The last couple of months have been spent organising the largest group of Aussie’s yet for the 2012 Americana Music Festival and Conference.

The big news is that after several years of almost getting them there, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson will take their new album – ‘Wreck & Ruin’ to this year’s event.  The event organisers – the Americana Music Association, have been keen to get them there since 2009 when their last collaboration – ‘Rattlin’ Bones’ topped the official Americana chart.  As well as doing an official showcase, they’ll be performing on the Americana Awards and Honors (sic) Show – a rare privilege for a ‘foreign’ act.

But back to the beginning –

This will be the fourth (and largest) ‘official’ Sounds Australia involvement in one of the great festivals.  The AMA folks have been great supporters of our efforts – particularly ex-pat producer/musician Mark Moffatt who’s the AMA’s event production manager and sits on the AMA Board as the chair of International Committee.

As well as the marvellous Awards show, the event comprises 4 days of conference – 40-odd panels discussing every imaginable aspect of the music business – with an ‘Americana’ bent, special interviews with music legends and a number of themed concerts/showcases and special events.  Every evening, six of Nashville’s premier live music venues become official showcase venues with 5-6 artists per night.  They’ve been chosen from 1,000+ applicants, and we’re delighted that Kasey & Shane will this year be joined by Caitlin Harnett, Jordie Lane and Felicity Urquhart.

As part of the deal we’ve negotiated with the AMA, Sounds Australia will also present the most significant international participation in a number of Aussie-specific events –

Tamworth Presents – A Taste of Australia’ (Bluebird Cafe, Tuesday 11th Sep) Our now ‘traditional’ Festival preview event at one of Nashville’s most iconic venues – the home of songwriting.  The two sessions were sold out last year.

‘Sisters Are Doing It …..’ (Sheraton Ballroom, Thursday 13th) Sounds Australia hosts a delegate reception for the City of Tamworth and Sister Cities of Nashville, to celebrate the ongoing discussions to create a formal relationship between Australia’s ‘country music capital’ and ‘music city USA’.

‘Downunder at the Grille’ (Mt Pleasant Grille, Thursday 13th) Jen Mize’s mum runs this entertainment venue 45 mins from downtown Nashville, and has kindly turned over the room so we can present a special showcase.

‘Maton Aussie Lunch’ (Second Fiddle, Friday 14th)  Australia’s iconic guitar maker helps us to present this third showcase event especially for Americana delegates.  Full house last year.

‘Stagemothers Aussie BBQ’ (The Basement, Sunday 16th) The Aussie BBQ has become a cornerstone Sounds Australia event around the world SxSW (Austin), The Great Escape (Brighton), Liverpool Sound City and CMJ (New York).  Last year we combined with the local champion AFL team – the Nashville Kangaroos, to introduce it to Americana.  A perfect way to farewell the festival and say a big thanks to the Nashville fans and the whole Americana music community.

Music City Roots ‘Up from Downunder’ Special (Loveless Barn, Wednesday 19th) Music City Roots is a weekly live concert and radio/web broadcast featuring the cream of Americana and Country artists.  We were delighted when they approached us last year to do an Aussie special.  A 500 seat sell-out, we’re looking forward to a great night.

This Year’s Sounds Australia Touring Party

As well as our showcase artists, these Sounds Australia events will present a combination of veterans and new chums that we know from experience will wow the locals – 8 Ball Aitken, Ben Wright Smith, Catherine Traicos, Chris AltmannChris Pickering, Damian Howard, Jen Mize, John Flanagan & The Begin Agains, Karl Broadie, Kristy Cox, Lachlan Bryan, Lee Griffin, Lee Morgan, Lianna Rose, Melody Pool, Ruby Boots, Shandell, Sons of Summer and Sue Ray.  It’s great that Telstra and Mushroom Marketing are again on board in awarding the Telstra Road To Discovery winners a trip to Americana as part of their prize.  We’re excited to present Andrew Redford (performance) and Kelly Menhennett (songwriter) to a brand new audience.

Media & Promotion

While we’re in Nashville, we’ll all benefit the services of Jeff Walker’s award-winning publicity/promotions company Aristomedia.  Jeff’s been in Nashville for some decades now and has built a second-to-none professional reputation.  A great supporter of Australians visiting Nashville, we’re very, very lucky to have him in our corner

Not that we’re without our own media ‘clout’.  Having Felicity along as artist and in her capacity as host of the ABC’s ‘Saturday Night Country‘ is a real win/win – great content for her there, and great promotion for our artists and the whole Sounds Australia ‘mission’ back here.  Returning again – after an eye-opening introduction to the event last year will be Emma Swift, host of FBI radio’s ‘In The Pines‘.  She’s kindly offered to contribute her passion for and encyclopaedic of the genre to this blog.  I’m very grateful – as I know you’ll be too.


Sounds Australia relies on its government and industry partners to promote Australian artists at the world’s major live music events.  It just wouldn’t be possible without their help.  And especially in the case of Americana – Tamworth Regional Council, Maton Guitars, yellow tail wines and Telstra Road To Discovery.