Thursday, September 22, 2016



Stunning Tribute to Guy Clark, Merle Haggard, Dr. Ralph Stanley and Allen Toussaint Opens 
2016 Show, Which Also Featured Special Appearances by Bob Weir, Dwight Yoakam, Margo Price, Timothy B. Schmit, Shawn Colvin, Jason Isbell, George Strait And More 

Two of the most talked-about roots music artists of the past year — Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton — highlighted the eclectic mix of honorees, presenters and performers at the 15th Annual Americana Music Association Honors & Awards show Wednesday night at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium.

Isbell took home two trophies, one for Album of the Year for his 2015 release “Something More Than Free” and one for Song of the Year for “24 Frames,” while Stapleton was awarded Artist of the Year honors for the overall impact made via his 2015 solo debut “Traveller.”

Isbell, now a six-time Americana Award winner, noted a key to keeping an artist grounded if success comes one’s way while accepting the Song of the Year award. “If you can, keep people around you who will tell you when you’ve done something awful, whether it’s in a song or in your personal life, and listen to them if at all possible,” Isbell said, thanking wife and fellow artist Amanda Shires as that key.

“Thank you to all the Americana radio stations out there, it’s been a big part of what we’ve been doing,” Chris Stapleton said, genuinely touched by the Artist of the Year award. “I’m nervous, there’s so many heroes out here in audience and up here on the stage, this is a remarkable thing.” 

Each year, the Honors and Awards show celebrates current Americana projects, a slate of Lifetime Achievement awards, and a set of unique, unforgettable performances. Musical legends such as Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir and country music megastar George Strait graced the fabled Ryman stage alongside buzzed-about newcomers such as Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and The Lumineers.

Price picked up this year’s Emerging Artist of the Year, while longtime musical collaborators Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell earned Group/Duo of the Year (their second win in this category), and fiddler Sara Watkins was named Instrumentalist of the Year (the first female to win this award).

“What an extraordinary event!” said Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association. “Once again, the Americana community raises the bar of integrity and excellence. It’s such an honor to be in the room with talent of that level.”

Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Shawn Colvin (Trailblazer), William Bell (Songwriting), Bob Weir (Performance), Jim Lauderdale (WagonMaster), Woody Guthrie (President’s Award), and Billy Bragg (Spirit of Americana/Free Speech In Music, co-presented by the First Amendment Center) with the posthumous President’s Award Presented In Honor of Woody Guthrie to Lucinda Williams on behalf of the family.

Bob Weir, who helped open the show playing the Merle Haggard classic “Mama Tried,” part of the tribute to recently departed musical giants including Haggard, Allen Toussaint, Ralph Stanley and Guy Clark, took note of the synthesis of musical traditions that shaped not only his own experience, but encapsulates modern-day American roots music.

“You take musical traditions from England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain a little bit, a little bit from France, and blend them together with a rich variety of African musical traditions, and stir it up,” Weir said. “You let it simmer for 200 or 300 years and see what happens. This could only happen in a new land. Physically, culturally, and spiritually. That place was and is America. It could only have happened here.”

For the 14th consecutive year, Jim Lauderdale hosted the awards show Emmylou Harris calls “the shining star of Nashville and music everywhere” while multi-faceted producer/songwriter/performer Buddy Miller assembled an all-star band to contribute to the night’s amazing music, this year featuring Dave Cobb, Stuart Duncan, Fred Eltringham, Steve Fishell, Matt Rollings, Chris Wood and The McCrary Sisters.

Americana Music Honors & Awards 2016 Winners:
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

The Honors & Awards show kicked off the 17h Annual Americana Music Festival and Conference that runs through Sunday, Sept. 25 in Nashville.

For more information on the Honors & Awards show, AmericanaFest, the Americana Music Conference and membership to the Americana Music Association, please visit: 


About the Americana Music Association:
The Americana Music Association is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. The Association produces events throughout the year; including the Americana Music Festival & Conference and the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards program. The Americana Music Association receives enormous support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Music City Networks, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange, and AT&T. For more information, or to purchase an Americana Music Festival & Conference registration, please visit
About AmericanaFest:
The 17th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference will take place September 20-25, 2016. The event brings together fans and music industry professionals alike, offering six days of celebration through seminars, panels and networking opportunities by day and raw, battery recharging showcases each night. The Americana Honors & Awards Show is the featured performance of the festivities, taking place at the historic Ryman Auditorium. T Bone Burnett will be delivering the keynote speech. For information on how to purchase a conference registration, please visit
Festival wristabands availabel at online or at Grimey's New and Pre-Loved Music or The Groove in East Nashville
For more information on the Americana Music Association: 
Official Website:

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