Quantcast
SUMMER'S END AT THE AMERICANA AWARDS

The Big Finish (l-r): Brandi Carlile, Irma Thomas, Courtney Marie Andrews, Tanya Blount and Michael Trotter Jr. of The War and Treaty, Ann McCrary of The McCrary Sisters. (Photo: Getty Images for the Americana Music Association)

It was a big night for Americana—and a big night for the gentle push of social consciousness in roots music. Beyond Brandi Carlisle’s all-empowering, anti-bullying “The Joke” being one of the 17th annual Americana Awards’ standout performances, the non-preaching master of making you think about how you see the world John Prine and powerhouse performer/songwriter Jason Isbell dominated. Prine took Artist of the Year, while Isbell swept Album of the Year (The Nashville Sound), Song of the Year (“If We Were Vampires”) and Duo/Group (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit).

Prine not only repeats as Artist of the Year, largely on the strength of The Tree of Forgiveness, his first new music in 13 years, but for the mark he’s made on the entire Americana community. After playing the lovely “Summer’s End,” the man who’s spent the last half century writing songs that capture the state of the heart and the human condition picked up his award with a wry joke. “I’d like to thank all the people who’ve bought the record, and all the people who didn’t buy my record,” he said. “We’ll get you sooner or later.”

Isbell, a self-described Prine acolyte and sometimes tour mate, continues his dominance of the oeuvre. Beyond mirroring his 2018 Best Americana Album and Song Grammys, Isbell wins his third consecutive Album (2016’s Something More Than Free, 2014’s Southeastern) and fourth Song of the Year (2016’s “24 Frames,” 2014’s “Cover Me Up,” 2009’s “Alabama Pines”), making the former Drive-By Trucker ubiquitous in a world of amorphous roots music defined by the caliber of songwriting.

It was also a night about the power of women. Bluegrass sensation Molly Tuttle was named Instrumentalist of the Year, kd lang received the Americana Trailblazer Award and the Lifetime Achievement for Performance went to the fiery Irma Thomas, while the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement for an Executive was presented to Olivia Records founders Cris Williamson and Judy Dlugacz.

The always socially conscious songwriter/activist/writer Rosanne Cash received the prestigious Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award, presented in conjunction with the First Amendment Center. It was a full-circle moment—the first recipient of the Free Speech Award was Johnny Cash in 2002.

Dazzling male artists bookended career-recognition awards. Breakout writer/road warrior Tyler Childers won Emerging Artist of the Year, while the jaw-dropping Buddy Guy, whose “Damn Right I Got the Blues” brought an intensity for all to match, was named Lifetime Achievement Instrumentalist.

The Milk Carton Kids, the acoustic, bluegrass-leaning duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, followed the towering presence of Jim Lauderdale, the Americana Awards’ only host until this year, with a mix of witty repartee and appropriate reverence, while staging a musical number the Oscars could learn from. “What Even Is Americana?” pulled in—and on—the tropes, turning them upside down for laughs generated by genuine cleverness and spot-it-you-got-it recognition.

2018 Americana Honors & Awards Winners and Honorees:

  • Album of the Year: The Nashville Sound, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, produced by Dave Cobb
  • Artist of the Year: John Prine
  • Song of the Year: “If We Were Vampires,” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, written by Jason Isbell
  • Duo/Group of the Year: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  • Emerging Artist of the Year: Tyler Childers
  • Instrumentalist of the Year: Molly Tuttle
  • “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award, presented in partnership with the First Amendment Center: Rosanne Cash
  • Americana Trailblazer Award: k.d. lang
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist: Buddy Guy
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance: Irma Thomas
  • Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive: Cris Williamson and Judy Dlugacz of Olivia Records
IL CAPO DI SUGAR
Sweet smell of success. (11/14a)
GREIN ON GRAMMYS: SMOKE-FILLED RUMINATIONS
Theme song: Charlie Rich, "Behind Closed Doors" (11/9a)
MOVE WITH THE FLOW: THE JANICK WAY OF KNOWLEDGE (PART 2)
Don't miss Janick's "New Rules"... Oh wait, that's Bill Maher's bit. (11/12a)
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: STREAMING SONGS
It's a Trippie experience. (11/12a)
RAINMAKERS: MYSTERY GUEST, PLEASE SIGN IN
What do we get if we guess right? (11/9a)
GRAMMY NOMINEES
Collect 'em all!
MMA FOR DUMMIES
Not Mixed Martial Arts; the Music Modernization Act, dummy.
IS IT COLD IN HERE?
...or are our bosses from outer space?
THE KIDS
They're leaning on the button.
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)