AMERICANAFEST® at the Museum

The 19th Annual AMERICANAFEST® is coming to Nashville! Celebrate the melting pot of Americana's influences including roots, folk, country, blues and soul-based music through special programming at the Museum. Program passes will be available for reservation beginning August 31 at 10:00 AM.

Current Livestream

The Lineup

September 12 | 10:30 AM

Interview: Robert Earl Keen

Ford Theater

A Houston kid who followed in the Lone Star songwriting tradition of Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Nanci Griffith, and Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen is a master songsmith whose works have been recorded by artists including the Dixie Chicks, Joe Ely, the Highwaymen, Lyle Lovett, Todd Snider, George Strait, and Gillian Welch. Jeff Gage of Rolling Stone wrote of Keen, “A homespun outlaw, he carried on the renegade spirit of the seventies by sidestepping the establishment rather than defying it.” In conversation with Peter Cooper, Keen will detail his journeys. He’ll punctuate the visit with songs from a career that spans more than three decades.

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September 14 | Noon

Book Talk: Country Music U.S.A. with Bill C. Malone

Taylor Swift Education Center

Bill C. Malone’s complete history of country music, Country Music, U.S.A., was published fifty years ago, and the study—updated in several subsequent editions—remains a basic, detailed, and reliable catalog of the music’s movement from Southern rural folk idiom to pop culture favorite. Malone will discuss writing the book, the revisions it has undergone, and what the future holds for the book and for country music with Jay Orr.    

September 15 | 11:30 AM

Songwriter Session: Ray Benson, Presented by SunTrust

Ford Theater

​Philadelphia native Ray Benson has served as an ambassador for western swing since forming Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia, in 1970. The band spent a couple of years in Berkeley, California, before relocating to Austin, Texas, in 1974, at the encouragement of Willie Nelson. The nine-time Grammy winner’s songwriting credits include “Am I High?,” “Boogie Back to Texas,” “Bump Bounce Boogie,” “Feelin’ Haggard,” and “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read.” A forthcoming Asleep at the Wheel album, New Routes, due September 14, will include several Benson originals. Presented in support of the exhibit Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring 70s

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Saturday, September 15  | 2:00 PM

Poets and Prophets: Billy Joe Shaver, Presented by SunTrust

Ford Theater

After growing up in hardscrabble Corsicana and Waco, Texas, aspiring singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver set out for greener pastures, hitching a ride to Nashville on the back of a cantaloupe truck. Shaver rose to prominence as a songwriter when Waylon Jennings recorded nine of his songs for Honky Tonk Heroes, an album released by Jennings in 1973, and a prime example of the music made in country’s Outlaw movement. In 2002, he received the Americana Music Association’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting. He was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. Now seventy-nine, Shaver lives in Waco and will make a special trip to Nashville for this interview and performance. This program will be illustrated with vintage photos, film footage, and recordings. After the program Shaver will sign commemorative Hatch Show Print posters. Presented in support of the exhibit Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring 70s.  

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September 16 | 1:00 PM

Musician Spotlight: Jerry Pentecost 

Ford Theater

Nashville native Jerry Pentecost is Amanda Shires’s drummer and band leader. He has also toured with Jonny Fritz, J.P. Harris, Caitlin Rose, and Aaron Lee Tasjan. Pentecost has been a member of the Americana Music Awards house band, backing artists such as the McCrary Sisters, Lori McKenna, and Van Morrison. Pentecost is nominated for Americana Music Association’s 2018 Instrumentalist of the Year, only the second drummer to receive that recognition. When he’s not on tour, Pentecost often performs in Nashville clubs as DJ Jerry J.

Photo by Nicole Mago

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Ticket Information

Programs are presented in partnership with AMERICANAFEST®.

All programs are included with museum admission. Limited seating. 

Museum members and AMERICANAFEST® badge holders may reserve their free pass in advance starting on August 31 at 10AM CST. 

**Museum members will receive promo code via email on August 28

Festival Wristband holders must purchase museum admission day of to attend program. Show wristband to receive $3 off museum admission.

For questions on member reservations, contact or (615) 416-2026.