Five Artists Not to Be Missed at the Americana Music Association Festival This Week

The Honeycutters

The Honeycutters are perhaps the best-known of the five artists in this article, but I do not think they have gotten the regard they deserve. Their music is the kind that you'd want to play on a jukebox in a bar, if bars still had jukeboxes. You can sit in a booth with a beer and a tear or stretch out and take a twirl with some like-minded stranger. And their new album is one of the year's best.

Friday, 5:00 PM -7:30 PM, Dan McGuiness Pub (Organic Records Presents The Carolina Ball)
Saturday, 9:00 PM, The Listening Room (Showcase).


Henry Wagons

I first saw Henry Wagons at the AMA several years ago, during the Aussie show at the Second Fiddle. While there were many fine acts that afternoon, Wagons lit up the bandstand all on his own. "Wild" and "contagious" could hardly begin to describe him and his music. But make no mistake, he was in control the whole time. He has three albums under his belt and and a new one in the offing, but my favorite is a live one he recorded at the United Pressing Plant two years ago.

Wagons returns to Nashville this year with a vengeance. He not only has a showcase, but will make at lest three other appearances. It is said that he will have a full band, at least at the showcase. I cannot wait.

Friday, 1:35 PM, Soulshine Pizza (Taste of Australia)
Friday, 6:00 PM, The Groove (Atomic Party with Ray Wylie Hubbard)
Friday, 11:00 PM, Basement East (Showcase)
Saturday 5:35 PM, The 5 Spot (Aussie BBQ).


My Bubba

My bubba is two young women -- one from Iceland, the other from Denmark -- who sound like their generation's Simon and Garfunkel. With just a guitar and vocals, they are mesmerizing in their softer-than-soft, lilting songs. They were the unexpected hit at the Nelsonville Music Festival, where they played four sets. Their music or delivery did not change whether the the audience was made up of 20 or 500 people. And the audiences' reaction -- hushed silence -- never changed.

While they do not have a showcas, they'll be part of Americanarama VIII at Grimey's, 11:00 am-4:00 PM.


John Paul Keith

Keith has knocked around a it before settling in Memphis and becoming an integral part of that city's music scene. With several critically acclaimed albums under his belt and loads of touring, I think he's about to break out. Two years ago, he teamed up with Amy LaVere (also from Memphis) as the duo Motel Mirrors, and the pair made one of that year's finest records.

He, LaVere, and Will Sexton, have just recorded a second Mirrors album to be released next year.

Friday, 10:00 PM, Third Man Records (Showcase).


Whitney Rose

Rose is a relative newcomer, and has just released her first album, Heartbreaker of the Year. Produced by Raul Malo -- who also plays on it and helps Rose bring new life to the pop standard "Be My Baby," in his best Roy Orbison vocal -- Rose does not follow the twangy path of other youngsters like Kacey Musgraves. Nor does she dabble in cliches. Instead she mines the full breath of her talents in the best countrypolitan tradition.

With the Mavericks playing the AMA as well, perhaps Malo will make a guest appearance.  

Friday, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM, The High Watt (One of United Talent Agency's listings)

Saturday, Noon - 6:00 PM, Soulshine Pizza (One of Music Export Canada Presents' listings)

Saturday, 8:00 PM, The High Watt (Showcase).