This week, the Americana Music Association held their annual festival in Nashville this week and one of the yearly highlights is the awards show, which again was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium. This year, the big winner was Sturgill Simpson who won for Song of the Year (“Turtles All The Way Down”) as well as Artist of the Year.
Americana icon Lucinda Williams nabbed Album of the Year honors for Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, while the Group/Duo of the Year award went to another beloved act The Mavericks. John Leventhal was selected as Instrumentalist of the Year and Shakey Graves claimed always interesting Emerging Artist of the Year.
Each year, the AMA also honors a number of performers for their body of work. Don Henley received the Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings got the Songwriting Lifetime Achievement Award, Ricky Skaggs earned the Instrumentalist Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance went to Los Lobos.
As he has done for so many years, Jim Lauderdale served as the show’s host (look for a new album from him soon) and his pal Buddy Miller led the house band, which also included Fats Kaplin, Bill Payne and the McCrary Sisters. The show also features standout live performances from Lauderdale, John Hiatt, Houndmouth, Jason Isbell, Nikki Lane, The Lone Bellow, Mavericks, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack and Keb Mo as well as cool pairings of Ry Cooder with Sharon White; Shakey Graves with Esme Patterson and Rhiannon Giddens; Robert Randolph with The Fairfield Four and McCrary Sisters and Buddy Miller with Marc Ribot.
If you missed the event, PBS will broadcast an edited version of the show as an Austin City Limits special, ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival, later this year.