The Americana Festival and Conference is in its 25th year based right here in Nashville, and so many spots this week around town — including the conference hub at the Westin Hotel and many local music venues within a tight downtown radius — are packed with music-makers, music fans, music journalists and music business professionals to celebrate the amorphous genre known as Americana.
I caught up with Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, Jed Hilly, about the history of this Music City takeover of folk, country, bluegrass, roots and soul artists and those who love them. How has the week grown and changed, including to be more inclusive, as indicated by the diverse slate of nominees for the annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony hosted at Ryman Auditorium tonight?
Listen to our conversation and check the AmericanaFest site if you still want to pick up a Festival pass to see oodles of artists, local and visiting Nashville, during this week’s festivities. Follow my coverage of the Honors tonight on my Instagram stories @Celia_WNXP and find more events happening in future weeks at wnxp.org/events.
*Music heard in the WWW feature:
- — 2022 Americana Artist of the Year, Nashville-based Billy Strings
- — Legendary folk/country-rock artist and longtime Nashvillian Emmylou Harris, who will be in conversation with Rufus Wainwright on Friday at the Americana conference
- — South Carolina duo Shovels + Rope ft. Deer Tick (Shovels + Rope plays AmericanaFest this week at Brooklyn Bowl)
- — Candi Staton with the AmericanaFest house band at the 2011 Americana Honors & Awards ceremony
- — The Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans
- — 2023 Artist of the Year nominee, and WNXP’s Nashville Artist of the Month in September, Allison Russell