AmericanaFest 2022: The 5 Best Things We Saw on Saturday
With conference panels completely wrapped up, Saturday was all about music, and Americanafest’s final day had a buffet of options. I opted to appease my appetite for live music at my home state’s “Commonwealth of Kentucky Party” at The Basement followed by a load of strikes both on the lanes and on the stage at Brooklyn Bowl.
Here’s the best things I saw from both on day five of AmericanaFest 2022.
Commonwealth of Kentucky Party at The Basement
- Lexington-based country queen Abby Hamilton helped knock the Kentucky party into overdrive while also reinforcing just why she’s already shared stages with the likes of Wynonna Judd, The Mountain Goats, Kelsey Waldon and Shakey Graves during an early afternoon set that included choice cuts from her new Afraid of the Dark (Live Sessions) EP. Performances of “Big Time” — a story of the songwriter’s struggle to make it big — and “Trailer Park Queen,” about her cousin with a Dolly Parton-like aura who ran the trailer park she called home — in particular showcased Hamilton’s straightforward, tongue-in-cheek songwriting style that has long had her beloved by her home state’s concert goers.
- Northern Kentucky and Lexington area collective Brother Smith ran through everything from gospel-eque hymns, funky jams, soulful serenades and more during an action-packed 45 minute set. Led by brothers Wesley and Aaron Smith, the group features epic harmonies rivaling those of The Wilder Blue and their Station Inn set the night prior. This was exemplified by the Smiths harmonizing with bandmates Amberly Winfrey Caddell, Trevor Caddell, Tyler Young and Zach Martin on “Comeback Kid” from their upcoming album, La Sinfonía del Vaquero, due out next month. Individually each has vocal prowess, but collectively their power is a sight to behold, and one that in the moment feels like it has a force behind it strong enough to move mountains.
- Fresh off of a handful of shows opening for fellow Louisvillians My Morning Jacket, Producing a Kind Generation (PAKG) had the Kentucky showcase’s most rock’n show next to sisterly Bowling Green duo Girl Tones. Together the two groups were easily the biggest surprises from a showcase packed full of sonically and geographically diverse music from all corners of Kentucky, with Girl Tones taking on a Larkin Poe vibe with extra angst and PAKG’s sound falling between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Living Colour. They’re further proof that Kentucky is about far more than just country and bluegrass music.
Brooklyn Bowl Showcase
- Town Mountain previewed several cuts from next month’s new album and New West Records debut Lines in the Levee with a raging set of the band’s hard-driving Carolina country rock. The show included renditions of currently released singles “Lines in the Levee,” “Seasons Don’t Change” and “Comeback Kid,” the last of which tells a story of struggling to make it in the music business. However, the top moment from a highlight-ridden performance was a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Back To Memphis” with new drummer Devin Neel taking lead on vocals and bringing some country-fried flavor to an otherwise bluesy, funk-filled tune.
- Much like Town Mountain before her, Eastern Kentucky born and Nashville-based Brit Taylor stirred up several new songs from her forthcoming Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson produced album including hillbilly disco ditty “For a Night,” western waltz “No Cowboys,” made for radio number “Rich Little Girls” and the project’s debut single “Cabin in the Woods.” Also making an appearance was Dan Auerbach and Pat McLaughlin co-write “Back in the Fire” and “Waking It Up Ain’t Easy” from her groundbreaking first album Real Me, each of which illustrating the artist’s impeccable songwriting talent and vivacious voice that have her set for a bright, bright future.