Americanafest is going to run plenty of people through the proverbial ringer of exhaustion and exaltation that is twang and twine within the realm of Americana and Roots, and while there’s the smallest sliver of a chance that one might see themselves become drained from a week’s worth of musical bliss, what better way to end a long week of Americana than at Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin?
As 2016’s festival season finally comes to a close, it seems fitting that Pilgrimage would fall into one of the last slots of major festival-dom, becoming the belle of the festival ball. There’s nary a negative word about the festival as it heads into its sophomore year, as its become quite apparent that Pilgrimage is a bastion of music and arts first, and festival “vibes” second, and that’s a thing of (literal and figurative) beauty.
If you’re fortunate enough to be heading out to Harlinsdale Farm this weekend, then its likely bands like Beck, Grace Potter, Hall & Oates, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, The Arcs, Better Than Ezra and Margo Price are well at the top of your list. But that only begins to scratch the surface of the acts gracing the Midnight Sun, Gold Record, Harpeth River, and Shady Grove stages throughout the weekend. Here are a few more local acts that are worth showing up a little earlier in the day to catch their sets at Harlinsdale Farm.
Saturday, September 24th
A little hometown cooking to start the Pilgrimage weekend off right – the Blackfoot Gypsies crew are playing an early afternoon set to get things crunching and grooving on Harlinsdale Farm. They’re returning from a quick one-off jaunt over to Norway so Pilgrimage will serve as their unofficial homecoming (at least since their Norway run), wrought with the swirling vortex that is their garage rock n roll blues music. 3:45pm – 4:45pm, Saturday, September 24th on the George Dickel Kimbro’s Harpeth River Stage.
Of all the local acts (and there are plenty) playing Harlinsdale Farm, Jonny P is arguably the smoothest of throwback acts this side of Nick Waterhouse and Leon Bridges. Doubling as an artist and fashion designer, Jonny P melds his modern R&B with classic Motown sensibilities that will appeal to any and all Pilgrimage goers. He’s a modern showman with classic style, so checking out his take on soul music will undoubtedly make for a memorable Pilgrimage set. 11:20am – 12:05pm, Saturday, September 24th on the Frye Midnight Sun Stage.
Nashville-by-way-of-Georgia, Reuben Bidez will be playing soft cooing tunes from his pensive new EP, Turning to Wine on Harlinsdale Farm as he stretches the spans of singer-songwriter to folk rock and back again during his early afternoon set. Straddling the line of sonically impressive and lyrically conscious, Bidez’s brand of singer-songwriting has the slightest waver of western influence flirting with solid orchestral development and denouement that’s bound to rouse many a Pilgrimage goer. 1:00pm-1:30pm on the ASCAP Shady Grove stage.
Sunday, September 25th
Hey! A Franklin native playing at Franklin’s major music festival! Who would have imagined? Joking aside, Alyssa Bonagura’s set is one to watch out for, because if the lead single from her upcoming album Road Less Traveled is any indication, the set is going to be incredible. She’s been putting in the time on Nashville’s indie singer-songwriter circuit and has seen plenty of success cutting records for other folks here around town, but her Pilgrimage Festival set is her coming out party. 11:45am – 12:15pm on the ASCAP Shady Grove stage.
If you’re looking for three part harmonies while on Harlinsdale Farm, then Maybe April’s Sunday set is a must see for you. The three piece touts its impressive round robin of front women in Katy Bishop, Kristen Castro, and Alaina Stacey, as all three can more than hold their own playing support or fronting, which makes for an awesome live dynamic. They’re on the forefront of the relatively green indie-country folk crowd here in town, so catching their Pilgrimage set would place you ahead of the wave. 10:30am – 11:00am on the ASCAP Shady Grove stage.
Matthew Perryman Jones
Matthew Perryman Jones offers a unique take on folk and Americana music, as his genuine demeanor and strong vocal timbre make for one of Nashville’s finest singer songwriters. Perryman Jones’ music resembles the same tenuous approach to creating as Cezanne or Cohen, never sparing a moment to wrap a song in truth and personal narrative, no matter how long the process takes. The end result is winsome and visceral, as his words of personal experience demand the empathy of those who’ll listen. Additionally, Perryman Jones is one of the most beloved members of Nashville’s singer-songwriter scene, and he’s constantly touting an impressive backing group of other beloved Nashville talents as well, as this time around he’ll be joined by Molly Parden for an “intense acoustic set.” 5:15 – 5:45 on the ASCAP Shady Grove stage.