The 2018 AmericanaFest kicks off in two weeks, bringing more than 500 shows and 60 panels to Nashville.
The festival announced its lineup of panelists, lecturers and interviewees this morning. Included in the mix are k.d. lang, who doubles as this year’s keynote speaker and Americana Trailblazer Award recipient. She’ll also serve as a sort of musical bookend, kicking off AmericanaFest’s special programming with a keynote address — delivered in a Q&A format with NPR critic Ann Powers — before hitting the Ryman Auditorium several days later for the Nashville stop of her Ingénue Redux 25th Anniversary Tour.
Other songwriters will be appearing in their own panels, too, including Brandi Carlile (who will discuss her new album, By the Way, I Forgive You, alongside producer Dave Cobb at RCA Studio A) and Mary Gauthier (who will dive into the inspiration behind her Americana Album of the Year nominee, Rifles & Rosary Beads). Finally, Margo Price and Emmylou Harris will set up shop at Jack White’s Third Man Records for a conversation about songwriting inspirations and artistic goals.
Documentarian Dayton Duncan is also coming to AmericanaFest, where he’ll show clips of Ken Burns’ upcoming PBS series, Country Music, and field questions about the upcoming show. Meanwhile, other panels will shine a light on Americana’s history as a politically- and socially-minded genre. The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Dom Flemons is scheduled to spearhead a discussion about the trend-setting history of African American roots music, while Alejandro Escovedo and Will Hoge are both lined up for a panel about Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees (Plane Crash at Los Gatos),” a song whose lyrics apply to America’s own immigration debate.
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Carlile and Price are two of the most-nominated artists at this year’s Americana Honors and Awards, which takes place at the Ryman Auditorium on September 12th. Additionally, Irma Thomas and Buddy Guy will be honored with Lifetime Achievement awards at the ceremony, while Rosanne Cash will be presented with the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award — an honor that was presented to her father Johnny Cash back in 2002.