Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Sturgill Simpson win
For the second time in three years, Brandi Carlile has taken the stage at the revered Ryman Auditorium to be recognized as one of the best artists in American music.
The singer-songwriter-songwriter-producer-activist – and increasingly multi-trait, of course – won Artist of the Year, major recognition Wednesday at the 2021 Americana Honors & Awards, an annual ceremony celebrating a confluence of roots, country, blues, folk and soul music.
Carlile won the first artist of the year award in 2019; She continued her victory last year by winning three trophies as a member of country supergroup The Highwomen.
“It means so much to me,” Carlile said. “It would have meant so much to anyone who would’ve won it because to be Artist of the Year in the Year like the one we’ve all had as a community, there is a weight to that, and I think that ‘is deep. And I don’t take that for granted, because it was difficult to be an artist this year. ”
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Mostly masked audience members filled the familiar pews as the fall weather set in Nashville, resulting in a night the Americana Music Association celebrated musical institutions, late icons, and a new class of deep voices in music. roots.
As Emerging Artist of the Year winner Charley Crockett said in accepting her award: “For someone like me and a lot of people, without Americana, we probably wouldn’t have any recognition at all. So it’s for everyone that feels this way. ”
Organizers asked spectators to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entering. Those who couldn’t attend could watch the rotating cast of the tribute performances and enthusiastic standing ovations via live broadcast or radio.
The artists paid tribute to those from Americana who have passed away since the association’s last in-person awards ceremony. Steve Earle sang “Harlam River Blues” for his late son Justin Townes Earle; Aoife O’Donovan and Joe Henry offered a duet “Gulf Coast Highway” tribute to Nanci Griffith; Nashville house band frontman and frontman Buddy Miller played the all-time favorite Tom T. Hall “That’s how I got to Memphis”.
The late songwriting hero John Prine won his second Americana Award posthumously, winning song of the year for his latest recording “I Remember Everything.”
Prine – an Americana torchbearer respected by his peers and admired by newcomers – won the Artist of the Year award in 2020, months after his death from COVID-19 at age 73. Carlile, Amanda Shires and Margo Price paid tribute to Prine moments after the award with a rendition of “I Remember Everything”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in this building without John,” said Prine’s widow, Fiona Prine, accepting the honor. “I had tears in my eyes tonight, but I think he’s here.
She continued, “It struck me that I think the doors to this building have been pushed wide, wide open. Over the past few years, but no more than tonight. And this is done by women, a lot of people. ‘between them that John loved and toured with and sang with and as a duet with. … We are very grateful for this posthumous recognition. John’s last recorded song. ”
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Viewers saw those “big, wide open” doors open with performances that included breakout artists Crockett, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell, as well as a first standing ovation at the Americana Awards from The Highwomen’s “Highwomen” – members Carlile, Shires, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby with Yola.
Valerie June recruited “Queen of Memphis Soul” and Inspiration Award winner Carla Thomas for the 2021 premiere song, “Call Me A Fool”, and Shires joined Isbell for the 2020 Heartwarming Fatherhood song from the premiere. last, “Letting You Go”. Carlile delivered the night’s penultimate performance with her booming new single “Right On Time”.
And the show offered a look at a rich and living musical history with a handful of overall achievement awards. The aforementioned Thomas performed Stax’s number “BABY” and modern bluesman Keb ‘Mo’ won the Lifetime Award for Performance before singing his song “Oklahoma”.
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Famous country-rock band The Mavericks won the Trailblazing Award, naming the honor with a towering version of “La Sitiera” from the band’s all-Spanish album “En Español”. And, in a nod to Nashville’s 150-year-old singing tradition, the Legacy Award-winning Fisk Jubilee Singers gave a stunning standing ovation after singing “I Believe.”
“The songs preserved by the Fisk Jubilee Singers (…) have entered the canon of American music,” said Shannon Sanders, Grammy-winning songwriter and executive creative director at BMI, in presenting the Singers. “Songs like ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, ‘Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen’ and ‘Steal Away’. Generations of singers have been nurtured and trained at Fisk.”
Sturgill Simpson won his first Americana Award since 2017, marking Album of the Year for “Cuttin ‘Grass Vol. 1” – a collection of his songs reimagined with top bluegrass players. Shooter Jennings accepted the Simpson Prize on his behalf.
The Americana Awards closed with a final surprise tribute – from Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell to Everly Brothers member Don Everly, who died last month at the age of 84. Presented by CBS reporter Anthony Mason, the duo sang the Everly Brothers tunes “Let It Be Me” before looking into a cover of “Bye Bye Love”.
“That’s not a bad way to end the series, is it?” Mason said.
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Americana 2021 Awards and Honors
- Artist of the year: Brandi carlile
- Album of the year: “Cut the Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions)”, Sturgill Simpson, produced by David Ferguson and Sturgill Simpson
- Song of the year: “I Remember Everything”, John Prine, written by Pat McLaughlin and John Prine
- Duo / Group of the year: Black puma
- Emerging act of the year: Charley crockett
- Instrumentalist of the year: Kristin weber
Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
- Inheritance price: Fisk Jubilee Singers
- Lifetime price for performance: Keb’Mo ‘
- Americana Trailblazer Price: The Mavericks
- Award of excellence for all the achievements of the producer / engineer: Shoemaker trina
- Americana Inspiration Award: Carla thomas