This year's Americana Music Association honors the Crescent City at its annual conference and music showcase.

photo of Alynda Lee Segarra by Erika Goldring
Alynda Lee Segarra at the AMA announcement party. By Erika Goldring

[Updated] "As our awards show host Jim Lauderdale would say, 'That's Americana.'" 

Danna Strong, Director of Operations for the Americana Music Association was describing Dash Rip Rock's Bill Davis after a short solo set at The Old U.S. Mint. Dash Rip Rock is one of the artists who'll be invited to this year's Americana Music Association Conference in Nashville September 12-18, which this year will focus on New Orleans. Strong and AMA Executive Director Jed Hilly hosted the event at the Mint to announce this year's focus, and to present two other performers who have been invited to perform at the conference - Hurray for the Riff Raff' and Tommy Malone. Susan Cowsill has also been announced as a performer with more to come, and the conference will include an interview with Dr. John by American Routes' Nick Spitzer, and a panel on The New New Orleans, presented by The Oxford American

When Strong introduced Bill Davis, it was partly personal. "I got my first job in the music industry running the fan club for Dash Rip Rock," she explained. For his set, Davis reached back to the band's first album for "Bad Dream," and delivered one of his most chilling lines in "In This World" from last year's Black Liquor when he sang, "In this world / they'll call you up to make sure you're alone."

Tommy Malone performed songs from his new album, Natural Born Days, accompanied by Jim Brady on piano. His songs dealt a growing awareness of his mortality, particularly "God Knows." 

Allen Toussaint finished the show with a medley of hits, a piece that incorporated all the musical styles that influenced him, and an extended version of "Southern Nights," but the highlight was Alynda Lee Segarra's solo performance. She's in a very creative place these days, writing compelling songs that interact with tradition while reflecting the world she lives in. "Small Town Heroes" deals with drugs, people who can't get enough love, and living life "like you're on the run." To introduce a song that brings the tradition of the murder ballad home in a chilling way, she said, "We should start writing songs about loving our girlfriends instead of killing them and throwing their bodies in the river."

Registration from this year's Americana Music Association Conference is open now.


Updated June 29, 11:20 a.m.

The publicity photo of Dash Rip Rock was swapped out for a photo by Erika Goldring of Alynda Lee Segarra at the Old U.S. Mint.