Americana UK

Americana UK

I have spent the last two days at the UK Americana Conference in Hackney, hosted once again by the Americana Music Association UK  and led by its acting CEO, Charlie Pierce.

The launch party had taken place on Monday evening, however I sadly had to miss this, and I arrived early on Tuesday morning at the main Conference venue, Night Tales in Bohemia Place, to collect my delegate pass. 

The event was kicked off by Charlie who briefly outlined the planned schedule and first up was a panel, ‘Deep Roots – New Shoots’, moderated by Tom Bridgewater of Loose Music, which explored the Americana genre and its current releases.

This was followed by an exclusive film screening of ‘Finding Lucinda’, that took the delegates on a heartfelt journey through the life and early career of the iconic country/folk music star Lucinda Williams.

The afternoon saw the first day’s highlight, ‘Composing for Sync’, with industry lawyer Luke Hill, composer Adele Etheridge-Woodson and Head of 515 Talent, Emily Richardson.

I was then joined  by producer Greg Fitzgerald for the following Sync 101 panel, which consisted of Mark Garfield, Michelle Stoddart, Anne Miller, Liam McMellon, Kelli Slade, Connie Farr and chair Lara Baker, who collectively reviewed and advised on a number of tracks submitted by artists.

The event offers a great opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Americana community and it was particularly good to catch up with Tom, Mark and Miles of the Northern Cowboys during the evening’s networking session. It was also a pleasure to meet, for the first time, charming rising star Daisy Chute and the impressive Canadian artist Aysanabee.

Greg and I then visited the Oslo bar for some welcome Venezuelan street food, before dropping in on Fiona Bevan‘s excellent performance at Paper Dress Vintage, one of the five showcase venues. (There are over fifty artists performing sets around Hackney during the event, always an extremely enjoyable part of the week).

I returned on Wednesday afternoon – having now recovered fully from the effects of Monday’s flu jab – to meet the MU’s Head of Live Performance Kelly Wood, who was contributing throughout the day. Of particular interest was the AMA-UK & SESAC Americana Songwriting Workshop supported by the Musicians’ Union, which explored in film and onstage the music, life and family of a young Ukrainian musician. A highlight in this segment was a performance by Australian singer/guitarist Steve Wallis.

I was joined in the evening by Jonathan Stewart and we visited all the fringe venues and caught a considerable number of acts, including the energised country songs of Derby’s J R Harbridge and the ground-breaking Asian/Country music crossover act, Jay Shrivastav.

Thanks everyone, a superb event.

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