The Breadcrumbs Widget will appear here on the live site.
AmericanaFest 2022 – Cowboy boots on the ground with Brian Rock
Well, AmericanaFest 2022 is in the books. And what a Fest it was! After the first, tentative post-Covid steps at returning in 2021, AmericanaFest was back in full swing. There were more artists, more events, and more fans at the shows. If last year’s presentation felt like a family reunion after an extended hiatus, 2022 felt like a jubilant New Year’s Eve party. There were legendary icons of Americana like Taj Mahal, Jim Lauderdale, Keb Mo, and Asleep at the Wheel. There were rising stars like Jaime Wyatt, 49 Winchester, Kyshona, and Miko Marks. And, of course, there was the centerpiece of it all – The Americana Awards show. The awards celebrated the past with a lifetime achievement award to Al Bell of Stax Records. They looked to the future with Sierra Ferrel winning emerging artist of the year. And they celebrated the here and now, crowning The War and Treaty as best duo/group of the year. They inspired us with Al Bell’s moving life story. They made us laugh with Lyle Lovett’s scene stealing duet with Chis Isaak (also a Lifetime Achievement award recipient.) And they made us ponder, with several presenters posing the question, “What is Americana?”
Certainly, Americana is all the performers listed above. Certainly, it’s Country, Blues, and Folk. But it’s also Rock, Soul, and Gospel and several other genres and fusions as well. Perhaps in trying to define Americana, we limit it somewhat. But at the risk of doing so, I humbly propose the following definition: Americana is music that moves your heart as well as your body. It’s not about dancing, it’s about that profound awareness of joy that compels you to move in celebration. It’s not about drinking, it’s about the long, arduous path that drives someone to drown his sorrows in drink. It’s not about bling, it’s about the priceless feelings and relationships that can’t be purchased at any price. You know many types of music when you hear them. You know Americana when you ‘feel ‘it.
Those feelings were overflowing at this year’s AmericanaFest. You could feel the joy pouring from Taj Mahal with every note he played as he presided over his showcase like an elder tribal chieftain. Sharing the stage with emerging artists, Kaia Kater, Rissi Palmer, and Will Hoge, you could feel the admiration each had for this musical master. You could also hear in Taj Mahal’s voice a beaming pride, as if he was showcasing his own children. You could feel the passion pouring from Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley’s fingers as they scorched the fretboards of their dobro and guitar in the intimate setting of Compass Records’ Music Row recording studio. You could feel the angst as Jaime Wyatt poured out her soul singing “Neon Cross” to a crowded bar room as if she were giving confession in church. You could feel the determination in Amanda Shaw’s fiery Cajun fiddle as she fought to hold the attention of shoppers sorting through albums at The Vinyl Tap record store and bar. You could feel the intensity as David Newbould played a guitar solo with the fervor of a street corner preacher caught up in rapturous ecstasy. You could feel the power of the Blues as Janiva Magness belted out a lifetime of hardships amidst the velvet draped elegance of the Analog ballroom. You could feel the love as a dozen artists gathered together at Third & Lindsley to pay tribute to Levon Helms. Above all, you could feel the connection between performer and audience, best exemplified by 49 Winchester moving a packed Exit/In crowd from laughter to tears all while moving their feet with their irresistible Country/Soul rhythms. Americana, however you define it, is alive and well; and AmericanaFest 2022 was a fitting tribute to its storied past and a celebration of its unlimited future. (by Brian Rock)
Please go to the Americana Music Association website for more information
The Blog Tags widget will appear here on the published site.
The Recommended Posts widget will appear here on the published site.