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.


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Molly Tuttle 

Choosing events for Thursday’s block of AmericanaFest is an unenviable task. Fortunately, that also means you can’t really go wrong. From blues to bluegrass, there’s something for everyone — but the theme seems to be celebrating the contributions and trailblazing directions of Black artists in particular. 

Conference registrants can attend the panel Black Opry: Path to Joy at 4 p.m. at The Westin, exploring Holly G.’s collective and traveling showcase and its impact on building community for Black country artists. If you’ve only got a standard festival pass, set your sights on the Station Inn, where The Black Opry Revue hits the stage at 9 p.m. Past shows have been formatted as a writers’ round with a rotating cast of artists; this time there will be a band directed by nonbinary artist Jessye DeSilva, who will have a solo set of their own at Saturday’s Queer Roots party at The Groove. 

Kaia Kater, Leyla McCalla and Jake Blount will provide a preview of their Afrofuturist world-building at their own panel, hosted by WNXP’s Jewly Hight and starting at noon at The Westin’s Vanderbilt Conference Room III. And you’ll be able to hear all three artists at their own sets later on: Blount plays at The Basement, Kater at City Winery’s Lounge space and McCalla at the Station Inn ahead of The Black Opry Revue. The only downside is that they all perform at 8 p.m. Over at The Basement East, country veteran and Color Me Country host Rissi Palmer plays at 7 p.m., while Lilli Lewis brings her operatic Americana to Analog at the Hutton Hotel at 10 p.m., and Abraham Alexander’s bluesy funk takes over Exit/In at 11 p.m.

Ishkōdé Records will feature Indigenous voices at Dee’s from 1 to 4 p.m. Led by Amanda Rheaume and Shoshona Kish, the label is putting on the first AmericanaFest showcase that puts Indigenous artists front and center. Rheaume, Aysanabee, Digging Roots and Evan Redsky will perform. Meanwhile, string-band fans should settle in for the long haul at the Station Inn — Willie Watson and the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys will each play sets following McCalla and the Black Opry, at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. respectively. For other pickers and shredders, you can catch Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway, who follow Palmer at The Basement East at 8 p.m. For a more mellow time, Melissa Carper will set up at 6th & Peabody at 8 p.m., slinging her wily, expertly crafted old-time songs. Also at 8 p.m., get a traditional take on country with Erin Enderlin, who’ll put a tear in your beer at 3rd and Lindsley.

There’s rock aplenty too, and it gets going early: Sidle up to Mule Kick and Devious Planet’s Rock ’n’ Roll Brunch at The Groove, featuring Michelle Malone, Andrew Leahey, The 40 Acre Mule and more from noon to 6 p.m. Nicki Bluhm will time-travel back to the ’70s at 8 p.m. at Exit/In. Nashville expat Cory Branan, whose charisma and guitar virtuosity always make for a great party, will be joined by Memphis troubadours Alexis Jade, Rodd Bland and others at InDo Nashville for the The Pure Memphis Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m.


Ahead of AmericanaFest, we talk with The Mavericks’ Raul Malo, run down our favorite shows of the fest and more

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