“We were doing it for a long time,” says Emmylou Harris as she performs Americana music onstage with Rodney Crowell in NASHVILLE 2.0: The Rise of Americana that airs today in Nashville at 8 p.m. on NPT (available over-the-air on 8.1, on Comcast Channel 1008 and Charter Cable channel 708) as part of the PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL. “We just didn’t know what it was called.”
The music style that embraces multiple threads of our nation’s diverse music cloth is detailed in songs and/or interviews with (in alphabetical order; * indicates a 2013 Americana Music Award winner; italics indicates a Grammy Award winner): Alabama Shakes, The Avett Brothers, Billy Bragg, Laura Cantrell, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rosanne Cash*, The Civil Wars, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Crowell*, Dawes, Jerry Douglas, John Fullbright, Shakey Graves, Emmylou Harris*, The James Hunter Six, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Jim Lauderdale, The Lone Bellow, The Mavericks, The Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller, Mumford & Sons, Shovels and Rope*, Richard Thompson, and Dwight Yoakam*.
As that list shows, this documentary directed by Carol Stein and Susan Wittenberg captures Nashville, aka “The Music City,” in its dual role as the historic home of music icons and institutions as well as the place where rising stars and young musicians arrive with new sounds and dreams of making it big. That mix of veterans and newcomers is creating the musical landscape of tomorrow right now and the inclusive field of Americana music – where country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B, Latin, gospel, blues and other styles come together – is an ever-bigger part of our growing city’s performing scene.
NASHVILLE 2.0 kicks off the “PBS Americana Music Weekend,” which pairs this documentary with an Americana music concert from PBS’ iconic Austin City Limits (ACL) series. In a special episode, ACL travels to Nashville to capture performance highlights from the 2013 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards. ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2013 airs today at 9 p.m. on NPT with an incredible line-up of artists that highlights the best of Americana. The program – recorded in September at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium – also showcases both established and rising stars: Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Shovels & Rope, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, The Milk Carton Kids, Old Crow Medicine Show, Holly Williams, Dr. John, Duane Eddy, John Fullbright, Stephen Stills, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. Full ACL episodes are available online at acltv.com following their initial broadcast.
“It’s astonishing how much vibrant, soul-shaking and exciting music is coming out right now from the Americana movement which both welcomes and blends the best of this country’s musical traditions,” says Donald Thoms, PBS Vice President of General Audience Programming and Talent Management. “It’s doubly exciting to present NASHVILLE 2.0’s fast-paced and comprehensive primer on Americana music, paired with Austin City Limits’ annual concert that gives viewers a closer look at these performers and the songs that are constantly redefining the genre.”
Prior to NASHVILLE 2.0 at 7 p.m. is an episode of the terrific new series Music City Roots: Live From the Loveless Cafe. For fans of our city’s biggest and best export that means three solid hours this evening to enjoy authentic Nashville sounds on NPT.
*Photos of (first) Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris by David McClister; (second) Carolina Chocolate Drops, (third) Buddy Miller, (fourth) Jim Lauderdale, (fifth) Elizabeth Cook and (sixth) Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires by Deborah Feingold courtesy the artists and/or PBS.