Nashville, Tenn. – A diverse, multi-generational slate of roots music luminaries were celebrated at the 16th Annual Americana Music Association Honors & Awards show tonight at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. They included previous Americana Lifetime Achievement honorees John Prine (Artist of the Year), Rodney Crowell (Song of the Year), and Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives (Group / Duo of the Year), each proving their continued relevance and undying vitality.
Those veterans accepted trophies alongside artists still on the rise like Sturgill Simpson and Amanda Shires. Simpson took home Album of the Year award, for his 2016 release A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, while Shires was crowned Emerging Artist of the Year, an award Simpson walked away with as recently as 2014. Longtime Bob Dylan guitarist Charlie Sexton received his first Americana award, for Instrumentalist of the Year.
Each year, the Honors & Awards show champions current Americana projects, celebrates legends Lifetime Achievement awards, and offers a stunning revue of unforgettable performances. Rock Hall of Famers Van Morrison and Graham Nash, famed blues guitarist Robert Cray, and country icon Marty Stuart graced the hallowed Ryman stage alongside buzzing up-and-comers the likes of Sam Outlaw, Margo Price, Amanda Shires and Aaron Lee Tasjan.
“Each year this show blows my mind. If there was an infra-red device tracking creativity, Nashville would be the brightest light on the planet,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. “I’m so grateful and truly humbled by the incredible artists and musicians who grace our stage.”
Lifetime Achievement honors went to Morrison (Songwriter), Cray (Performance), the Hi Rhythm Section (Instrumentalist), Iris Dement (Trailblazer), Nash (Spirit of Americana/Free Speech In Music, co-presented by the First Amendment Center) and HighTone Records founders Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg.
Morrison, an Irish rock legend whose incalculable influence inspired nearly every American songwriter from Bruce Springsteen to Jackson Browne and beyond with classics like Astral Weeks and Moondance, performed Transformation from his new album, Roll With The Punches.
Famed songwriter and Americana “WagonMaster” Jim Lauderdale hosted the Award
show Emmylou Harris calls “the shining star of Nashville and music everywhere” for the 15th consecutive year. The Americana All-Star Band, was led by 2008 Lifetime Achievement honoree and 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, Larry Campbell, Crowell, Jim Hoke, Jerry Pentecost, Chris Wood and the incredible McCrary Sisters backing many of the night’s performers.
Americana Music Honors & Awards 2017 Winners and Honorees:
Album of the Year: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, Sturgill Simpson, Produced by Sturgill Simpson
Artist of the Year: John Prine
Group/Duo of the Year: Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
Song of the Year: “It Ain’t Over Yet”, Rodney Crowell (feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White), Written by Rodney Crowell
Emerging Artist of the Year: Amanda Shires
Instrumentalist of the Year: Charlie Sexton
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Graham Nash
Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Iris Dement
Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Van Morrison
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Robert Cray
Lifetime Achievement Award, Instrumentalist: Hi Rhythm Section
Lifetime Achievement Award, Executive: Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg
The Honors & Awards show anchored the 18th Annual Americana Music Festival and Conference that runs through Sunday, Sept. 17 in Nashville.