The nominees were announced today in Nashville by the Americana Music Association, and what a great list of talent it is!
Rosanne Cash, Robert Ellis and Jason Isbell each had three nominations in the same categories of Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Song of the Year.
Cash, Ellis and Isbell are nominated for Artist of the Year, along with Rodney Crowell. Cashâ€™s â€œA Featherâ€™s Not a Bird,â€ Ellisâ€™ â€œOnly Liesâ€ and Isbellâ€™s â€œCover Me Upâ€ along with Patty Griffinâ€™s â€œOhioâ€ are up for Song of the Year.
Cashâ€™s album â€œThe River and the Threadâ€ is up for Album of the Year against Ellisâ€™ â€œThe Lights From the Chemical Plant,â€ Isbellâ€™s â€œSoutheasternâ€ and Sarah Jaroszâ€™s â€œBuild Me Up From Bones.â€
While watching the nomination event online on the Music City Roots Livestream Ellis chimed in from Houston As his name was called once, twice, three times he responded on the messaging thread with genuine surprise and humility “Wow!” “Thank you all!” he typed.
Rosanne Cash tweeted that she was “Thrilled!!” yo learn of her nominations.
The other Americana Honors & Awards categories, Lake Street Dive , the Avett Brothers, the Devil Makes Three, Hard Working Americans, and the Milk Carton Kids are up for Duo/Group of the Year. Hurray for the Riff Raff, Parker Millsap, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Sturgill Simpson and Valerie June are in the vying for Emerging Act of the Year; and Larry Campbell, Buddy Miller, Fats Kaplin and Bryan Sutton are the nominees for Instrumentalist of the Year.
The awards will be handed out Sept. 17 at the Ryman Auditorium as part of the Americana Music Festival and Conference, happening Sept. 17-21 in Nashville. Jim Lauderdale will host the awards show, and Miller will lead the house an all-star band.
2014 AMERICANA HONORS & AWARDS NOMINEES
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Build Me Up From Bones, Sarah Jarosz
The Lights From The Chemical Plant, Robert Ellis
The River And The Thread, Rosanne Cash
Southeastern, Jason Isbell
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Avett Brothers
The Devil Makes Three
Hard Working Americans
Lake Street Dive
The Milk Carton Kids
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Cover Me Up”, Jason Isbell
“A Feather’s Not A Bird”, Rosanne Cash
“Ohio”, Patty Griffin
“Only Lies”, Robert Ellis
EMERGING ACT OF THE YEAR
Hurray For The Riff Raff
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Science held their big to-do to announce a few of the nominees for the next round of the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards. The choices in the Americana and roots categories again display an appreciation of some of the veterans of the genre and the roots they represent.
Collaborations reigned in the Best Americana Album category. Emmylou Harris may add another trophy to the 12 GRAMMYS she a lead has on her mantel with “Old Yellow Moon,” her duet collaboration Hot Band guitarist and legendary singer-songwriter , Rodney Crowell. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell are nominated for “Love Has Come For You,â€ their first joint effort and Americana stalwarts Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale are up for their “Buddy And Jim.â€ Mavis Staples , who won for Best Americana Album in 2011 is up for “One True Vine.â€ Legendary composer, producer, performer Allen Toussaint intimate and live deliberation of his new New York City home â€œSongbookâ€ rounds out the list
Nominees for Best American Roots Song include another new New York resident (By way of Texas) Sarah Jarosz for the title cut of her third studio release, “Build Me Up From Bones.” Steve Earle snagged a spot for â€œInvisible,â€ his song focused on the homeless and indigent, from his latest “The Low Highway.â€ Old partners reconvene to gain a spot with Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scottâ€™s “Keep Your Dirty Lights Onâ€ from their Memories and Moments. Best Americana Album nominees Edie Brickell & Steve Martin is nominated for the title cut “Love Has Come For Youâ€ and Allen Toussaint for “Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed.â€
There are no slackers in a bluegrass band, and Best Bluegrass Album nominees are some of the best in the field. A nice surprise was the choice for newcomers Della Maeâ€™s nomination for their sophomore release “This World Oft Can Beâ€ Members of The Boxcars have collected numerous IBMA and GRAMMY Awards and have shared the stage with legends so itâ€™s no surprise that their third album “It’s Just A Roadâ€ was nominated. Though Harlan Howard was referring to country music when he coined the term â€œâ€¦three chords and the truth.â€ James King and his cracker-Jack band adopted it as the title for their first GRAMMY-nominated album. Veterans Dailey & Vincent (Jamie Dailey (guitar, bass, vocals), Darrin Vincent (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals)) are up for their 3rd GRAMMY Award nomination for their sixth release “Brothers Of The Highwayâ€ and the Del McCoury Band nabbed a nomination for their 14th release “The Streets Of Baltimore.â€ Del and the band won in the category in 2006 for “The Company We Keep.”
