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Jed Hilly:

LINCOLN CENTER GOES AMERICANA

4 Score + 40 Last Waltzes Ago...

For Jed Hilly, Americana isn’t just a musical genre or an association; it’s a raison d’etre. Beyond lobbying to get a designated category at the Grammys and persuade Webster to amend their official definition, three years ago, he helped create “Americana Fest” as part of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Summer Concert Series.

Saturday, 8/6, the Americana Music Association celebrates the 40th Anniversary of The Band’s The Last Waltz by reprising the concert with Bob Weir, whose Grateful Dead was in many ways the original Americana beachhead, and Dr John, who was played the Winterland Ballroom original. Among the artists joining them at the 7 pm Damrosche Bandshell are Americana heavyweights Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller, plus emerging voices Parker Milsap and Anderson East–with Mary Gauthier, Those Pretty Wrongs and Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones at 1 pm on the Hearst Plaza.

Sunday, Dwight Yoakam closes things down with a hard Bakersfield punch. The Cactus Brothers kick things off at 7 pm at the Damrosche Bandshell, making it high honky-tonk and hardcore rocking.

“The whole concert is free,” Hilly says. “First come, first served. And given the line-up in the past, we’ve had upwards of 10,000 a day. With Bob bringing what he does to The Last Waltz, and Dr. John coming up from New Orleans, it really makes the point that Americana isn’t just Southern or rural, but everywhere. This music draws from past traditions and experiences, and extends to the young artists coming up today.

“Really, the similarity—beyond the quality of the music—is the difference among all these artists," he adds. "So for us, with an office in Nashville, bringing Bob Weir and Dr John to Lincoln Center to celebrate the Band? Now that’s Americana!”

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