Americana music is hearing the dirt in your ears. Wednesday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was filled with a vibrant and diverse group of musicians set to perform for the Women’s Tribute to Americana. Hosted by actress, singer-songwriter, and musician Lola Kirke, the event set out to raise funds for the American Music Association (also known as the AMA’s).
The night featured female musicians Nicole Atkins, Alecia Chakour, Deva Mahal, Vera Sola and many more, along with a handful of male musicians, covering songs from pioneering women in rock, blues, soul, folk, and country. Other performers ranged from the elegant Nicki Bluhm with her rendition of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” to the angelic Cassandra Jenkins performing Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” to the powerful Kam Franklin covering Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”.
Every few songs, Lola Kirke returned to the mic with a joke or a pun to keep the crowd entertained while musicians and instruments transitioned on and off the stage. Kirke’s presence was magnetic, especially when she joined her sister Domino Kirke to sing “Angel From Montgomery.” She joked that Domino never lets her duet, which meant this concert was truly special. Midway through the night, Kirke began to express just how much the event meant to her, stating:
“Another dream that has come true is a dream I didn’t really know I had, which was that the music world was dominated by incredible women and if you go back stage at a concert you’re just surrounded by the most incredible women musicians and it would be nice to not have to qualify what kind of artist you like with the word woman before it but until then that is a dream reality.”
The crowd was respectful but definitely enthralled by the upbeat and soulful, empowering and heart-wrenching performances. It was evident that americana music held a momentous place in the hearts of both those who performed and those in the audience alike.
At the end of the concert, every musician who had performed returned on stage to sing Carole King and James Taylor’s “I Feel The Earth Move”, as the crowd danced and sang along, bringing the truly powerful event to a meaningful close.