For ticketing info, updates and the full lineup and schedule, check out americanamusic.org or the AmericanaFest app. And keep an eye on social media for info about other interesting events that aren’t officially part of the fest.
Saturday’s lineup exemplifies the current state of Americana, which draws from old-school forms of country and rock that are the basis for music that is often bracingly modern. Americana has become an international music, but the shows on Saturday also feature performers who hail from the South — a region that has had a huge influence on the evolution of the genre. Head over to The Groove between 2 and 7 p.m. to catch Queer Roots, which kicks off with Adeem the Artist. Adeem is a North Carolina native making nonbinary folk-country, as on their 2021 album Cast-Iron Pansexual. You can also see Austin Lucas, a well-traveled Indiana native whose music combines bluegrass, rock and folk, as well as Cindy Emch, leader of the band Secret Emchy Society. She offers up raucous progressive folk that’s usually tinged with old-time rock. Alabama singer-songwriter Drayton Farley, who hits the 3rd and Lindsley stage at 7 p.m., released an excellent, melancholy single called “No Good Reason” last year. Stick around for polymathic rock and blues avatar Adia Victoria at 8 p.m. and neo-country innovator Joshua Hedley, who gets cooking at 11 p.m.
From noon to 6 p.m., Musicians Corner’s September Sundown in Centennial Park features talents as diverse as former Nashvillian Josh Rouse, who’s playing the last of several appearances of the week, and soulful U.K. singer-songwriter Lady Nade. Over at Riverside Revival, you have a second chance to catch Amanda Rheaume playing her guitar-driven songs, which often address pressing social and political issues, at 7 p.m. Another politically and socially aware singer, S.G. Goodman, makes an appearance at 8 p.m. Born in West Tennessee and raised in Western Kentucky, Goodman released this year’s Teeth Marks, a testament to her skills as a progressive, innovative Southern-fried bandleader and songwriter. Kyshona, whose style folds in elements of rock, folk and protest music, hits the stage at 9 p.m., while post-outlaw country singer-songwriter Kelsey Waldon wraps it up at 10 p.m.
Venerable Nashville rock venue Exit/In, meanwhile, hosts veteran Music City rocker Will Hoge, who plays at 8 p.m. His music has always had a Springsteen-meets-Elvis Costello edge, but it’s filtered through a very Southern sensibility. He’s just released a new album, Wings on My Shoes. Make sure to stick around to see the Canadian-born, New Zealand-raised singer Tami Neilson, who appears at 11 p.m. She’s unclassifiable — her music contains elements of show tunes, soul and rock ’n’ roll. Her new album Kingmaker scrambles genres in spectacular fashion, as you’ll hear on the superb “Baby, You’re a Gun,” which is gothic country with Morricone touches.
Stellar bluegrass quintet Sister Sadie plays the Station Inn at 9 p.m., followed at 10 p.m. by renowned vocal group The McCrary Sisters, who recently suffered the loss of longtime member Deborah McCrary. Up next, you’ve got your last opportunity of the fest to see neo-country singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Melissa Carper, whose 2021 album Daddy’s Country Gold established her as a rising star. At 11 p.m., she’ll join in a trio with mandolinist and singer Brennen Leigh, whose recent offering Obsessed With the West is a Western-swing-themed delight, and singer’s singer Kelly Willis.
For a taste of the Americana avant-garde, hit The 5 Spot, where singer and songwriter Early James — an exponent of dark narratives that draw from influences as diverse as Billie Holiday and Tom Waits — goes on at 10. Topping off the bill at 11 p.m. is Luke Schneider and Friends, who’ll explore new avenues of sound for the pedal steel, following in the wake of Chrome Universal, a comp of contemporary steel recordings Schneider recently curated. Schneider & Co. are busy expanding the vocabulary of modern American music, and that’s what Americana, at its best, is all about.
Update 9/8: Due to a touring commitment, Peter One is no longer able to play AmericanaFest.
Including Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram, Jake Blount and more