From the recent Grammy successes of Jon Batiste and Lost Bayou Ramblers to the explosion of Chapel Hart onto the national stage and the rising chatter around emerging artists Lilli Lewis and Joy Clark, the Americana music of New Orleans-based and Louisiana-born performers is commanding attention. The Crescent City is exporting more than the funk and jazz music it’s known for, and the birthplace of America’s music is ripe with unique Americana voices.
New Orleans-based multi platinum-selling songwriter Jim McCormick says “Americana music is always pushing the boundaries of received definitions of genre.” Grammy and CMA-nominated McCormick has celebrated three #1 songs on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, placing songs with the likes of Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, and Jeff Tweedy. McMormick continues, “...New Orleans music has always done [that], so today’s sounds of New Orleans are an exciting fit with the rich and textured multiplicities of the current Americana music world.”
With 11 nominations and five wins (including Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song), New Orleans native Jon Batiste placed the city on music’s highest stage. Meanwhile, Chapel Hart hit the Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent, earning an invite to the Grand Ole Opry and high praise from country legend Dolly Parton. A new name earning national acclaim is Joy Clark, whose singing, guitar work, and songwriting have landed her time in her own spotlight and in that of Allison Russell’s band currently on tour with Brandi Carlile.
Established Americana artists like Hurray for the Riff Raff and 2022 Americanafest showcasing artists Leyla McCalla and The Deslondes are all touring with exceptional new albums, as is Lilli Lewis, whose 2021 album titled Americana earned high praise from Rolling Stone and claimed a Top 10 spot from NPR’s All Songs Considered.
“Americana artists in New Orleans often feel we’re swimming upstream thanks to the perception that the main thrust of Louisiana music exports centers around funk, trad jazz, blues, and Mardi Gras music,” says Lewis. “But after spending eight years running a Louisiana label centered around that, I realized it could all be viewed as Americana with a widened lens. I’m excited that those of us who claim that moniker are forming a community, and it only makes sense to bring our scene to Nashville.”
Building on recent successes, Lewis—along with artists Jeremy Joyce and Ever More Nest—are launching “NOLAxNashville,” the first New Orleans-focused showcases during Americana Fest. Performers include Lewis, Joyce, Ever More Nest, Mia Borders, Lynn Drury, Shawn Williams, and Loose Cattle (fronted by cult-podcaster Kimberly Kaye and Tony Award-Winner / HBO’s The Gilded Age actor Michael Cerveris).
The diverse lineup shows just how seamlessly New Orleans’ music scene increasingly integrates intersectional identity. Borders— both a performer and entrepreneur—organized an expansive PrideFest this year that included Lewis, Borders, Ever More Nest and Loose Cattle, all queer-identifying artists. Earlier this spring, Offbeat Magazine highlighted the city’s blooming Americana star power with a feature centered on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival performances of Lilli Lewis, Joy Clark, and Mia Borders, all black, queer frontwomen.
NOLAxNashville: Crescent City Meets Music City
These shows are open to the public.
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Vinyl Tap (2038 Greenwood Ave., Nashville, TN 37206)
1pm – 4pm
Ever More Nest
Jeremy Joyce w/Carolyn Broussard
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge (102 E. Palestine Ave., Madison, TN 37115)
1pm – 5pm
Jeremy Joyce w/ Carolyn Broussard