I really look forward to Americana week in Nashville because we have the option to see and hear some really great singer/songwriters of this genre who may not tour routinely in the Southeast. The past few years have seen the profile of this conference and festival really grow with breakout artists like Alabama Shakes and Shovels and Rope performing showcase performances along with veteran "Americana" artists like this year's headliner, The Avett Brothers.
Increasingly, this is a conference and festival for refugees of the "country" world that seems intent on staying on it's pop and drunken dirt road path for a while longer...despite the increasing attention artists like Hayes Carll, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson are getting from mainstream critics and reviewers.
So what would my choices be if I were looking for those "under the radar" or "obscure but rising (or persisting) artists? Well I'm glad you asked! If you are more lyrically minded and seeking those singer/songwriters then you should try to see following (in order of performance): John Moreland, Linda Ortega, Joe Pug, Andrew Combs, Robby Hecht, Lauren Shera, Griffin House, Liz Longley, and Lera Lynn.
Oh, you want to hear a band you might not know about yet? Why didn't you say so? Well, that would be Steelism, The Vespers, The Black Lillies...The Black Lillies...The Black Lillies, and Carolina Story. The latter two have been frequent performers on The Grand Ole Opry of late so you should check them out whle you still can!
You don't need me to tell you about the bands and artists that are Americana "darlings" and more well known...that's not what I'm into or what we're about. We want to help those talented artists that are out there working hard, playing great music, talented, and need a little boost to make it to the next level.
Any way you go, you'll be doing alright. But you're dumb if you don't check out the artists on my list...ha ha.
Have fun and stay safe in this crazy town!