Americanafest 2019: A Night on Cannery Row

Thursday night was a hot one in Music City, as Americanafest continued all over town.

For us, that meant hanging out at 1 Cannery Row, whose venues — Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, The High Watt, and One — featured enough diverse musical offerings and electricity in the air to feel like its own festival within the larger scope of the city’s week-long celebration.

We spent a little bit of time in each of the four venues, starting up on the top floor at One, where we caught the all-acoustic, all-instrumental old-time folk stylings and palpable onstage chemistry of Hawktail.

From there, a trip down to The High Watt led to us find a different kind of energy. That’s where Charlottesville, VA’s Hackensaw Boys were performing, offering their brand of inspired, raw bluegrass, marrying the traditions of Appalachia with a bit of punk vitality to give their performance some edge.

We then wandered across the hall to Mercy Lounge, where Philly native Son Little was in the middle of an acoustic set as part of the ANTI Records showcase. Little’s performance was a delight for the listening room crowd, weaving the emotional perspective of the blues with an ever-present R&B sensibility that kept the audience listening intently. Then, we briefly walked downstairs to the Cannery Ballroom to catch a couple of songs from former Yelawolf guitarist Bones Owens, whose rootsy presence was met with rock and roll edge, and whose axe-handling was impressive in the short glimpse we got to enjoy.

Then, it was back up to Mercy Lounge to round out the night, where folk singer and new ANTI Records signee Darrin Bradbury took the stage. The New Jersey native, whose new album Talking Dogs and Atom Bombs releases on September 20, proved to be an engaging troubadour; one whose songs focus on the stories of everyday people, but whose subtle turns of phrase — often peppered with the singer’s trademark dry, sarcastic wit — suggest the not-so-common underlying challenges that his protagonists face.

And that… was an action-packed night. We’ll be out there throughout the weekend, as well, so get ready for more fun. In the meantime, here’s a look at our Thursday!

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