If the world were just, the Americana Music Awards would be the Country Music Awards. Somewhere along the way, pop music punked country music and Nashville wandered down the path of easy money and middling music. Blah, blah, blah, you’ve heard it all before.
Americana Music Fans were rewarded again this year with a bold selection of Americana Music Association the end of September, 2016. By this time, Jason Isbell is well on his way to legendary status, and Chris Stapleton, onetime frontman for The SteelDrivers, is continuing his foray amongst the CMA crowd, reminding them what could have been and could still be. Twitter friends turned me on to newcomer Margo Price earlier this year, and she is proving a worthy addition to the Americana marquee. Kudos to NPR for webcasting the awards show.
There’s an interesting fusion in the Americana Music brand of country music. I like my rock’n music, but I’m more of the Traditional Hank Williams roots branch. I appreciate the California Graham Parsons sound but never got into the Grateful Dead-Woodstock thing. To each their own, if they’re honest about it.
Here’s the winners (nomination period, not calendar year) for 2016:
- Album of the Year: Something More Than Free, Jason Isbell, Produced by Dave Cobb
- Artist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
- Group/Duo of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
- Song of the Year: “24 Frames” Jason Isbell; Written by Jason Isbell
- Emerging Artist of the Year: Margo Price
- Instrumentalist of the Year: Sara Watkins
- Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Billy Bragg
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Shawn Colvin
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: William Bell
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Bob Weir
- Lifetime Achievement Award, WagonMaster: Jim Lauderdale
- President’s Award: Woody Guthrie
Jason Isbell is touring the East Coast and Gulf Coast in October, sold out shows in Chicago in November. His wife, Amanda Shires, has a new album out that I’m warming up to, also. She’s playing Austin City Limit Festival today, then going up the opposite way up the Gulf Coast. In Denver on 6 November and Aspen on the 7th if you need a pre-election pick-me-up. Can’t imagine the life of a touring couple.
Emmylou was just in Boulder. Margo Price plays the Bluebird in Denver on 10/24 after gigs in Boise and Salt Lake, on her way to Omaha and St. Paul. Sara Watkins plays the Bluebird on 4 December after a UK tour.