Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016 : All Songs Considered NPR Music is headed to Nashville for this week's AmericanaFest where we'll be checking out some of the newest and most promising voices in roots music, along with a few veterans.
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Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016

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Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016

Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016

Nine Artists To Watch For At AmericanaFest 2016

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Clockwise from upper left: Front Country, John Paul White, CW Stoneking, Yola Carter Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

The Americana Music in Nashville is never quite what I think it will be. This week's All Songs starts with Yola Carter, a British singer of mixed race. Next is the white Australian C.W. Stoneking, sounding like blues legend Willie Dixon. The third song on the show is by Marlon Willams, a soulful young New Zealand singer. The common thread as we explore the newest and most promising voices at AmericanaFest is a love of folk, country, roots music, but how that gets interpreted varies, and that's where the fun is. I'm joined this week by NPR Music's Ann Powers and contributor Jewly Hight — both Nashville residents — to talk about some of the artists they're most excited to see as AmericanaFest comes to town, from Becca Mancari and Pony Bradshaw to Front Country and John Paul White.

Tune into our variety of webcasts all week, featuring performances by:

Wednesday, Sept. 21

12:30 p.m. ET - Margo Price & Friends (watch it here)

4:00 p.m. ET - The Lumineers

5:00 p.m. ET - Shovels & Rope

7:30 p.m. ET - Americana Music Association awards show (including performances by Bob Weir, Shawn Colvin, Alison Krauss, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, George Strait, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and The Lumineers.

Thursday, Sept. 22

11:45 a.m. ET - Billy Bragg and Joe Henry

1:30 p.m. ET - Dawes and Lydia Loveless

Friday, Sept. 23

11:00 a.m ET - Bobby Rush

12:00 p.m. ET - Lori McKenna

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Orphan Offering

01Fly Away

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    Song
    Fly Away
    Album
    Orphan Offering
    Artist
    Yola Carter
    Label
    Ear Trumpet Music
    Released
    2016

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Yola Carter

  • Song: Fly Away
  • from Orphan Offering

Yola Carter is a British artist who began her career as a singer and songwriter in the U.K. electronic music scene, working with groups like Massive Attack. Prior to going solo, she was a member of country soul group Phantom Limb. "Her solo career is a much newer thing, but I really like what she's done on this self-produced EP, Orphan Country," says Jewly Hight. "She's stepped into the foreground with this, after playing the backing role a lot."

Cover for Gon' Boogaloo

08Jungle Swing

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    Song
    Jungle Swing
    Album
    Gon' Boogaloo
    Artist
    C.W. Stoneking
    Label
    King Hokum
    Released
    1969

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C.W. Stoneking

  • Song: Jungle Swing
  • from Gon' Boogaloo

Bob's choice is an Australian artist who sounds like he was born next door to the great bluesman Willie Dixon. "I was hesitant when I first heard the music," says Bob. "It felt a bit like a shtick. But seeing him and his fierce all-woman band at Pickathon recently changed all that. He grew up on this music, he loves this music, he's deep inside this music — this is what he is and knows, and it really feels like it comes from the right place."

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Song
Gon' Boogaloo
Album
Gon' Boogaloo
Artist
C.W. Stoneking
Label
King Hokum

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Cover for Marlon Williams

02Dark Child

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    Song
    Dark Child
    Album
    Marlon Williams
    Artist
    Marlon Williams
    Released
    2015

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Marlon Williams

  • Song: Dark Child

"[He's] 25 years old, but I think when you hear him," says Ann Powers. "He definitely fulfills that cliché of having an old soul. He's really a student of American roots music, and also of country pop. He has a bit of that classic Marty Robbins sound to him, sometimes with a bit of Nick Cave thrown in."

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Song
Marlon Williams
Album
Marlon Williams
Artist
Marlon Williams
Released
2015

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Cover for Sake of the Sound

04Sake of the Sound

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    Song
    Sake of the Sound
    Album
    Sake of the Sound
    Artist
    Front Country
    Label
    Front Country
    Released
    2014

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Front Country

  • Song: Sake of the Sound
  • from Sake of the Sound

San Francisco's Front Country has forged its own path in the bluegrass scene, coming from musical backgrounds of all genres and going on to win band competitions at festivals such as Telluride. They're a "progressive bluegrass quintet," says Jewly Hight. "Their singer has this great, round, sultry, more rock-leaning tone and vocal attack that you don't typically hear in bluegrass."

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Song
Sake of the Sound
Album
Sake of the Sound
Artist
Front Country
Label
Front Country
Released
2014

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Cover for Chillin' At The Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ

01Chillin' At The Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ

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Susto

  • Song: Chillin' At The Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ
  • from Chillin' At The Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ

Charleston S.C.'s Susto brings a touch of laughter to the Americana scene, using comedy in the band's song titles and lyrics. Frontman Justin Osborne spent part of his life living in Cuba, which inspired the band's name. "Osborn was raised Christian," says Ann Powers. "And that's a huge part of his songwriting. But he doesn't fuss around it, he makes it fun — he deals with doubt as well as faith."

Cover for Bad Teeth

01Josephine

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Pony Bradshaw

  • Song: Josephine
  • from Bad Teeth

"Pony Bradshaw is the performing name of a guy who covers sports for a small-town paper in Georgia," says Jewly Hight. "In recent years, he took up guitar playing and songwriting and performing. Sonically, he's in that tradition of a really visceral approach to combining blues and country and rock."

Cover for Beulah

01Black Leaf

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    Song
    Black Leaf
    Album
    Beulah
    Artist
    John Paul White
    Label
    Single Lock Records
    Released
    2016

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John Paul White

  • Song: Black Leaf
  • from Beulah

Beulah, the first solo album in eight years from John Paul White, the former singer and guitarist from The Civil Wars, has a blues-like sound. "John Paul White is definitely majorly influenced by rock as much as he is by country or blues," says Ann Powers. "He made [this] record in his hometown of Florence, Alabama."

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Song
Beulah
Album
Beulah
Artist
John Paul White
Label
Single Lock Records
Released
2016

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Cover for Summertime Mama

01Summertime Mama

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    Song
    Summertime Mama
    Album
    Summertime Mama
    Artist
    Becca Mancari
    Label
    Dynamite Red Media
    Released
    1969

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Becca Mancari

  • Song: Summertime Mama
  • from Summertime Mama

Nashville's Becca Mancari is a newcomer to the scene, but she carries the influence of her past in her music, drawing from the many parts of the U.S. she's lived in. With notes of Appalachian folk, bluegrass, and everything in between, this is her debut single. "She's lyrical and a little bit raw," says Ann Powers. She "connects to rock and roll and roots music, and has a great personality in her songs."

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Song
Summertime Mama
Album
Summertime Mama
Artist
Becca Mancari
Label
Dynamite Red Media

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Cover for Wynonna & The Big Noise

04You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast (feat. Cactus Moser)

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    You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast (feat. Cactus Moser)
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    Wynonna & The Big Noise
    Artist
    Wynonna & The Big Noise
    Label
    Curb
    Released
    2016

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Wynonna & The Big Noise

  • Song: You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast (feat. Cactus Moser)

Jewly Hight calls Wynonna Judd a "legend of legends." This week's show closes with a track that leaves Hight hardly able to contain herself. "This year, she and her drummer husband, Cactus Moser, debuted a new project: The Big Noise. They steered into an R&B-inflected roots rock thing, with that really guttural guitar attack that is reminiscent of what Buddy Miller does on guitar."

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Song
Wynonna & The Big Noise
Album
Wynonna & The Big Noise
Artist
Wynonna & The Big Noise
Label
Curb
Released
2016

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