by VVN Music
The yearly Americana lovefest was held Wednesday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with the Americana Music Awards.
The four-hour show, which is always light on categories and heavy on live music, showcased the best of the genre including Jason Isbell who took the honors in two of the six voted categories. Isabell won for Album of the Year for Something More Than Free and Song of the Year for 24 Frames.
The other major award, Artist of the Year, went to Chris Stapleton whose debut solo album had languished until his surprise win for Album of the Year at the 2015 CMA Awards, catapulting him to the top of the charts.
Sara Watkins took Instrumentalist of the Year and Margo Price was chosen as the Emerging Artists.
The only veteran artists to win in the six voted categories were Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell as Group/Duo of the Year.
A parade of veteran artists were honored in the special categories where Billy Bragg took the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award, a joint selection by the Americana Association and the First Amendment Center.
Four Lifetime Achievement Awards were also given. The Trailblazer Award went to Shawn Colvin while the Songwriting honor was given to William Bell (Born Under a Bad Sign, You Don't Miss Your Water). The show's regular host, Jim Lauderdale, was this year's WagonMaster recipient and Bob Weir was honored for performing.
Finally, Woody Guthrie was recognized with the President's Award.
But it was the performances that really made the night stand out. The evening opened with a four song medley by Stuart Duncan, Melonie Cannon, Allison Krauss, Buddy Miller, Joe Henry, Steve Earle and Bob Weir in honor of the recently deceased Ralph Stanley (Gloryland), Allen Toussaint (Freedom For the Stallion), Guy Clark (Desperadoes Waiting For a Train) and Merle Haggard (Mama Tried).
- Wasting Time - Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
- Tennessee Song - Margo Price
- Diamond in the Rough - Shawn Colvin and John Leventhal
- Gypsy in Me - Bonnie Raitt
- The Three of Us - Bonnie Raitt and William Bell
- The King of Broken Hearts - Jim Lauderdale and George Strait
- Bring It On Home to Memphis - Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
- It Takes a Lifetime - Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
- I Ain't Got No Home - Billy Bragg
- Memphis - Milk Carton Kids
- American Flags in Black and White - John Moreland
- I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On - Buddy Miller and Steve Earle
- Angel - Lumineers
- Heaven Sent - Parker Milsap
- What I Don't Know - Dwight Yoakam
- Will the Circle Be Unbroken - All