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Oct 4, 2017

AmericanaFest 2017 is in the books, and it was large and loud. Fifty venues across Nashville. A new hotel headquarters. It felt the same yet different. We’re 18 years into this thing after all. It’s hard to discern trends from inside the belly of the beast. But in the hour ahead we’ll try. Five artists or groups from different generations and places on the musical spectrum talk about career, art, commerce, inclusion and exclusion and the elusive but cherished idea that is Americana music.

In case this is new terrain for you, AmericanaFest is the snappy short version of what’s been formally called The Americana Music Festival and Conference, a Nashville gathering launched in 2000. What began as strategic ideas convention has grown into a major draw for music fans with about 300 artists playing some 50 formal and informal venues around town.

The exponential growth of venues and audiences and private parties surrounding AmericanaFest is emblematic of the format’s success in the wider world. Americana is a legit player at the top tiers of the music industry, whether indicated by Margo Price on Saturday Night Live or Sturgill Simpson going up against Beyonce at the Grammy Awards. It’s good times. Can that get too good? Too big? Too much of what Americana was meant to be an alternative to? That concern is definitely in the air, and that will get touched on in the hour ahead. Featured, conversations with: Sean McConnell, Yola Carter, The Accidentals, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams and Rayna Gellert & Keiran Kane.