16th Annual Americana Honors & Awards To Be Held In Nashville Wednesday, September 13th

Photo ID: (L-R, Back Row): Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers), Jason Isbell, Jerry Douglas, Caitlin Canty, Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), Abi Tapia (Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum). (L-R, Front Row): Joey Ryan (The Milk Carton Kids), Jed Hilly, Executive Director Americana Music Association℠, Kenneth Pattengale
(The Milk Carton Kids). Photo by Rick Diamond, Getty/WireImage

The Americana Music Association’s 16th Annual Americana Honors and Awards will be held at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, September 13th. Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller will return to host the event that boasts a prolific lineup of presenters, performers and more.

Singer-songwriter and Americana Wagonmaster Award recipient Jim Lauderdale will preside as host over the festivities, while Americana’s most-awarded artist, songwriter, musician, and producer Buddy Miller takes the reigns for musical direction of the Americana All-Star Band featuring Larry Campbell, Robbie Crowell, Jim Hoke, Jerry Pentecost, Chris Wood and the incredible McCrary Sisters.

The list of performers and presenters for the awards this year will showcase an eclectic mix of musical icons and electrifying newcomers.

Legends and longtime fan-favorites line up alongside present-day buzz generators including Van Morrison, Graham Nash, John Prine, Rodney Crowell, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, Iris DeMent, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, the Drive-By Truckers, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Old Crow Medicine Show and Lori McKenna along with The Lumineers, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Rhiannon Giddens, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Brent Cobb, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Sam Outlaw and Amanda Shires as confirmed performers for the Honors & Awards show. While this is the 16th annual awards show, it is the capstone event that occurs during AMERICANAFEST which is in its 18th year and held at various venues throughout Nashville.

Each year, the Americana Music Association℠ honors distinguished members of the music community with six member-voted annual awards and with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Artist of the Year:
Jason Isbell
John Prine
Lori McKenna
Margo Price
Sturgill Simpson
Duo/Group of the Year:
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
Drive-By Truckers
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
The Lumineers
Emerging Artist of the Year:
Aaron Lee Tasjan
Amanda Shires
Brent Cobb
Sam Outlaw
Instrumentalist of the Year:
Spencer Cullum, Jr.
Jen Gunderman
Courtney Hartman
Charlie Sexton
(L-R) Top: Graham Nash, Dave Alvin, Bruce Bromberg, Big Sandy, Larry Sloven, Chris Gaffney, Iris DeMent (L-R) Bottom: Robert Cray, Van Morrison, Hi Rhythm’s LeRoy “Flick” Hodges, Rev. Charles Hodges, Howard Grimes, Archie “Hubbie” Turner, Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, Al Jackson, Jr. (on drums below)

During the awards, they will also present esteemed accolades to Robert Cray, Iris DeMent, Hi Rhythm, Van Morrison, Graham Nash and HighTone Founders Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg in celebration of their creative impact in Americana music.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance will go to Robert Cray. Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for over four decades with five GRAMMY® wins. After bursting onto the scene as band leader for the Robert Cray Band in 1974, he and his band became responsible for bringing the timeless soul sound of their mentors John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Albert Collins to a younger audience. Throughout his expansive career, he has performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, BB King, Bonnie Raitt and the late Chuck Berry. His latest album Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (Jay-Vee Records) was produced by Steve Jordan at the historic Royal Studios in Memphis, Tenn. 
Iris DeMent will be receiving the Americana Trailblazer Award and exemplifies what it means to forge your own path in the music industry. Her independently released 1992 debut Infamous Angel garnered such palpable buzz that it landed her a deal with Warner Bros. the following year without any support from mainstream country radio. Over the next two decades, DeMent never shied away from using her ethereal voice and songwriting craft to showcase introspection as well as to address more political topics such as sexual abuse, religion and government policy throughout her work. 
The Hi Rhythm section, this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist, is not your average group of musicians. During the ’70s, they served as the late producer Willie Mitchell’s secret weapon for his vision of Memphis soul, providing their incomparable musicianship for hit Hi Records albums by artists like Al Green and Ann Peebles at the historic Royal Studios in Memphis, Tenn. Originally formed in the late ’60s, members include the late Mabon “Teenie” Hodges (guitar), Rev. Charles Hodges (organ), LeRoy “Flick” Hodges (bass), Howard Grimes (drums), the late Al Jackson, Jr. (drums) and Archie “Hubbie” Turner (keyboard). 
Co-presented by the First Amendment Center, this year’s Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award will be presented to Graham Nash. A two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his roles as a member of the Hollies and supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (and later Young), the GRAMMY® Award-winning singer’s passionate voice continues to be heard in support of peace and social and environmental justice. The No Nukes/Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts he organized with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in 1979 remain seminal benefit events. In 2011, Nash was instrumental in bringing MUSE back to the forefront with a concert to benefit Japan disaster relief and groups promoting non-nuclear energy worldwide. 
HighTone Records founders Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg are the recipients of the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive. In the mid-’80s, these industry partners bonded over their wide-ranging roots music tastes and sought out an opportunity to create a label home for the melting pot of influences that is now Americana music. Artistic freedom was imperative to their business model from day one, and it made all the difference in providing a liberating platform for artists who have paved the way in Americana such as The Blasters, Big Sandy, Buddy Miller and more. For 25 years, HighTone Records produced 300 album releases and a number of landmark achievements including the release of the first and longest running #1 Americana Radio Airplay album, Tulare Dust: A Songwriter’s Tribute to Merle Haggard, and even a GRAMMY® Award for Dale Alvin’s King of California. 
Van Morrison will be receiving the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, as previously announced. After establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in his British R&B group Them in the late ’60s, the six-time GRAMMY® Award winner’s unparalleled songwriting talents and evocative vocal delivery have pioneered his legendary career spanning over four decades. From the Sinatra-like soul of Moondance to the country-inflected Tupelo Honey, Morrison’s myriad of influences are equally matched by his consistency as an artist, leading his work to transcend generations upon generations to come. 
“We are proud and humbled to honor these artists whose work has shaped what we not only call Americana today but the musical landscape on the whole,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association℠. “We are inspired by their work and excited to see them all as they will honor us in song at the Ryman this fall.” 
A live audio simulcast of the show will also be available via SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country and on Nashville area terrestrial radio stations: WRLT (100.1 FM), WSM (650 AM) and WMOT (89.5 FM). Performance highlights courtesy of Austin City Limits for a special broadcast will also be aired November 19th on PBS.
Described by Emmylou Harris as “the shining star of Nashville and music everywhere,” the Americana Honors and Awards show has been broadcast in the past on AXS TV, PBS, and via SiriusXM Radio, BBC2, WMOT, WRLT, WSM, Voice of America and npr.org.  The show has featured many amazing moments in musical history including Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash’s last live performance together, as well as show-stopping appearances by Bob Weir, George Strait, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Gregg Allman, The Avett Brothers, Solomon Burke, Rosanne Cash, Civil Wars, Dr. John with Dan Auerbach, Patty Griffin, Levon Helm, Robert Plant and many more. Tickets for the Americana Honors & Awards are available for purchase by conference registrants of the weeklong event.

For more information on the Americana Music Association℠ please visit: Official Website: americanamusic.org
Facebook: facebook.com/americanamusicassociation
Twitter: twitter.com/americanafest
Instagram: instagram.com/americanafest

2017 Americana Honors & Awards Spotify Playlist: http://spoti.fi/2q0wM8P

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