Americanafest NYC – Final Week Concerts in Collaboration with
Americana Music Association – August 6-10
Film, Symposiums and Performances
Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis, Tift Merritt, Cassandra
Wilson, The Campbell Brothers, Devil Makes Three, Rosanne Cash, The Lone
Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Music Makers Blues Review,
Bobby Patterson, St. Paul & The Broken Bones,
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires and More!
In 2014, Lincoln Center Out of Doors launches Americanafest NYC, a
new partnership with the Americana Music Association, the 15-year-old
Nashville-based not-for-profit that advocates for the authentic voice of
American roots music.  Over the course of the last week of Out of Doors, including the concluding annual “Roots of American Music” weekend, Americanafest NYC
will offer concerts by a range of artists—long-established and newer
voices—drawing from the deep wells of folk, bluegrass, country, gospel,
blues, jazz, rock and R&B. Film screenings and a symposium will also
explore the elders and their legacies finding new expression among
younger generations of musicians.
“Harris and Crowell’s chemistry class is a joy to attend,” is what The Tennessean wrote about Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell’s 2013 album Old Yellow Moon,
the first duo album ever released by the longtime friends, bandmates
and musical collaborators, and winner of the 2013 Grammy for Best
Americana Album. Harris puts her unmistakable silver-voiced stamp on
interpretations of country, rock, folk, and traditional songs. She is a
13-time Grammy winner, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
in 2008 and was the first ever recipient of the Americana Lifetime
Achievement Award for Performance in 2002. Singer/songwriter/producer
Rodney Crowell has penned and performed some of country music’s
best-loved songs and collaborated with artists Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill,
Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones and many others. Crowell was inducted
into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003 and received
Americana’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2006. Rolling Stone called his just-released new solo album Tarpaper Sky, “eloquent and often elegiac” and Crowell, “a country music trailblazer.”
Based in Nashville, via Texas, 25-year-old singer songwriter Robert Ellis eludes
categorization. With country nods to Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson,
his work also shows the meticulous craftsmanship and wordsmithing of
Paul Simon and Randy Newman. He’s intent on exploring all the byways of
blues, soul, pop and country. Ellis’ latest album The Lights From the Chemical Plant tells
stories of difficult romance, broken lives and urban landscapes with
help from members of Deer Tick and Dawes (he’s opened for both on tour)
and a guest backing vocal from Jim Lauderdale.

The New Yorker called Tift Merritt “the
bearer of a proud tradition of distaff country soul that reaches back
to artists like Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry.” The
singer/songwriter has created a critically acclaimed body of work of
“sonic short stories and poignant performances” says WXRT Radio.
 Two-time Grammy nominee and three-time Americana Awards nominee,
Merritt will perform a set with guitar and pedal steel master Eric
Heywood.  This intimate performance will take place at Lincoln Center’s
David Rubenstein Atrium.

Reviewing Cassandra Wilson’s recent 20th-anniversary performance at the Highline Ballroom of her “game-changing, breakthrough” album Blue Light ‘til DawnDownbeat wrote
that the singer “demonstrated that she is in full control of one of the
most flexible and dramatically expressive voices in jazz.”  With that
album in which she reworked songs by Charles Brown, Joni Mitchell, Van
Morrison, Ann Peebles and Robert Johnson, she rewrote the definition of
what it means to be a jazz singer, incorporating blues, country, folk
and more, paving the way for a new generation of singers.  The two time
Grammy Award winner continues her explorations with fresh, creative work
that continues to defy categories.
The Campbell Brothers: A Sacred Steel Love Supreme (World Premiere) Featuring visuals by Brock Monroe.  These
torchbearers of sacred steel guitar reveal the full gospel affinities
and spiritual transcendence of Coltrane’s masterwork in a world premiere
honoring its 50
th anniversary.
Monroe’s improvised light show will weave ethereal, lace-like patterns
in real-time dialogue with the musical mantra.
Commissioned by Lincoln Center Out of Doors

The winding road from picturesque rural Brattleboro, Vermont has taken The Devil Makes Three—singer/guitarist
Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist Cooper
McBean—to the Newport Folk Festival, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and
tours with Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and Trampled By Turtles. The
trio’s sound—garage-y ragtime, punkified blues, and old and new timey—is
inspired as much by mountain music as by Preservation Hall jazz.  Their
newest album I’m a Stranger Here is about their journey, filled with road songs, heartbreak songs and barnburners. wrote, “The Devil Makes Three are quite possibly the best band that you have never heard of.”
