Friday, September 15, 2017
AmericanaFest Continues With 'Hillbillies and Hot Dogs' (And Exceptional Music)
By Wil Comstock
MCAU Contributing Writer
Wednesday, Sept. 13
Compass Records Hillbillies and Hot Dogs.
I always enjoy going to this event. Who doesn’t like a good hot dog and craft beer? This event is held in the front yard and inside the Compass Record building on 19th Avenue on Music Row. The best part is cramming into the small studio and watching the artists on the Compass roster share their music. They are among the most intimate performances at Americana Fest. This year the bluesy Shannon McNally kicked off the show. I was really drawn in by the haunting “No Man’s Land,” which she wrote for her mother. Bluegrass swing artist Mike Barnett and friends followed with Bob Wills and Buddy Spicher-influenced arrangements for double fiddles. I have never heard such sweet and tender fiddle playing. I really enjoyed his rendition of "Tennessee Waltz" featuring Molly Tuttle on vocals. Molly remained onstage explaining that she just received her new Pre-War guitar and was excited to be playing it. She featured it on a traditional song using her amazing claw hammer skills. Tuttle was recently featured on the cover of Guitar Player magazine! AJ Croce took the stage before he was announced, fingering the piano keys with blues riffs. I’m sure it’s not easy to be the son of a deceased legend, but Croce is his own man. That being said, he performed a song his dad had demoed but never got the chance to record, the soulful “Name of the Game” (a song AJ steered away from earlier in his career). He now delivers it with smoldering confidence. Unfortunately, I had to miss Colin Hay and Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards. Had to get back to work!
10 p.m. Caitlyn Canty
Caitlyn Canty's stark, reedy voice touched me as I was listening to videos trying to decide what show to see for this evening. I’m glad I went with my hunch and showed up! This was a great show. Canty was accompanied by Noam Pikelny, the producer on her newly delivered album. Noam, an artist in his own right, and a member of the Punch Brothers, played steel banjo throughout the evening. He tastefully lent his skills to Caitlyn’s beautifully penned songs. Favorites were “Seven Lines” and “Get Up.” She received a huge round of applause on her lazy rendition of “Tennessee Waltz.” It was the second time I heard that song in one day! Noam got a laugh when he commented that the stage usually had a full band when other acts played. He was afraid the exclusive real estate around him (on stage) might run the risk of having a condo go up with huge cranes! Such is the present state of Nashville in 2017. If you ever get the chance to see Caitlyn Canty live, please do. You won’t regret it!
11 p.m. Hayes Carll
Hayes Carll is a modern day troubadour, his lyrics plainspoken with a touch of sarcasm. I could understand every word he sang. This is a man with a message. Hayes accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and was backed by Adam Landry on electric guitar and Mike Meadows on snare and percussion. I enjoyed “Nobody Wants to Hear the Truth Anymore,” “The Magic Kid” (a tender song about his son), and “My Wild Pointy Finger,” a number about the accuser in all of us. I left feeling challenged to look at life a little differently. Hayes will do that to you.
For more information about AmericanaFest, visit http://www.AmericanaMusic.org.