Roots music greatness continued with the Best Folk Album category, whose boundaries blur so much with Best Americana Album category that any performer from either side could swap with a perfumer from the other and few people would notice. Patriarch singer/songwriter Guy Clark grabbed his 6th nomination for his latest “My Favorite Picture Of You.â€ The Greencards received their 3rd GRAMMY nomination for their sixth studio album “Sweetheart Of The Sunâ€ and Sarah Jarosz is up for her 2nd nomination for “Build Me Up From Bones.â€ Newcomer favorites The Milk Carton Kids are on the list for their current “The Ash & Clay.” “They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration,” the roots-rich benefit
in tribute to the Arhoolie Foundation, and the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records, is also included.
Music Row continues to show some interest in Americana-leaning performers with country newcomer
Kacey Musgraves up for Best New Artist, Best Country album (Same Trailer, Different Park) andBest Country Snog (“Merry Go ‘Round”.) Best Country Duo/Group Performance category features The Civil Wars for â€œFrom This Valley, â€ Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill for â€œDonâ€™t Rushâ€ and Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton for â€œYou Canâ€™t Make Old Friends.â€
Other nominations honoring Americana and roots artists are the soundtrack for â€œMuscle Shoalsâ€, nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.
Root-rock pioneer Neil Young, with his band Crazy Horse, is looking to garner this third GRAMMY win with â€œPsychedelic Pillâ€ for Best Rock Album
Multiple GRAMMY winner, and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, folksinger Pete Seeger received a GRAMMY nomination for “The Storm King,” in the category of Best Spoken Word Album.
Uncle Tupelo / Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy is up for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for his work with Mavis Staples, Low and Sarah Lee Guthrie And Johnny Irion.
Alabama Shakes is up for Best Rock Performance (“Always Alright”) Jack White for Best Rock Performance (“I’m Shakin'”) Neko Case for Best Alternative Music Album (The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight…) and Mumford & Sons are nominated for Best Boxed or Special Edition Limited Package, Best Music Film (The Road to Red Rocks)
After the nominations were announced twitter was abuzz with folks pointing out a glaring oversight of Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern” for Best Americana Album. The album is on all Americana and roots music end of year lists.
Isbell took to twitter to address with humor the snub,”Don’t worry guys, I’ll get plenty of noms. There’s a Chipotle right across the street from the hotel! #NOM”
“Don’t worry guys, I’ll get plenty of noms. There’s a Chipotle right across the street from the hotel! #NOM”
Congratulations to them all the nominees. Keep an eye on GRAMMY.com and on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/P on on January 26, 2014 to see who wins.
Best Americana Album:
Old Yellow Moon â€” Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Love Has Come For You â€” Steve Martin & Edie Brickell
Buddy And Jim â€” Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale
One True Vine â€” Mavis Staples
Songbook â€” Allen Toussaint
Best American Roots Song
“Build Me Up From Bones” Sarah Jarosz, songwriter (Sarah Jarosz) Label: Sugar Hill Records
“Invisible” – Steve Earle, songwriter (Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses)) Label: New West Records
“Keep Your Dirty Lights On” Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, songwriters (Tim O’Brien And Darrell Scott) Label: Full Skies Records
“Love Has Come For You” – Edie Brickell & Steve Martin, songwriters (Steve Martin & Edie Brickell) Label: Rounder; Publishers: LA Films Music/Brick Elephant Music
“Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed” Allen Toussaint, songwriter (Allen Toussaint) Label: Rounder; Publishers: Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc/Marsaint Music, Inc.