Two other acts, to be announced shortly, will grace the Hearst Plaza Stage.  They are sure to inspire.  Stay tuned.
In association with the Film Society of Lincoln CenterOut of Doors will present two free film screenings at 1 pm and 4 pm on August 9 at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center’s Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street. Heroes of American Roots: From the Historic Films Archives,  offers
rare footage of musical performances from the archives of collector Joe
Lauro, featuring such icons as Bill Monroe, Lead Belly, Elvis Presley,
the Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and The Staples
Singers, among others. Complimentary tickets will be distributed at the
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center box office starting one hour prior to
each event. Limit: One ticket per person. Please note that while tickets
will not be distributed until one hour prior to each event, the line
may form in advance of this time.
“Cash comes full
circle as a storyteller and singer of exceptional grace and grit. It’s
among her finest work in a 35-year career, assured and at ease, and one
of 2014’s first great albums,” is what The Boston Globe wrote about Rosanne Cash’s The River & the Thread.
Daughter of Americana music legend Johnny Cash, the chart-topping
singer/songwriter has carved her own path as one of America’s preeminent
singer/songwriters. The River & the Thread is a
kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional and historic
landscape of the American South in which Cash draws from country, blues,
gospel and rock to create a soulful mix encapsulating the region’s many
musical strands.
Long-time friends Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have
been making music together from more than 30 years since they met in
New York’s country music scene in the 1980s. Leading lights on the
Americana and Nashville scenes, as singers/songwriters (and in Miller’s
case, star producer)—the two only got around to doing an album together
in 2012 and fans couldn’t be happier with the country-soul mix of
originals and covers of Joe Tex, the Mississippi Sheiks, Jimmy
McCracklin and Johnnie and Jack. Jim is the longtime host and Buddy
music director of the annual Americana Honors & Awards and they
co-host the popular “The Buddy & Jim Show” on SiriusXM’s Outlaw
Country Channel. Buddy and Jim’s excellent adventure returns to where it
started, still packing a punch.
“Brooklyn Country” band The Lone Bellow released its self-titled debut album last December to wide acclaim including raves from USA Today, The New York Times, Paste,  Forbes and Filter.
NPR simply stated, “The world of acoustic music is about to get a new
household name.” The Lone Bellow is lead singer and principal songwriter
Zach Williams, singer and mandolin player Kanene Pipkin and
singer-guitarist Brian Elmquist. Georgia-born Williams began songwriting
in 2005, during a prolonged stay at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center after his
wife had a near fatal accident. The band’s music reflects Williams’
Southern roots, incorporating elements of rock, gospel, country and
The final day of Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2014 and closing day of Americanafest NYC features a free symposium at 1 pm at the David Rubenstein Atrium.  The session kicks off with a screening of Heroes of Americana: From the Historic Films Archives, a collection of short performance clips from the collection of Joe Lauro featuring rare footage of such icons as Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, and Emmylou Harris, introduced by Lauro, to be followed by Talkin’ Blues: Music Makers Relief Foundation’s Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam and Tim Duffy in conversation with Dom Flemons hosted by Lincoln Center’s long time “Roots of American Music” consulting producer Coleman “Spike” Barkin. 
That evening, at Damrosch Park Bandshell, “The Screaming Eagle of Soul” and his eight-piece band, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, will close out Lincoln Center Out of Doors 2014
with delicious retro-soul. A testament to the power of perseverance,
one-time homeless teenager, sometimes James Brown impersonator, then
itinerant cook and janitor for most of his life, Bradley was discovered
in Brooklyn in his mid-fifties by Daptone Records and hasn’t looked
back. His albums No Time for Dreaming and most recent psych-influenced Victim of Love were
on many “best of” recording lists and he’s rocked the stages at
Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and the Newport Folk Festival. His
high-voltage performances combine James Brown moves with a tight backing
band to highlight his greatest asset—“a voice expressive enough to wow
the most demanding soul music fans” (Hollywood Reporter).
Birmingham, Alabama-based sextet St. Paul & the Broken Bones doesn’t
look like your father’s country-soul band, but they sure sound like it,
playing with grit, elemental rhythm and profound depth of feeling. 
