Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Americana Fest: Last Day Features Incredible Sara Potenza at The Family Wash

By Wil Comstock
Music City Arts Contributing Writer

Sunday, Sept. 25  -- Last day of Americana Music Fest

The Sixth Annual Gospel Brunch
11 a.m. -- City Winery

Hosted by The McCrary Sisters. Featuring: Cece Winans, Lori McKenna, Bonnie Bishop, Sons of Bill, and Luke Bell.

I attended this show last year and really enjoyed myself.  I guess word really got around.  My heart sunk as MCA Editor Chuck Whiting and I approached City Winery... The line extended outside into the valet parking area. “They must be starting late like last year”, I told Chuck, not yet giving up hope.  But once I heard music start up, I knew the seats were all taken.  Soon a woman came out and told us they were going to try to get us all in on Standing Room Only.  But that wouldn’t be fun. I was hungry and had skipped breakfast so I could enjoy the chicken and waffles they were serving.  I got out my Americana Fest Guide and looked for plan B. 

Sunday Morning Coming Down
12 p.m. -- Fond Object Records
Featuring JP Harris, Tim Easton, and Ariel Bui

Pulling up, we soon realized that this was not a record company.  It was a vinyl record store with vintage clothes and antiques, housed in a vintage strip mall.  This place was funky, and I liked it.
The music was out back in the yard.  Things were just starting up.  I grabbed a vodka cocktail and sat on a cinder block to watch the first act who I had already determined was damn good.  Randolph, the guy behind me, said this was “Tim Easton, had you ever heard of him?”  I replied, “No, why hadn’t I?".  Easton is a suburban blues artist.  Virtuoso guitar and killer vocals.  This is one of those guys that really should have made it big.  He played a few more songs, and his set was finished.  I made a note to check this guy out later online.   At that moment, the Mas Tacos Por Favor food truck pulled up. I have been hearing great things about Mas Tacos for years but have never sampled their gastronomical delights. Here was my chance.  I ordered a Cuban Carne for me and a Quinoa Sweet Potato for Chuck.  These tacos were the bomb!  But it was time to catch the show in East Nashville that I had been waiting for…

Sunday School Hosted By Sarah Potenza 
2 p.m. -- The Family Wash
Featuring Mary Gauthier, Christine Ohlman, Lilly Hiatt, Kimberly Nichole, Meghan Linsey, and Sarah Potenza paying tribute to the Staples Singers, Mavis Staples, Mahalia Jackson, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

After being introduced to the incredible voice of Sarah Potenza on Thursday, there was no way I was going to miss this show.  We arrived 45 minutes early to find there were no seats left.  We got on the waiting list, and just before the show started, got a seat behind a closed window that looked across the room to the stage.  Not exactly what I had in mind!  I ordered a Yazoo Sour and a Camardo Sandwich, yum, and Chuck ordered the crispy Catfish Sandwich. Once host Potenza took the stage, I was on my feet elbowing through the crowd.  What a voice this woman has, a sultry alto that will make you weep.  Back in my seat finishing my sandwich and beer, I enjoyed the soulful Kimberly Nichole, followed by the refreshing Lilly Hiatt.  Unfortunately I had lost my pen and was unable to jot down what songs were sung by whom, and I can’t rely on my memory  ; ).  The great discovery, for me, of the show was Meghan Linsey!  All of these women were incredible vocalists, but Meghan had us all in the palm of her hand.  This woman drew water from the well and poured it all over the thirsty crowd. Phenomenal!  Back on my feet and inching my way to the front, I could touch special  guest, veteran Christine Ohlman (the Beehive Queen) who brought a smile, a whoop , and a holler to everyone in attendance.  Christine began as a lead vocalist for the Saturday Night Live band in 1991.  She has provided background vocals for the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Nils Lofgren and a host of others in her long career.  Inviting Potenza up to the stage to duet with her on the closing numbers sent my soul into the stratosphere.  Hallelujah! Sunday School has never been better than this!

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