Five days in Nashville seems like Heaven for any music lover, but five days during the Americana Music Association’s annual extravaganza and conference can be celestial overload for those willing to jump in feet first like we did.
This year the event fired up on the first day with the big engine, the AMA Awards show, this year starring Booker T. Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Richard Thompson, Buddy Miller, Larry Campbell and the Usual Suspect Emcee, Jim Lauderdale. As much as I love the performances, the awards and the bashful speeches from the emerging artist winners, the finale always hits me hardest. This year, in honor of the late Levon Helm, who had performed a “Ramble at the Ryman” only months before, the whole cast came out to sing “The Weight,” led by Helm’s friend and bandleader Larry Campbell, Amy Helm, and many of Helm’s Ramble partners. Taking turns on lead vocals, Helm’s classic Band song took on more gravitas than usual, and that’s saying something.
- Suzanne Cadgene