When it comes to Americana music, Nashville has emerged as the Rome of the genre—the place where all roots-music roads lead. Home to the Americana Music Association and its annual awards show and festival, it’s the place where a majority of roots-music musicians are living, recording, or touring. This month, on Friday, November 22, Nashville Public Television celebrates the rise of the genre, and Nashville’s role in its ascension, with what may very well be the finest night of music on television anywhere.
Americana night begins at 7 p.m. with Music City Roots: Live from the Loveless Café, with Nashville legend Jason Ringenberg—also known as Farmer Jason to NPT viewers with young children—guest hosting and performing. The show also includes East Nashville’s Don Gallardo, Grateful Dead-inspired bluegrass from the Volunteer String Band, Southern roots rock from Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, and traditional blues from Joey Morant.
At 8 p.m. comes Nashville 2.0: The Rise of Americana. The one-hour documentary surveys the genre that is essentially an American musical melting pot, incorporating country, rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B, gospel, Latin, and blues, bringing new sounds to these proud traditions. It’s a journey drawing lines from Emmylou Harris to Mumford and Sons, Rosanne Cash to the Avett Brothers, and Dwight Yoakam to the Carolina Chocolate Drops, plus performances by Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Elizabeth Cook, The Lone Bellow, and more.
Americana Music night concludes at 9 p.m. with the national broadcast premiere of ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival, an abridged version of the Honors and Awards Show that took place in September at the Ryman Auditorium. Performers include Dr. John, Stephen Stills, Rodney Crowell, Harris and more.