THROUGH THE LENS: Brandi Carlile, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, and More Photos of the Week
Sheryl Crow & Bonnie Raitt - AmericanaFest 2019 - Photo by Ross Nickow
There has been a quiet revolution going on. It’s one that music fans have been aware of for some time, but the gatekeepers not so much. As evidenced by a recent Instagram tag, some have called it “The Highwomen Movement.” Perhaps finally, in the wave started by supergroup The Highwomen’s big splash last month, women artists will become more prevalent over the airwaves and the rest of the music industry.
Based on my personal experience, music fans have been attending live shows by women as never before. And following the leads of artists such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile, and Miranda Lambert, there are substantially more who are ready to take their rightful place on radio and in the media.
This edition of photos of the week features photographs of “highwomen” such as Carlile, Mavis Staples, Tanya Tucker, Amanda Shires, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Yola, Erin Rae, Exene Cervenka, Molly Tuttle, Mandy Barnett, Lillie Mae, Rosie Flores, Carlene Carter, and, from a distance, Miranda Lambert.
Also included are AmericanaFest photos by Ross Nickow and Jill Kettles that were not included in my column on that fest. My apologies to them both.
Ross caught the East Nashville bon vivant Aaron Lee Tasjan, who never seems to wear the same clothes twice, and Erin Rae, who has to be the most unappreciated singer-songwriter on the scene today. And seeing Bonnie Raitt, guesting with Sheryl Crow’s last-minute show at the Cannery, must have been a real treat. What you don’t see is he had to wait two hours in the blistering sun on a near 100-degree day just to get in.
Ross also caught Carlene Carter, who unfortunately gets overlooked sometimes by those talking about country music’s roots. He also saw Fats Kaplan, not only the most unsung accompanist in Nashville, but also one who lets his adept playing do the talking. And let me not fail to mention his photos of Birds of Chicago and Billy Strings, who introduced his psychedelia-bluegrass to the Americana audience. A couple weeks later, Strings won the coveted guitarist of the year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).
Is there any more jubilant drummer going than Jerry Pentecost? Ross’ photo of him fits him to a T. Ross was also aboard AmericanaFest’s Luck Showboat, where he saw Old Crow Medicine Show, Yola, and Marcus King.
Jill endured that same AmericanaFest sun and temps to see Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt. She also caught blues artists Bonnie Bishop and the legendary Bobby Rush. That was followed by outstanding newcomer Caleb Caudle and Elizabeth Cook’s transcendent guitarist, Andrew Leahey, who had his own showcase as well. Jill was, like Aaron Caleb Fishbein and myself, at Tanya Ticker’s showcase.
Mark J. Smith (Photosmithdigital)
Mark’s invigorating photos of Brandi Carlile, Mavis Staples, Tanya Tucker, and Amanda Shires are as timely as they are great.
The photo of The Messenger himself, Ray Wylie Hubbard, is as representational of an artist as they come. Brian T. Atkinson’s new book, The Messenger: The Songwriting of Ray Wylie Hubbard (see ND’s review here), is one of the year’s best music reads. Mark’s photo of Hot Tuna takes me back to when I first saw them, on their first national tour, sometime in the early ’70s.
Elliott continues to show why she is the hardest-working photographer in roots with her unparalleled collection. Her coup was twofold: Seeing Calexico and Iron & Wine together, and Del McCoury and David Grisman together. What nights those must have been.
She also caught Hayes Carll, Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb, Aaron Neville, and The Wailers. Plus, Madison Cunnigham, who is beginning to make some noise, and three interesting groups I am unfamiliar with: Billy Sedlmayr & The Mother Higgins Children Band, Mama Coal & Lex Browning, and Jenny & The Mexicats.
Peter got some stunning photos of X, my all time favorite punk band, which was one of the foundations of alt-country, as personified by the offshoot group, The Knitters. While John Doe and Exene Cervenka later developed nice Americana careers, the recent gigs serve as a reminder of how influentially great they were without dipping into mere nostalgia.
Peter also shot Gary Clark Jr., Los Lobos, and what looks to be a most interesting band, Wildcat Rose.
Aaron Caleb Fishbein
Aaron also shot Gary Clark Jr. and his photo evokes a prophet coming out of the mist. His shot of Cousin Kenny Vaughn at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge outside Nashville catches Kenny in an unexpected reflective moment. Seeing Daughter of Swords (Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man) whose new album, Dawnbreaker, is a sleeper keeper, must have been quite special.
Kevin’s two photos show two artists who are some of the best country music has to offer: Mandy Barnett, who began playing Patsy Cline in the play Always… Patsy Cline when she was a teenager in 1994, and is now at the peak of her powers; and Lillie Mae, one of the young guard who are not only taking back country music but also are doing it their way.
Fresh from his IBMA coverage, Todd caught The Mavericks in North Carolina.
Tom saw the always entertaining Avett Brothers in their only West Virginia performance of the year.
Last but not least is Boom’s photos of ND contributor Peter Dervin introducing Los Lobos at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in Edmonds, Washington, along with Los Lobos.
Please note that there are additional photos below of artists not mentioned above. Enjoy.