British Americana fans will be flocking to Hackney, East London for 3 days of conference in January as AmericanaFest UK returns for its 4th year. Two days of conferences and showcases are topped off by a third day of events and the coveted UK Americana Awards 2019.
As Americana evolves and the charts reflect the popularity of the genre, The Americana Music Association UK’s (AMA-UK) membership has grown rapidly and therefore the event has grown too. The conference venue is bigger, the talks will take place over 3 days and there will be an incredible 48 artists showcasing at 5 venues over 2 days! To top it all, the Awards show has moved to the iconic Hackney Empire. Bands attending the showcase also reflect the pull of the genre and are truly trans-Atlantic, coming from here in the UK and also the USA and Canada.
48 acts will showcase over two nights across four venues, all within walking distance, in the days preceding the Awards including South coast group The Southern Companion who are due to release new album, “Shine A Little Light” days before AmericanaFest UK takes place, English singer-songwriter Beth Rowley will bring her incredible voice and love of Blues and Gospel whilst New York musicians Gangstagrass will add their blend of authentic bluegrass and rap. London based folk rock outfit Treetop Flyers, Americana rock n roll artist Arkansas Dave and crowd-pleasing indie-pop band Coco and the Butterfields are also among the multitude of acts showcasing.
AMA-UK are excited to announce two guest hosts for the showcase festival; On the 29 January during AmericanaFest UK Canadian Music Export will present Canadian Blast at The Empire Bar and they will be bringing six brilliant Canadian artists to showcase; Leeroy Stagger, Oh Susanna, Harrow Fair, Kaia Kater, Madison Violet and Pretty Archie. On the 30 January, renowned Nashville label Thirty Tigers will be hosting the Moth Club (with artists to be announced).
Other acts confirmed to play so far are Bennett Wilson Pool, Smith & Brewer, Amber Rubarth, Sam Morrow, Nicki Bluhm, Mike Farris, Ethan Johns and The Black Eyed Dogs, The Hanging Stars, Neilson Hubbard, Carson McHone, The Hungry Mothers, William The Conqueror, Michaela Anne, Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou, Caleb Caudle, Amy Speace, Martha L Healy, Noble Jacks, Caroline Spence, The Blue Highways, Lucas and King, Wild Ponies, Birds of Chicago, Jamie Freeman, Police Dog Hogan, Austin Lucas and Martin Harley.
This year’s artist spotlight interview will be conducted by BBC Ulster’s Ralph McLean chatting with Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel. Bob Harris will be in conversation with the venerable John Oates, whose recent album Arkansas pays tribute to American music’s roots. Following her incredibly well-received Guest Curatorship of Cambridge Folk Festival, US musician Rhiannon Giddens will be giving the keynote speech.
Giddens commented: “I’m very excited to see what the UK is doing with the genre of Americana, so I’m honoured to be the keynote speaker for 2019’s AMA-UK conference.”
Day one of the conference includes ‘AMA-UK AmericanaFest UK Welcome & Board Q&A’ followed by panels on 30 January which encompass many talking points within the genre - ‘Diversity in Americana: Breaking Down The Barriers’, ‘Oh Sister, Where Art Thou: Women in Americana Music’, ‘Americana in Film, TV & Games’ and ‘Are You Export Ready?’. On 31 January, there will be a song writing workshop, film and presentation, as well as the final panel of AmericanaFest UK, ‘Honing Your Craft At Songwriting Camps’. Panellists will include Ian Neil (Film Music Supervisor), Samantha Carew (Sky TV Music) and Ben Summer (Music Supervisor at Feel For Music), Matt Biffa (Music Supervisor at Air Edel), Emily Barker (Artist/composer) and Angela Penhaligon (Film, TV & Ads Music Supervisor) amongst other artists and music industry professionals.
AMA-UK are delighted to welcome Bluegrass Situation to AmericanaFest UK 2019 who will be hosting a pre-showcase networking event (open to all wristband holders) with Southern Comfort on the 29 Jan at Night Tales - presenting amazing artists Rachel Baimen and Chance McCoy.
The nominees for the AmericanaFest UK Awards were announced at the launch event last month along with the Lifetime Achievement Award winner Graham Nash who will receive their highest honour for his outstanding contribution to the Americana genre over the span of his career and life in music.
Selected by the board members, this special award celebrates a UK artist, duo or group that has taken an exceptional path, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps in developing the Americana genre. The 2019 recipient will be Joe Boyd.
Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award
Selected by Bob Harris OBE, this special award celebrates the breakthrough artist, duo or group that has particularly impressed the legendary music broadcaster throughout the year. The 2018 recipient will be Curse Of Lono.
Best Selling Americana Album
AMA-UK works with The Official Charts Company to create the UK Americana Album Chart. This Award is given to the bestselling Americana Album by a UK Artist. The 2019 recipient will be announced in January.
Grass Roots Award
Selected by the board members, this special award celebrates the sometimes un-sung heroes of the UK Americana scene. It is presented to individuals working in the industry (in a capacity other than as artists) who have made outstanding efforts to support Americana music from the grass roots up. The 2019 recipients are Immy Doman and Risa Tabatznik of The Green Note
UK Album of the Year
• All On Red by Orphan Colours (produced by Steve Llewellyn, Fred Abbott and Rupert Christie)
• Bennett Wilson Poole by Bennett Wilson Poole (produced by Tony Poole)
• Shorebound by Ben Glover (produced by Neilson Hubbard and Ben Glover)
• Treetop Flyers by Treetop Flyers (produced by Reid Morrison, Sam Beer and Laurie Sherman)
International Album of the Year
• By The Way I Forgive You by Brandi Carlile (produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings)
• Let Your Kindness Remain by Courtney Marie Andrews (produced by Mark Howard and Courtney Marie Andrews)
• Ruins by First Aid Kit (produced by Tucker Martine)
• The Tree of Forgiveness by John Prine (produced by Dave Cobb)
UK Song of the Year
• Be More Kind by Frank Turner (written by Frank Turner)
• Chicago by Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker (written by Josienne Clarke)
• Southern Wind by Dean Owens (written by Dean Owens and Will Kimbrough)
• Uh-huh by Jade Bird (written by Jade Bird)
International Song of the Year
• Hold Your Head Up High by Darlingside (written by Auyon Mukharji, Caitlin Canty and Donald Mitchell)
• Mockingbird by Ruston Kelly (written by Ruston Kelly)
• Rolling On by Israel Nash (written by Israel Nash)
• The Joke by Brandi Carlile (written by Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth)
UK Artist of the Year
• Bennett Wilson Poole
• Ethan Johns
• Robert Plant
• The Wandering Hearts
International Artist of the Year
• John Prine
• Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
• Mary Gauthier
• Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
UK Instrumentalist of the Year
• CJ Hillman
• Gwenifer Raymond
• Martin Harley
• Seth Lakeman
AmericanaFest UK is open to non-members who want to just attend the showcase gigs.