic awards show. JEALOUS! Enjoy your continued journeys in U.S.

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    • Yes topangacg, Robert’s Western World, The Station Inn, The Ryman – hard working but having fun while they do it. Thanks for reading AND the best wishes. We’ve just hit Asheville NC! Rob

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