Americana Music Association Announces Slate of AMERICANAFEST Conference Speakers and Panels

The Americana Music Association has revealed its lineup for the 19th annual AMERICANAFEST conference, headquartered at The Westin Nashville. This year’s programming highlights include a keynote by k.d. lang; a conversation with Emmylou Harris and Margo Price; a preview screening of Ken Burns’ upcoming “Country Music” documentary with co-producer Dayton Duncan and more.

The seminal music industry forum will feature almost 60 panels and workshops throughout the week of Sept. 11-16, bringing together more than 200 professionals from the top tier of the music business to discuss and engage in current topics and issues in front of Conference Registrants. Exact dates and times will be made available here and on the AMERICANAFEST® mobile app on Sept. 1.

lang will commence this year’s programming with a keynote as she is interviewed by NPR Music critic Ann Powers. The 2018 Americana Trailblazer honoree will deliver words of wisdom on forging her own path in the industry while always living beyond any musical borders.

Harris and Price will exchange inspirations, aspirations, songwriting stories and more as part of MOJO Magazine’s first-ever Nashville event at Jack White’s Third Man Records, moderated by music critic Bob Mehr.

Duncan, writer and lead producer of Burns' upcoming eight-episode PBS series “Country Music,” will discuss the documentary project which traces the country music landscape over the years. He will be showing a few clips from the work-in-progress and the sneak peek will be followed by a brief Q&A.

Heavyweights from the Americana music community will be sharing insight on projects that have made seismic waves in the industry. Brandi Carlile and ubiquitous music producer Dave Cobb will sit down with The GRAMMY® Museum’s Scott Goldman to deconstruct her chart-topping, Americana award-nominated album “By The Way, I Forgive You” at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A. The discussion will be followed by an emotive performance by Carlile.

Additional 2018 conference highlights include an intimate conversation with Mary Gauthier as she delves into her Americana Album of the Year-nominated record, “Rifles & Rosary Beads.” Gauthier will be joined by Randy Lewis from The L.A. Times for a discussion on the creative process behind a powerful, cathartic body of work composed of U.S. war veteran stories and their truths.

This year’s AMERICANAFEST conference will also go further than the music, elaborating on the enduring cultural impact of artists as a result of their groundbreaking contributions. Music critic Jewly Hight has curated a panel to spotlight African-American innovators who have been instrumental in the melding of gospel, blues and R&B sounds that now fall under the Americana music umbrella. She will be moderating “Minds in Motion” alongside panelists Kam Franklin of The Suffers, Jason Eskridge and The War & Treaty’s Michael Trotter, Jr. and Tanya Trotter.

A timely panel revolving around Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees (Plane Crash at Los Gatos)” unites speakers like Radney Foster, Alejandro Escovedo and Will Hoge as they unearth concepts about the song and possible parallels experienced by immigrants in modern society.

Dom Flemons will lead an in-depth discussion on the various generations of African American roots music and how its unique elements have shaped the last century. He will be joined by Guy Davis, Barry Mazor (The Wall Street Journal), Steven Lewis (The National Museum of African American Music) and more.

Music historians will be thrilled to attend sessions that commemorate pivotal moments in the evolution of the country music scene and what is considered contemporary American roots music. The “California Country Music and the Legacy of the Palomino Club” panel will round up Jim Lauderdale and BMG’s Scott B. Bomar, among others, for a deep dive into the legacy of the iconic West Coast music venue as it nears its 70th anniversary.

AMERICANAFEST will once again provide CLE (continuing legal education) panels geared toward attorneys with an emphasis on entertainment law. “The Blurred Line of Creativity” will break down the infamous “Blurred Lines” case involving the ruled copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” against the Robin Thicke radio hit. The ongoing CLE program will provide credit for practicing attorneys and is sponsored by Leavens, Strand & Glover, LLC.

Radio-focused panels round out the many facets of the music industry covered during these workshops, expanding on conversations relating to the future of the medium and the Americana radio format. This programming will also offer a behind-the-scenes look into the new Americana singles and albums charts, powered by CDX.

Conference Registrations are currently on-sale at the standard rate of $449 with a discounted rate of $349 for Americana Music Association members. These passes can be purchased here and offer admission into all daytime educational panels, showcase venues and sanctioned special events. Registrants also have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets per registration to the 17th annual Americana Honors & Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. For more details on ticketing, click here.

For more information and to purchase an AMERICANAFEST® pass, visit americanamusic.org.