This year, the Americana Music Festival is leading off with some of its heavy hitters: folks like Hayes Carll (hardcore honky-tonk’s premiere young wit), Marshall Chapman (a captivating storyteller in any medium), Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison (Texas’ most charming singing and songwriting couple), reunited hooky-as-hell harmonizers Foster & Lloyd, and Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, both of whom are injecting traditional country with loads of heart. The fact that most of the festival venues have at least one rising act from the acoustic-leaning scene on the bill foreshadows where a lot of the action will be the rest of the week. There’s the David Mayfield Parade, who conjure a very current-feeling version of early rock ’n’ roll spirit; the jazzy, stylish quartet Lake Street Drive; Mountain Heart, who blend bluegrass, country-pop and soul; experimental folkies Elephant Revival (part of the Music City Roots lineup); and the success story of the year, roots-pop duo the Civil Wars. And the latter are also among those participating in the night’s Muscle Shoals Tribute show. —JEWLY HIGHT
And since Jewly brought them up, have a listen to Foster & Lloyd on yesterday's episode of NPR's Mountain Stage. F&L played the final show before their 20-year hiatus on Mountain Stage back in 1991. Peep their glorious return.