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John Prine Wins Artist of the Year, Marty Stuart Takes Group/Duo, Rodney Crowell Song at Americana Awards

by VVN Music

It was a wild mix of old and new on the winners list at last night's Americana Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Veteran John Prine was given the Artist of the Year award over such notables as Jason Isbell, Lori McKenna, Margo Price and Sturgill Simpson. Prine took the stage a number of times during the evening including introducing regular singing partner Iris DeMent and performing their "In Spite of Ourselves".  John had previously been given the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 for his songwriting.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives won Group/Duo of the Year over an equally impressive list of nominees including Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, the Drive-By Truckers and the Lumineers. Stuart and his band, who have been known for years as true historians of country music, have branched out in 2017 playing for more Americana audiences as places such as Del Fest.

Rodney Crowell took home the Song of the Year Award for "It Ain't Over Yet" which he recorded with former wife Rosanne Cash and John Paul White on his album Close Ties.

Charlie Sexton also won for Instrumentalist of the Year.

In an awards show that only has six categories, the final two categories went to modern artists with Amanda Shires taking Emerging Artist and Sturgill Simpson winning Album of the Year for A Sailor's Guide to Earth.

Six special awards were also given on the evening including five Lifetime Achievement Awards:
  • Trailblazer: Iris DeMent
  • Songwriting: Van Morrison
  • Performance: Robert Cray
  • Instrumentalist: Hi Rhythm Section
  • Executive: Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg (Hightone Records)
Morrison accepted his honor by simply saying "Thank You" before playing his new single "Transformation".

Finally, the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award was given to Graham Nash.

During the evening, there were numerous performances including some special salutes to the recently departed Leon Russell ("Tightrope" by Jim Lauderdale and the McCrary Sisters), Glen Campbell ("Gentle on My Mind" by Joe Henry and Billy Bragg) and Don Williams ("Tulsa Time" by the full cast).