ASCAP Shows Its Roots at Americanafest 2019 in Nashville

By Erik Philbrook, ASCAP Editor-in-Chief  •  September 16, 2019

Elvis Costello, Brandy Clark, Colter Wall, Shawn Colvin, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Dylan LeBlanc and many more elevate Nashville’s annual celebration of Americana music

The Americana Music Association honored music legends Elvis Costello and Maria Muldaur at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville on Wednesday, September 11. Costello was honored for Lifetime Achievement for Songwriting and Muldaur was honored with the Trailblazer Award. Many ASCAP members and their music were well represented at the ceremony. Husband-and-wife duo The War and Treaty won Emerging Act of the Year after a breakthrough 2018, fueled by their debut album Healing Tide. Super trio I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz) won Duo/Group of the Year and Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Eldridge was named Instrumentalist of the Year. ASCAP duo The Milk Carton Kids (Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan) were the hosts for the evening.

Over at the famed Bluebird Café, ASCAP also helped kick off the 2019 Americanafest, the Americana Music Association’s annual conference and music festival, in the best way possible: with a songwriters round featuring some of today’s most accomplished writers. Performers included Brandi Clark, Colter Wall, Vincent Neil Emerson and Corb Lund.

Nashville’s historic War Memorial Auditorium has a rich history as a concert venue. And for the first time, it hosted a day stage for Americanafest, co-sponsored by ASCAP, WMOT and NPR’s World Café. On day one, ASCAP curated performances from a dynamic range of music acts including The Mavericks, Tami Neilson, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Shawn Colvin and The Record Company and Robert Randolph. 

In an ongoing partnership with Luck Reunion, the “movement” and organization dedicated to cultivating and spreading the evolution of American roots music, ASCAP co-sponsored the Luck Showboat and Luck Embassy at Americanafest. The Luck Showboat took attendees out on the Cumberland River on the General Jackson riverboat and treated everyone to an eclectic roster of performers, dinner and a killer view of the Nashville skyline. The Luck Embassy, situated in East Nashville, was the latest service provided by ASCAP, Luck, Southwest Airlines and others to provide songwriters with valuable support. The Embassy provided a place for artists to gather, meet, eat and also film a video of a performance in the Embassy studio, which they could then use for promotional purposes.

With over 300 acts performing across Music City, USA this year, Americanafest continues to grow, reflecting the strength and draw of roots-based music. Artists and fans travel from around the globe to participate and celebrate the array of genres represented under the umbrella of Americana, including rock, folk, roots, country, bluegrass, blues and much more. ASCAP is proud to help keep this music alive and thriving.