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One of the great aspects of Americana, roots and folk music is the lack of distinction over age and experience—beloved established artists get to share stages with the young and hungry ones, even as the styles and sounds evolve.
The weekend showcases at the Americana Music Festival, held Sept. 18 through 22 at venues all around Nashville, were a great example of this, even though there was no way to possibly see—or hear—it all.
Friday evening (Sept. 20), The Mercy Lounge had showcases from songwriter Joe Fletcher, who has a Tom Waits vibe and even sang Tom’s “Bottom of the World.” The incomparable Jonny Fritz (né Jonny Corndawg) followed, doing his upbeat, raunchy songs like “Ain’t It Your Birthday” and “Red on the Head.” CW On the Edge favorite Caitlin Rose was next with a set that included “Pink Champagne” and “I Was Cruel,” and a sassy admonishment to the audience for not being familiar with Jim Croce. Alternative country pioneers The Bottle Rockets rounded out the bill.
In the same complex at downstairs venue the Cannery Ballroom were Americana stalwart Buddy Miller with his band, followed by Max Gomez, blues singer Delbert McClinton with Glen Clark and, much later, Canadian star Corb Lund.
A short car ride away, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s progeny, Lisa Marie Presley, was playing at the club 3rd & Lindsley. Lisa Marie entertained the crowd with selections from her recent album, Storm and Grace, while her mother, Priscilla, watched from the crowd. Immediately following Lisa Marie was another member of a famous family, Holly Williams, Hank Williams’ granddaughter.
Saturday (Sept. 21) during the daytime, Musicians Corner at Centennial Park boasted performances from Suzi Ragsdale, Donna the Buffalo and Shelby Lynne.
Later that evening, CW On the Edge artist Amanda Shires  played at The Basement, along with Tim Easton and The Del-Lords, and Lindi Ortega led off the lineup at The High Watt. Over at 3rd & Lindsey, Ashley Monroe played some of her new tunes, followed by Levi Lowrey and Mike Farris.
On Sunday (Sept. 22), Nashville’s legendary bluegrass haunt The Station Inn hosted the second annual gospel brunch, with The McCrary Sisters, The Whites and others to get the day started off in the right spiritual frame of mind.
The week of learning, networking and music closed out in appropriate fashion—with a special concert from Americana patron saint Lucinda Williams, who performed selections from her self-titled debut album in a set that included a guest appearance by her friend Jim Lauderdale.
After five days of the best American roots music has to offer, we can hardly wait until next year.