Over the past 22 years, AmericanaFest has grown into one of Middle Tennessee’s largest music events, routinely taking over a dozen or more venues, spanning nearly a week and offering performances from more than 200 artists whose musical roots range from blues to bluegrass and beyond.
For some perspective, we also spoke with Raul Malo about the importance of Americana making space for Latino musicians and artists who generally don’t conform to strict genre definitions. The Mavericks, the rocking country-schooled band Malo has fronted since 1989, took home a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 and are up for Duo/Group of the Year at this year’s Honors and Awards ceremony. We also check in with Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom — a renowned cultural critic, author and professor who joined the Americana Music Association’s board this year — about what the genre and its trade association can do to better celebrate and cultivate the Black excellence that’s at the foundation of the music.
The pandemic forced a jump to a digital conference in 2020, but AmericanaFest made a mighty return to in-person programming last year. The trend looks to continue in 2022, with dozens of noteworthy shows kicking off on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Scene music writers have once again convened on a rundown of recommended concerts, which you’ll find in our preview.
The leader of the Duo/Group of the Year nominees discusses making space for eclectic music tastes and a community for Latino artists
Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom discusses broadening and enriching the genre by centering Black creativity
Including Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram, Jake Blount and more