The annual International Folk Alliance Conference kicks off this week in downtown Memphis, and while most of the action is restricted to conference registrants, there's a nice selection of stuff open to the public.
The biggest open event is the conference's official "Public Night," happening tonight at the downtown Marriott, with twin-bill concerts happening concurrently at seven different rooms on the hotel's second-floor meeting area. The lineup is heavy with local folk/roots stalwarts, including Deering & Down and Sid Selvidge pairing up in the Chattanooga room and, perhaps most interestingly, The Bo-Keys and Amy LaVere playing in the Nashville Room. But the Public Night will also feature Mississippi songwriter Paul Thorn, Texas blues musicians Ruthie Foster, and Ohio folk-pop band Over the Rhine in the Marriott's Heritage 4 Ballroom. Tickets to the Folk Alliance's Public Night are $15 and the doors open at 7 p.m. For a full lineup and more info, go here.
Over the Rhine:
In addition to the official Public Night tonight, the Memphis-based, internationally syndicated radio show "Beale Street Caravan" will be hosting a series of open-to-the-public recording sessions Thursday-Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Downtown. Thursday night's line-up is a blues revue organized in conjunction with the Folk Alliance. Friday's lineup is a blues revue with the Music Maker Relief Foundation, sponsored by the Blues Foundation. And Saturday's session will be a lineup of sacred steel guitar players. For more information on these events, see here.
And, as has been the norm, Folk Alliance activity will spill over to Otherlands Coffee Bar for a couple of public shows hosted by locals. On Friday night, Jimmy Davis will bring a batch of visiting folk performers to the Midtown venue. On Saturday night, Cory Branan will act as ringleader. Otherlands shows start at 8 p.m.