Taking Over “Through the Lens”
My first “Through the Lens” weekly slideshow showcases eight artists who performed during the Americana Music Association Festival, which concluded two weeks ago in Nashville. However, as I was browsing the photos, I found that we had just two No Depression photographers submitted pictures from that festival: Jill Kettles and myself. While featuring just two of us may not be ideal in terms of different sets of eyes, different styles and visions, I think the importance of the AMA Festival overrides those concerns. As ND is the Americana music magazine, it stands to reason that we should give it full coverage both in terms of articles and photos.
Additionally, when it comes to photography here at No Depression, I want to place an emphasis on festivals and all they have to offer. I challenge our photographers to adequately cover them, including the just-concluded IBMA. (You can upload your IBMA photos — or any photos — by clicking on Post > Photo in the top navigation bar or by going directly here.) I am heading to the Shakori Hills Fest this weekend.
That said, the general focus of “Through the Lens,” as I charge into this column, will likely continue to be representative samples of what has been submitted during the previous week. Depending on that, we could also see trends developing or an opportunity for feature-themed slideshows. We’ll see where the photographers and their work take us. I am looking forward to it.
However, there will be one noticeable change — I will be writing an introduction to this column when it changes each Tuesday. In that regard, I want our photographers to feel free to provide comments to their photos, either in the Comments section or in an email to me. Comments can be anything that might add to the viewer’s appeciation, whether it be about the artist, the venue, the performance, etc.
With that introduction out of the way, the AMA Conference and Festival this year was huge, perhaps a bit too vast for just two photographers to cover. It’s like the two of us felt different parts of an elephant and then tried to adequately descibe that animal. From the pictures, it appears that we only had one event in common — the great set by Buddy Miller and Marc Ribot. It featured my highlight of the fest — Ribot’s intro to “Cold, Cold Heart.” Moreover, it was only the third time they had played together in public. I know Ribot from the downtown New York music scene. However, like Bill Frisell before him, he has recently been delving into Americana. Plus, I had never seen Miller watch another guiartist with obvious awe and wonder. On the same stage that night was my other highlight set, Ricky Skaggs, Ry Cooder, and Sharon White. I was not going to miss that double bill.
I am glad that Jill Kettles got a shot of David Olney. I first met him in the early ’70s at a college coffee house. Included in that set was a Townes Van Zandt song, and after comparing notes, it became apparent that both Olney and I had seen him during a gig in Athens, Georgia, a year or so before. Olney later opened for Townes.
While I do not know what style of sax Helen Rose plays, I am aware of more women playing wind instruments, primarily in jazz, and am pleased that she was captured at the AMA Fest.
Finally, I am glad that two young women from Europe played a Grimey’s Americanarama set. I saw them in the early summer at another festival and was quite taken with their unassuming manner and lilting vocals. NPR Music is also taken with them as they will be doing a Tiny Desk Concert shortly, if it has not already been recorded.
Until next time, happy trails.