In September 2013, The Bushwackers where invited to perform live at the Americana Festival in Nashville, USA, the first time in the bands 43 year history. With the help of some of our most beloved supporters, the band staged a crowd funding campaign to raise money to take the entire band to Nashville. To our surprise we raised enough cash to get us all on a flight. We playing alongside the absolute legends of Americana music and we gave them a great big dose of Aussie music, songs and culture from the Bushwackers.
Here is a snap shot of our time in Nashville for the Americana Festival 2013.
Our Bushwackers trip to Nashville was jam packed with amazing memories. From our first day in Nashville where we picked up a Maton Guitar for our shows. The Maton representative in Nashville was none other than the famous songwriter Beeb Birtles from LRB. He handed Roger a lovely Maton Messiah 808 cutaway. How lucky for us the deal was done in the carpark of the worlds best Guitar Shop. We parted with some of our hard earned newly minted American dollars that day.
We caught up with so many of our friends who have relocated to Nashville, Carol and Kim and from The Greencards, Sam Hawkesley and Rick Price, Jedd Hughes who now plays with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Gina Mendello, Tommy Emmanuel’s Manager, an old friend from 1998 Michaela Dewar. Not to mention the crew who shared the Australian contingency to Nashville with us, Paul Kelly, Melody Poole, Mustard Courage, Catherine Britt, Bill Chambers and Tim Rogers.
The music we heard and the shows we saw completely blew our minds, people like Eamon McLoughlin ace fiddler from the Green Cards, Aubrey Haney, Dennis Crouch, Brian Sutton, Alan O’Bryant and Sam Bush who were doing a little ‘house concert’ of sublime Bluegrass the like of which you would pay anything to see an evening concert.
At the Americana Music Awards we enjoyed the superb talents of Ry Cooder, Richard Thompson, Steven Stills, Duane Eddy, Dr John with huge swampy band, The Old Crow Medicine Show who performed their hit Wagon Wheel which has now sold 1.5 million copies without ever getting onto the charts and there’s some new artists Shovels and Rope and The Milk Carton Kids and of course the legendary Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell.
Late in the evenings after our shows we would head out to hear some incredible music until the early hours of the morning including Roseanne Cash who is awesomely great, Billy Bragg, Holly Williams, and the Time Jumpers.
We ate some pretty crazy Southern food including one very late night with our friend Tom Mason, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, in a seamier side of town – a Nashville experience we are told. The bouncer at the restaurant was a larger gentleman with a gun in his belt to welcome you at the door and there was a mixed bag of characters there eating fried chicken. Extreme spice was the order of the day. Our favourite dessert at the Cheesecake shop was Reeses Peanut Butter Cheese cake with caramel sauce, cream and ice-cream. The deep fried pickles, pancakes, waffles, black coffee, saltwater taffy and sugar with everything left our waistlines a little rounder.
We visited the Opryland Convention centre which is America at its most opulent and excessive, the Honky Tonks on Broadway, The Nashville Palace, the famous Blue Bird Cafe, The Country Music Hall Of Fame, and went to the Americana Awards at the Ryman Theatre. We took our life into our own hands when we dodged the massive trucks and drove the interstate to Knoxville, 200 miles away to play the Blue Plate Special, a live radio program syndicated worldwide.
But most of all we performed our hearts out and made some great new friends in the USA. Our very last performance was at the famous Loveless Cafe where each Tuesday night, Music City Roots is hosted. We think we left an impression – a standing ovation from the 400 plus packed crowd. Americana – we will be back!