The Americana Music Awards just announced their 2015 nominees, and Lucinda Williams, Shakey Graves and Sturgill Simpson lead the pack with 3 nominations apiece. All were nominated for Album of the Year and Song of the year. Williams and Simpson share the Artist of the Year category with Lee Ann Womack, Rhiannon Giddens and Jason Isbell. Shakey Graves shares the Emerging Artist of the Year category with First Aid Kit, Houndmouth, Nikki Lane and the man behind one of the great stories of the year, Doug Seegers.
The awards will again be presented at the Mother Church of Country Music, the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
As impressive as it is the full list of nominees below is it offers just a glimpse of the diverse and strong field of Americana and roots artists building this sustainable genre and cultural force. There are no outliers, surprises or dark horses in the nominees, but that’s not the point of award shows. It’s to reward and display some of the most marketable of the genre to a larger public in order to grow a sustainable fan base for these artists and the next coming up, many of whom can be found playing the week-long festival at local clubs.
As mainstream country starts to take notice of Americana celebration each year in Music Row’s back yard I can’t help but feel that some of that influence (and, yes, proven success. It’ s still a business) won’t have some positive effect on roots music as a whole.
2015 Americana Honors & Awards Nominees
Album of the Year (Award goes to Artist and Producer)
‘And The War Came’ – Shakey Graves; Produced by Alejandro Rose-Garcia and Chris Boosahda
‘Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone’ – Lucinda Williams; Produced by Lucinda Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz
‘Metamodern Sounds In Country Music’ – Sturgill Simpson; Produced by Dave Cobb
‘The Way I’m Livin” – Lee Ann Womack; Produced by Frank Liddell
‘Tomorrow Is My Turn’ – Rhiannon Giddens; Produced by T-Bone Burnett
The surprise the this category is the quirky, less rootsy ‘And The War Came’ by Alejandro Rose-Garcia aka Shakey Graves. I love that country superstar Lee Ann Womack has been so warmly embraced by the community for her great work on ‘The Way I’m Livin’ ‘ and Rhiannon Giddens more than deserves to be here fit her wonderful release. I believe it’s going to a photo finish between Lucinda Williams and Sturgill Simpson.
Artist of the Year
Lee Ann Womack
A Lee Ann Womack win would be badass and I believe likely winner Sturgill Simpson would agree.
Duo/Group of the Year
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
The Lone Bellow
Shovels & Rope
Can’t quibble with anything here but it would be cool if Brooklyn’s The Lone Bellow walked away with it.
Emerging Artist of the Year
First Aid Kit
Love Doug Seegers but I have to go with Nikki Lane on this one. Though I would have her in Artist of the Year as she’s now on her second excellent release (which should be up for AOTY)
Instrumentalist of the Year
Great performers all but I have to go with Lucinda’s axw\e-master Stuart Mathis here. The man’s a genius of nuance and a really nice guy as well.
Song of the Year (Award goes to Artist and Songwriter)
“Dearly Departed” – Shakey Graves; Written by Alejandro Rose-Garcia and Esme’ Patterson
“East Side Of Town” – Lucinda Williams; Written by Lucinda Williams
“Terms Of My Surrender” – John Hiatt; Written by John Hiatt
“Turtles All The Way Down” – Sturgill Simpson; Written by Sturgill Simpson
“You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had” – Steve Earle & the Dukes; Written by Steve Earle
Song of the Year is where I have plenty of conflicts. No Nikki Lane “The Right Time?” No American Aquarium ‘Man I’m Supposed To Be?’ No Cory Branan ‘Missing You Fierce’
9 or Old 97s ‘Longer Than You’ve Been Alive’ Oh well, I don’t program for radio and am looking at (and voted) this category differently than my contemporaries.