Through a spotty online streamed event (at least on my side) from Grammy Museum’s Clive Davis Theatre in L.A. the Nashville-based Americana Music Association announced their 2012 announced their nominees for Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year.
On hand was “Mr. Americana,” and the premier host of the Americana Awards program, Jim Lauderdale. Buddy Miller lead the Americana All Star quartet with Don Heffington, Greg Leisz and Don Was. Featuring excellent performances by Lauderdale, Shelby Lynne, Lucinda Williams and Texas’s own Robert Ellis.
Jed Hilly gave a gracious speech and then introduced the actor John C Reilly, and mighty fine roots musician in his own right, as M.C. for the event. Taking the stage and looking rather sheepish Reilly stated “They call this the Americana Awards but really it should be the All the Great Artists Out Right Now Awards.”
The nominees are some of the most solid since I’ve been keeping score of the AMA awards. Jason Isbell and Gillian Welch lrad nominations with 4 and 3 respectively. The Artist of the Year noms Welch, Isbell as well as Hayes Carll and Justin Townes Earle leaves me for the first time with no clear favorite to root for. There is the staple legend that released something unexceptional but still gets a nod ( Steve Earle with an Album of the Year nod for I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive ) but overall even this category is solid (not least of which because 2 of the nominees , Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and Gillian Welch, were on my best of 2011 list)
There appears to be some bandwagon jumping with the Emerging Artist of the Year nominees Alabama Shakes and Dawes. I could give you a list of a dozen artists I’d replace them with. (one being already on the list, the exceptional Robert Ellis.) Buddy Miller is to the AMAs what Kenny Chesney is to the CMAs, is once again on the list for Instrumentalist of the Year.
The performers and the band then ended the ceremony with a rousing rendition of the traditional spiritual “Let the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Winners will be announced at the Americana Honors and Awards program at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. - Sept. 12. The ceremony is part of the Americana Music Festival and Conference, which takes place on Sept. 12-15.
Full list of nominees below:
Album of the Year
Here We Rest – Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive – Steve Earle
The Harrow & The Harvest – Gillian Welch
This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark – Various Artists
Artist of the Year
Justin Townes Earle
Emerging Artist of the Year
Deep Dark Woods
Song of the Year
“Alabama Pines” – Written by Jason Isbell and performed by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
“Come Around” – Written and performed by Sarah Jarosz
“I Love” – Written by Tom T. Hall and performed by Patty Griffin
“Waiting On The Sky to Fall” – Written and performed by Steve Earle
Instrumentalist of the Year
Duo/Group of the Year
Carolina Chocolate Drops
The Civil Wars
Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit