A legend comes to town for Americana week - WSMV News 4

A legend comes to town for Americana week

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Van Morrison will accept a lifetime achievement award as part of the music festival. (WSMV) Van Morrison will accept a lifetime achievement award as part of the music festival. (WSMV)

This year’s AmericanaFest in Nashville will feature 300 concerts in more than 50 different venues.

The festival begins this week, and legendary performer Van Morrison will be in town to accept the festival’s highest honor.

Morrison is a one-of-a-kind musician who’s hard to define. That makes him perfect for the Americana genre, where traditional country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and gospel meet.

Jason Isbell came to AmericanaFest six years ago as a relative unknown. That’s changed now. Next month he has six nights booked at the Ryman Auditorium.

“I think an Americana artist is writing songs to tell stories in the best way they can through music, and it’s not to write a No. 1 hit,” said Jed Hilly, director of the Americana Music Association.

Hilly started all of this in Nashville 18 years ago. Now Australia has opened its own branch.

There’s international attention for the shows open to the public in and around Nashville.

“It’s a week of discovery, a week of legends. It’s where legends and the next generation of stars merge,” Hilly said.

Music critics say AmericanaFest is to music what the Sundance Festival is to film. Box office results and radio hits aren’t the goal.

“There are a lot of great songwriters who are hit songwriters here in Nashville,” Hilly said. “We in Nashville have heard them and it’s an extraordinary talent, but that’s not really the artists that live in the Americana world.”

Morrison will receive the lifetime achievement award at the Americana Honors and Awards show Wednesday at the Ryman.

There’s an AmericanaFest app with all of the information on this week’s festival.

Click here for more information.

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