Nashville’s Ryman hosts the annual event (Sept.16), which brought out the best in everyone—especially Nissan owners!
By Fred Mills
The 16th annual edition of the Americana Music Festival is taking place in Nashville this week, and true to most observers’ predictions, Sturgill Simpson was the runaway favorite at last night’s Americana Honors & Awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium. Well, maybe not exactly runaway—he “only” took home Artist Of the Year and Song of the Year (for “Turtles All the Way Down”), as Lucinda Williams snagged Album Of the Year for her stunning return-to-form, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (reviewed by yours truly HERE).Whether or not Simpson was bummed for his Metamodern Sounds In Country Music (reviewed by Contributing Editor Lee Zimmerman HERE) not making it a trifecta, we’ll never know; he was not in Nashville, but rather out on what’s increasingly turning out to be a sold-out tour.
Other big winners: veteran twangers the Mavericks for Group/Duo Of the Year (go HERE to check out our review and photo gallery of their Aug. 29 concert in Raleigh), Shakey Graves for Emerging Artist Of the Year (the same award that Simpson got in 2014), and Lifetime Achievment Awards for Los Lobos, Ricky Skaggs, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings and, er, Don Henley (say what?). The full list is below.
As Rolling Stone additionally reports, standout performances on the Ryman stage included the Mavs, Welch & Rawlings, Shakey Graves, Jason Isbell (2014’s Artist Of the Year, natch) w/wife and brand new mother Amanda Shires, Nikki Lane, and Keb’ Mo’. Attendees were undoubtedly knocked out, a perfect way to kick off the Americana bash.
For all the rest of us not in Nashville and stuck at home, we’ll be watching for videos to surface that we can share with readers. In the meantime, go HERE to watch NPR Music’s video of last year’s Awards ceremony and performances.
Album of the Year: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Lucinda Williams
Artist of the Year: Sturgill Simpson
Group/Duo of the Year: The Mavericks
Song of the Year: “Turtles All the Way Down,” Sturgill Simpson
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shakey Graves
Instrumentalist of the Year: John Leventhal
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Don Henley
Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Lifetime Achievement Award, Instrumentalist: Ricky Skaggs
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Los Lobos
President’s Award: B.B. King