Americana conference suffers dip
Monday, September 21, 2009
– The spirit may have been really good at this year's Americana Music Association conference this past week, but the numbers were down.
Executive Director Jed Hilly said Monday that last year's fest drew about 890 registrants paid and gratis, while this year was about 760.
The downturn was no surprise to Hilly. The economy had previously been considered an issue with people unwilling to spend their money in a major economic downturn. Hilly said the AMA also suffered sponsorship losses, but he was upbeat. The fest extended specials as well until near the start of the conference.
"It was really an intense year," said Hilly. "We had to all sorts of things...running auctions to offset the sponsorship losses. We were down in the registration. Interestingly enough, we were not that far off our numbers. We were just off about the same, but we had budgeted that."
"The reason why I did that (extending the discount) was equal parts trying to encourage people to come, but truthfully it was in every category of business today they all wait until the 11th hour."
"It's just a nervous time for everybody. It's not like we were freaking out. It was like everyone's waiting until the last minute to decide," he said.
Hilly also said the conference's nightly concerts at Nashville clubs were down as well. "We were down in the walk up. We usually get a good number of walk up. People can pay $15 or $20 for a single show. We were definitely down on Wednesday to some degree, but still had good crowds, although we were down. The fact that (John) Fogerty did that surprise thing affected the downstairs event at the Cannery." Fogerty played a surprise gig on Wednesday night, which affected attendance at other AMA events.
Despite the downturn, Hilly made it clear he was quite pleased with the response from those attending. He cited anectodal comments of people walking up to him and thanking him for the event. He also referred to positive comments on the association's Twitter page.
More news for Americana Music Association
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Fogerty lives up to his past
Once upon a time, John Fogerty eschewed any association with the band that made him famous, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
But time, which changed a long time ago, heals everything apparently. Not only is Fogerty playing CCR songs, he makes those overwhelmingly the cornerstone of his very fine, invigorating night of music that were the soundtracks of... »»»
Concert Review: With Turnpike Troubadors, there's lots of good reason
The appearance of Turnpike Troubadours was a bit curious. The Oklahoma Red Dirt music troupe has not released an album since 2012's "Goodbye Normal Street." So, it's not as if they're pushing new product.
They also had never even played Boston before. In fact, lead singer Evan Felker said he had never set foot in Beantown period.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
If you move in alt.-country/Americana circles, you simply cannot get away from the name Parker Millsap. He's certainly one of the biggest buzz artists of 2014. Better still, his self-titled album lives up to all the hype. He's a smart songwriter and a passionate singer and is essential listening for anybody looking for high quality contemporary music. Millsap also creates music appealing to a wide variety of musical tastes. You can make a case that he's a country guy, but you can also hear a lot of blues and folk. And if you attempt to put a label on him, he'll quickly tear it right off.... »»»
What a difference a year can make. Last year, Sturgill Simpson was overly anxious about the arrival of his debut album, "High Top Mountain." This year, Simpson is simultaneously anticipating the birth of his debut child and his just-released sophomore album, "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music," and his mood couldn't be more relaxed and joyous.... »»»
What is not expected is for a virtually unknown artist, turning 19 on the day before her album release and finishing high school during the recording of the album, to be the featured artist, with Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and the late Ray Price lending not only their vocals, but also their most-beloved standards in country music. Texas-turned-Tennessee songbird Mary Sarah Gross - Mary Sarah is her stage name - saw that dream realized on her sophomore album "Bridges."... »»»
Trampled By Turtles, the five-piece band from Duluth, Minn., combines bluegrass, folk and country into an enjoyable mixture. This act, which has been known to cover such unexpected artists as the extremely somber Radiohead in concert, is gradually moving away from its speedy bluegrass leanings and incorporating much more moody instrumental blends into its music. "Wild Animals'" title track, for instance, opens up this 11-song album with a slow, dirge-y piece. »»»