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Americanafest: Twenty Years

City Winery, Nashville, 9-6-19. photo: Ward Weems

THIS WEEK w/KG (short version):

All week: 2oth Annual Americanafest   Nashville

Saturday, 9/14 “A Finely Tuned Showcase”   TN Brew Works Nashville (KG solo, on at 4:30 pm)

Saturday, 9/14  Americanafest Official Showcase   The Basement   Nashville (KG Quartet on at 7 pm)


Dear friends,

Happy Hot-as-August-Blazes September to you. As usual, I’d hoped to post this sooner, but at least I am getting it out before the crazed week that is Americanafest here in Nashville gets officially underway (in about an hour). And as usual, the introverted part of me has mixed feelings about the whole deal. I was standing outside this morning trimming the vine on the trellis; it’s an overgrown mess of green that hasn’t been blooming worth a damn. A little too late to worry about it, but anyway–these kinds of tasks allow for a certain kind of internal meditation, and mediation with one’s self. And I was standing there cutting away, pulling various stems and leaves off and letting them drop to the ground, while thinking: am I up for this? What do I expect to gain from participating? And other hard questions. Don’t get me wrong–I’m happy and honored to be playing an official showcase this coming Saturday night, and it will be fun to play a set during a day party that afternoon. But I guess after you spend enough time engaging in these sorts of endeavors, at a certain point, if you still have your mind, or part of it, you do ask hard questions. Maybe I’m just entering a writing phase, where that introvert best stay inside and listen for the songs to appear. But hey–you gotta get out there, right? Make those connections and re-connections–because it’s part of honoring your own creative work. This is what I have to remember. “Schmoozing” isn’t necessarily the devil’s game, though it often feels superficial to me (and I can read fake interactions in the moment like 48-point black type on a white page). It’s putting yourself out there, in the often vague hope that you make a real connection with someone who might be able to positively change things for you. Usually, the emotional boost I get from running into fans who come into town for the week–from other states, from other countries–that alone makes it a great experience. So, I look forward to seeing those of you coming into town for the festival/conference–please do say hello! No matter how shy I might look at the time. I’m playing twice this week–both shows are listed above; for the quartet show at The Basement on Saturday I’ll have Ron Eoff, Joshua Hunt, and the mighty John Jackson with me. John and I have been friends and admirers of each other’s work for a long time; this will be the first time we’ve ever played together. Very excited about this!

There’s a piece in the new issue of The East Nashvillian, the “music issue,” that is, ironically, not about my music so much, as about my “other life,” as a collector and dealer in contemporary vernacular/folk/outsider/etc. art. Thanks to my friend Tommy Womack, who wrote the piece, and publisher Chuck Allen for his ongoing enthusiasm for all of my endeavors. Here’s a link to the online version: I’m a little more open about all this than I used to be, if for no other reason than the fact that so often my worlds have collided–the experience has taught me a lesson: art friends often turn out to be fans of the music; music fans happen to be into the art. It all makes more sense than I ever thought it would.

If you’re in Nashville this week, I hope to see you; if not, I hope you have a great week, wherever you are!






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