The Milk Carton Kids, Margo Price and Lucinda Williams Among Latest Additions to Thriving Roots: A Virtual Community Music Conference

The Milk Carton Kids to speak and perform with Williams during a special edition of their "Sad Songs Comedy Hour"; Price to speak on artistic values and navigating the public sphere; plus, music breaks and special events with Ben Harper, The Mavericks & Friends, Lori McKenna, Wynonna and more

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Rounding out an impressive programming lineup, the Americana Music Association Foundation (AMAF) has shared upcoming panels featuring The Milk Carton Kids, Margo Price and Lucinda Williams while also revealing the full conference schedule for Thriving Roots: A Virtual Community Music Conference, Sept. 16-18. With close to 70 sessions including artist, industry and workshop panels, plus special events and music breaks, the full conference schedule is now available. The latest programming information including talks on saving today’s independent venues, as well as the current state of indie labels and record stores, can be found below. Passes are on sale here.

In just three weeks, Thriving Roots will bring together the global Americana music community to experience a one-of-a-kind immersive event that goes beyond today’s webinar-style expos, including insightful conversations for the die-hard music fan. The Milk Carton Kids will speak with Williams and perform together during a special edition of their “Sad Songs Comedy Hour” residency. Elsewhere, “Price Points: Talking Artistic Values With Margo Price” finds the outspoken singer-songwriter opening up about channeling her values and voice into songs, statements and other aspects of the public sphere during a discussion with music critic and NPR Music Contributor Jewly Hight.

Almost nine months into a catastrophic year for the live music industry, today’s independent venues are in dire need of support. National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) Board Members Chris Cobb, Dayna Frank and Sarah Mertz will join National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) Founding Member Frank Riley for “Fighting for the Survival of Independent Music,” an examination of the groups’ advocacy work for U.S. government aid and how the entire independent music community is working together toward a future of reopenings.

Lucinda Williams

Similarly, this past year’s events have also affected community staples like local record stores. Carrie Colliton (Record Store Day) rounds up a team of seasoned brick-and-mortar owners and managers including Terry Currier (Music Millennium, Portland, OR), Doyle Davis (Grimey’s New & Preloved Music, Nashville, TN), John Kunz (Waterloo Records & Video, Austin, TX) and Andy Nelson (Easy Street Records, Seattle, WA) for “The Brick and the Mortar,” shining a light on the new business opportunities and revenue streams that have arisen in the face of adversity.

Additional new programming includes “Indie Labels in the Time of Consolidation: Surviving or Thriving?,” an inside look at how a handful of independent labels are navigating the choppy waters of retail and marketing, as well as their strategies on artist signings. Moderated by David Hirshland (BMG), this discussion will include John Allen (New West Records), Jim Olsen (Signature Sounds), Paul Roper (Dualtone Music Group) and John Strohm (Rounder Records).

In between panels and after business hours, attendees can also enjoy special events and music breaks presented by various industry entities. ANTI- Records will spotlight Ben Harper, Jeremy Ivey and Wynonna for show-stopping performances, while Thirty Tigers will treat audiences to numbers by Brent Cobb, Charley Crockett, Lori McKenna and more. During Mono Mundo’s “The Mavericks & Friends En Español,” catch the beloved band celebrating their Cuban and Mexican roots with performances from their home in Nashville.

Margo Price
photo credit: Bobbi Rich

Previously announced Thriving Roots programming includes intimate conversations between Judd Apatow and The Avett Brothers; Brandi Carlile and Yola; Emmylou Harris and Ken Burns; Bob Weir and Oteil Burbridge; and Jackson Browne and Mavis Staples. Rosanne Cash will bring together Ry Cooder, Angela Davis, Bonnie Raitt and Alice Randall for “Love and Vigilance,” a look at the history of protest music. Moreover, RIAA Chairman/CEO Mitch Glazier and COO Michele Ballantyne will share an update on the music industry during “Record Setting” while looking at current trends and sharing their outlook. The full schedule can be found here.

The Thriving Roots platform will launch in early September so attendees can personalize their online presence, customize their own daily schedule and begin networking with other attendees.

For the latest updates, please visit

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