11 Must-See Acts at This Year’s Americana Music Festival

The 17th annual Americana Music Festival invades Nashville for six days and nights next week (Sept. 20–25). With more than 200 acts hitting 14 stages around town, Music City becomes Roots Music City for the week. While it’s impossible to see every show (you’d need the ability to time-warp), NCD has you covered with the Who, When, Where and Why of 11 must-see acts at this year’s AmericanaFest.

11. Aubrie Sellers


When: Thurs., Sept. 22, 11 p.m.
Where: Mercy Lounge
Why: You won’t hear any LeeAnn Womack covers, instead you’ll get a heavy dose of Aubrie’s unfiltered garage-country sound as she fuses a classic voice with raw rock.

10. The Black Lillies


When: Wed., Sept. 21, 11:59 p.m.
Where: The Basement East
Why: The Lillies’ catalogue is a sonic cornucopia of country, R&B, jazz, folk and rock that bubbles and boils with brass and strings.

9. Town Mountain


When: Tues., Sept. 20, 11 p.m.
Where: The Basement
Why: This hard-charging Carolina string band can pick and grin with the best of ’em . . . and their cover of “I’m On Fire” is Springsteentastic.

8. David Ramirez


When: Thurs., Sept. 22, 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Anchor
Why: David’s 2015 album, Fables, was one of the darkest, grittiest and most satisfying of year.

7. Sam Outlaw


When: Fri., Sept. 23, 8 p.m.
Where: Mercy Lounge
Why: Sam’s SoCal country sound is a culture-clashing mix of country, roots, rock and resonations from south of the border.

6. Reckless Kelly


When: Thurs., Sept. 22, 10 p.m.
Where: Mercy Lounge
Why: For the last 19 years, Reckless Kelly has played in every sawdust-covered honky-tonk from Austin to Boston, lighting up the stage with their hard-rocking version of alt-Texas country music.

5. James McMurtry


When: Wed., Sept. 21, 5 p.m. & 11 p.m.
Where: City Winery
Why: James is the consummate storyteller whose common-man songwriting proficiencies are best enjoyed live with a nice glass of vino

4. Jim Lauderdale


When: Fri., Sept. 23, 10 p.m.
Where: 3rd & Lindsley
Why: Jim’s got the best hair in the game and the songwriting chops to match.

3. Colvin & Earle


When: Tues., Sept. 20, 10 p.m.
Where: City Winery
Why: Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle combine their pioneering powers to form an otherworldly duo—think of them as the anti-Sonny & Cher.

2. John Prine



When: Thurs., Sept. 22, 10 p.m.
Where: Station Inn
Why: Because in some form or fashion, John has probably influenced every artist at this year’s AmericanaFest.

1. Dwight Yoakam


When: Wed., Sept. 21, 11 p.m.
Where: Mercy Lounge
Why: If you need a reason, spin-kick yourself in the face. It’s Dwight freakin’ Yoakam.

Aubrie Sellers by Allister Ann/Sacks & Co.; The Black Lillies by Spouse Neuhoff/Shore Fire Media; Town Mountain by Sandlin Gaither Photography/Town Mountain; David Ramirez by Greg Giannukos/David Ramirez; Sam Outlaw by Casey Currey/Shore Fire Media; Reckless Kelly courtesy New Frontier Touring; James McMurtry by Shane McCauley/Conqueroo; Jim Lauderdale by Scott Simontacchi/The Press House; Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle by Alexandra Valenti/Concord Music Group; John Prine by Josh Britt/Shore Fire Media; Dwight Yoakam by Emily Joyce/WMG