Americana Honors & Awards Recognize The Genre's Finest In Nashville
Nashville's Ryman Auditorium has been sacred ground for country music since it hosted the Grand Ole Opry back in the 1940s. But on Sept. 13, the venue hosted something a little off the Lower Broadway tourist route. The 16th Annual Americana Honors & Awards recognized those artists who have found a place to land in a genre created in the image of folk, but left of pop; grittier than country, more tender than rock, and ultimately rooted in America.
The man of the hour was GRAMMY-winning songwriting royalty, John Prine, who took home the Artist Of The Year Award, edging out fellow GRAMMY winners Jason Isbell, Lori McKenna and Sturgill Simpson, as well as outlaw newcomer Margo Price.
Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide To Earth received the Album of the Year award, an honor he'll add to his GRAMMY win for Best Country Album for the 59th GRAMMY Awards. As perhaps the most visible symbol for the chasm that runs through Nashville between pop country and the Americana scene, Simpson's win signifies that the Americana community is behind him wholeheartedly.
The show also recognized a fairly diverse collection of music legends, passing out Lifetime Achievement Award trophies in four categories: Folkstress Iris DeMent was given the "Trailblazer" award, Irish icon Van Morrison received the "Songwriting" award, Blues mainstay Robert Cray was recognized for "Performance," and his mainstay soul backing band Hi Rhythm Section for "Instrumentalist." This range of talents represents the inclusive nature of the Americana community, and shows that these great artists still have somewhere to call home.
— Americana Music (@AmericanaFest) September 14, 2017
Accepting her award for Best Emerging Artist, Amanda Shires put it best, saying, "Thank you to the Americana fans, because, without you, there might be no other place for me."
For a full list of winners, and more from Americana's big evening, check out Rolling Stone's coverage. Portions of the ceremonies will also air during a special episode of "Austin City Limits" later this fall.