Frontman Paul Janeway’s handle harkens to his beginnings in the
gospel-inflected church music of his Pentecostal upbringing.   But
infusions of the Stylistics and Sam Cooke, not to mention time spent in a
band that played Led Zeppelin covers, sent Janeway in another
direction. Members of the band are all drawn from Alabama’s deep talent
pool. Their raw, old-school album Half The City was done in three takes in the studio and the result is high-voltage deep Southern soul.  Wrote The Austin Chronicle,
“The horn-fueled Broken Bones don’t re-create one funky groove after
another. They make them sound more like the truth than any band since
the Seventies.”
The Music Maker Blues Revue,
a bill that brings together three artists supported by the Music Maker
Relief Foundation (MMRF) honoring the non-profit artist support
organization’s 20th anniversary, kicks off the final evening-long
concert of Americanafest NYC and the closing night of Out of Doors 2014:
“My style is real
Lightnin’ Hopkins lowdown blues.  I call it hard classic blues, stompin’
blues, railroad smokin’ blues,” is how Beverly “Guitar” Watkins describes
her irrepressible guitar playing.  This blues lady can play her guitar
behind her head, belt out songs, and roll over to sweet gospel.
Atlanta-born Watkins started setting the stage on fire with Piano Red in
the 1950s and 60s and has worked alongside James Brown, B.B. King and
Ray Charles. MMRF discovered her playing in small Atlanta clubs and
helped her record her first CD and several more albums where her
roadhouse, jazz-inflected and rockabilly blues influences are evident.
Dom Flemons, a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops (who have performed at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series),
is a native Arizonan and true example of the wide embrace of American
roots music among today’s young musicians. He is a member of MMRF’s Next
Generation Artist Program. The “American Songster” and former slam poet
is also a multi-instrumentalist—guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass
and snare drum and quills—but his slide-banjo is the center-piece of a
dazzling repertoire (he also performs clawhammer, tenor and three-string
banjo styles). He draws from folk, blues, early jazz, rock and country,
and musical influences from Phil Ochs, to Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry.
When Flemons gives a concert don’t be surprised if you hear Ma Rainey,
the Beatles and the Band in one pyrotechnic set.
Playing professionally for more than 55 years, Ironing Board Sam has
amassed a staggering repertoire of original material and classic blues
and R&B songs, and his soulful voice and remarkable piano prowess
still bring audiences to their feet. He first made an impact on the
Miami and Memphis scenes in the 1950s, where, lacking a stand for his
electric organ, he propped it up on an ironing board. It was the start
of a remarkable set of moves (Nashville, Iowa, L.A. Memphis, New
Orleans) and music-making equipment including his “button board,” a
wind-up toy to keep time, and an eight-foot high wooden jukebox he
performed in on the sidewalks of the French Quarter. On stage, he’s been
described as a slightly mellower Little Richard crossed with a somewhat
saner Screaming Jay Hawkins and a bit less church Ray Charles.  Presented in association with the Music Maker Relief Foundation
Bobby Patterson has
been singing R&B and southern soul in his hometown of Dallas for
over half a century.  He released countless singles for local and
regional labels in the 1960s and 70s, and his songs have been covered by
artists as diverse as Little Willie John, Albert King, the Fabulous
Thunderbirds and Jeff Tweedy.  His new album, I Got More Soul,
produced by Zach Ernst, the former Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
guitarist, will be released this coming summer, and has already earned
advance praise from the Dallas Morning News: “The result is the best local record of the year — this one or 1968.”
Related Exhibition 
We are the Music Makers
July 9 – August 29, 2014
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
Corridor Gallery
We are the Music Makers,
an exhibit at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and
developed by Music Maker Relief Foundation, will educate and engage
viewers in the cultural history of Southern traditional music. We are the Music Makers features
photo and audio documentation of Southern Roots musicians active in the
past 20 years, photographed and recorded by Tim Duffy, Music Maker
Relief Foundation’s founder in his quest to preserve Southern
traditional music by partnering with the artists who make it. The
multi-media materials will highlight how issues of poverty, geography
and age have limited the exposure of these artists, causing the
widespread idea that the musical traditions they perform have “died
out.” Open during Library hours: 12–8 Monday and Thursday; 12–6 Tuesday,
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

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