AmericanaFest 2022: Day 2: From The Heavy Heavy to American Aquarium

AmericanaFest 2022 was now in full swing! Here’s what we got up to on Day 2…interviews, awards shows and lots of live music.

One thing we’ve learned quickly about AmericanaFest is that we’re spoilt for choice and there’s no way we can be everywhere and see everything. So, on this first full day in Nashville Susannah Marks (trusty photographer) and I choose to accept an invitation to go and talk to the two primary members of The Heavy Heavy, the British band we saw perform on the BMI rooftop yesterday.

But first we couldn’t resist “breakfast” in a honky tonk. The live music starts early in Nashville and we caught this act at about 10:30 in the morning. This is a snippet of Garrett Speer:

Not a bad way to start the day!

Then we took an Uber out to a leafy Nashville suburb and came across a residential house where it seems all the cool kids were hanging out when they weren’t doing their AmericanaFest duties.

We set up our cameras and were introduced to Will Turner and Georgie Fuller of The Heavy Heavy. In no time at all we were in deep conversation. Watch the interview here:

To give you an idea of what is also happening during the day at AmericanaFest our options on this Wednesday included a panel discussion with Big Star’s Jody Stephens, A lunch called Hillbillies and Hotdogs, a panel called Wattstax Now And Then, a screening of a documentary about Peter Case: A Million Miles Away and The Bluegrass Situation’s 10th Anniversary Happy Hour!

By the time we returned from our meeting with The Heavy Heavy (and did a bit of sightseeing/shopping/drinking it was time for the 21st Annual Americana Honors & Awards. The live event was taking place at the Ryman Auditorium, but since we only had one pass between the two of us, Susannah and I watch the live stream from the comforts of the City Winery.

Here’s a blurb about the Awards:

The critically acclaimed ceremony has confirmed performances by the likes of Adia Victoria, Allison Russell, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Miller, Chris Isaak, The Fairfield Four, Indigo Girls, James McMurtry, Lucinda Williams, Lukas Nelson, The McCrary Sisters, Morgan Wade, Neal Francis, Phosphorescent, Sierra Ferrell and The War And Treaty.

Presenters include ​Allison Moorer​, ​Dom Flemons​, ​Hayes Carll, ​Jerry Douglas​, ​Lucius​, ​Lyle Lovett​, ​The Milk Carton Kids​ and ​Molly Tuttle.

Highlights were Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett performing together and this rather striking appearance by Sierra Ferrell:

With the Awards wrapping up at about 8:30pm we still had a full night of live music ahead of us.

First stop was at the Brooklyn Bowl to see and hear Dead Horses, a “Milwaukee-based folk band Dead Horses have cultivated a soulful roots sensibility informed as much by early-American prose as it is modern Americana music.” And more about them: Dead Horses isn’t a band in the conventional sense. Rather, it’s an intimate, folk-inspired conversation between two close friends. At its core, the participants are guitarist/singer Sarah Vos and bassist Daniel Wolff. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based pair’s musicality, emotionality, and ambitions have sent them on a winding journey in music.

Here’s a few photos and an audio clip for your enjoyment:

After Dead Horses we high-tailed it over to a place called EXIT/IN where one of my favourite bands, American Aquarium, was due to perform. When we got there we were lucky to catch the end of Sarah Shook & the Disarmers. Here’s what they sounded like:

Sarah and the Disarmers were the perfect warmup for American Aquarium. Having interviewed front man BJ Barham a couple of times and rating their last two albums, Lamentations (2020) and Chicamacomico (2022) very highly I was stoked and they did not disappoint. They played for 45 minutes (a lengthy set by AmericanaFest standards) and put a perfect end to a wonderful day. Check it out:


But, as they say, wait, there’s more! With midnight about to strike, we struck out to the central Nashville /Broadway to a place called Rippy’s Honkytonk. There was live music, there was whiskey and some dirty dancing. Now the night is over!