Best Bluegrass Album
“It’s Just A Road” — The Boxcars
“Brothers Of The Highway” — Dailey & Vincent
“This World Oft Can Be” — Della Mae
“Three Chords And The Truth” — James King
“The Streets Of Baltimore” — Del McCoury Band
Best Folk Album
“My Favorite Picture Of You” — Guy Clark
“Sweetheart Of The Sun” — The Greencards
“Build Me Up From Bones” — Sarah Jarosz
“The Ash & Clay” — The Milk Carton Kids
“They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration” — (Various Artists) Chris Strachwitz, producer
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“From This Valley” — The Civil Wars
“Don’t Rush” — Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill
“You Can’t Make Old Friends” — Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton
Artists/albums of interest to the Americana community, nominated in other categories:
Neil Young With Crazy Horse – Best Rock Album (“Psychedelic Pill”)
Pete Seeger – “The Storm King” (Best Spoken Word Album)
Muscle Shoals – Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Jeff Tweedy – Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (Invisible Way (Low) â€¢ One True Vine (Mavis Staples) (A) â€¢ Wassaic Way (Sarah Lee Guthrie And Johnny Irion))
Kacey Musgraves – Best New Artist, Best Country Artist (Same Trailer, Different Park), Best Country Snog (“Merry Go ‘Round”)
Alabama Shakes – Best Rock Performance (“Always Alright”)
Jack White – Best Rock Performance (“I’m Shakin'”)
Neko Case – Best Alternative Music Album (The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight…)
Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower – Best Children’s Album (Blue Clouds)
Mumford & Sons – Best Boxed or Special Edition Limited Package, Best Music Film (The Road to Red Rocks)
While attending the Americana conference and Festival in Nashville I took some time to head roughly 25 miles south to Franklin TN to chat with South Carolina singer Julie Roberts. I arrive at a house in a quitter residential neighborhood ringside by farms (I know, I took a wrong turn and was lucky enough to see their beauty.) The house was a single-story pleasant homes any where any family might dwell. But as Roberts sweetly welcomes my arrival I enter a state of the art music studio with all the tech and instruments (bedroom set of as a drum room) to make a hit album.
Julie hopes her new release “Good Wine and Bad Decisionsâ€ is a hit record.
Of course the lady knows a thing or two about a hit record.
Roberts burst into the mainstream country music spotlight in 2004 with there hit “Break Down Here,” which reached #18 on the Country chart. That song was from her self-titled Mercury debut. That and the follow up, “Men & Mascara,â€ hit the top 10 of the Country Albums chart. Her new alum, “Good Wine and Bad Decisions” is her first release in seven years and itâ€™s a sea change for the artist bit in style and in approach to a industry
When asked about her time on Music Row, and her albums made there, Roberts says “There was a big difference between the first record and the second record sonically. on the first one we would just come to the studio like this home studio and it; was just me and Brent (Rowan), my producer. Nobody came around until we were done. We were able to focus on our vision, on the music.
“For the second record (Men & Mascara) we worked on Music Row and people were around all the time and it was kind of nerve-racking. it’s hard not to want to please people. People pleasing is a part of my personality i’m trying to change (She laughs – Roberts laughs like she songs, full-throated and unguarded.)
“After the second record i moved to L.A. to work with Lifetime on a story of my life , around my life with my mama and our time in South Carolina. moving to Nashville. There was also the story of me working for Luke (Lewis, then the head of Mercury Nashville Records) that we thought would be a good story. So while in L.A. I was working with Tom Rickman who wrote the screenplay for Coal Miner’s Daughter for Loretta Lynn. So I had to move to L.A. so he could get to know me. After a year of living out there, and taking acting lessons, I realized I had spent all my life savings on L.A. rent!”
â€œI called Luke and told him I was ready to come back to Nashville and record my third record which would have some of the songs that were to be featured in the movie. The heads of Lifetime kept changing the date of the movie’s release. Luke thought the album wouldn’t be as strong without the movie so he shelved the album. Sometimes it takes a year to make a movie in Hollywood. Sometimes it takes ten. I had no idea what category I was in! Luke said he wasn’t going to release the album without the movie. So I asked him to let me go, I wanted to make music. And he said “yes.” I still owed him more records, but we had a history, we’re still friends. Leaving Universal was done on good terms.”
“The same week that I left, the Nashville flood came (May 2010) and we lost our home, everything. So the rest of that year I stayed Nashville rebuilding our lives. I live with my mom and my sister. While working on the house I started with Jason (Collum), my band leader since 2006, to release my first independent album “Alive” as well as my Christmas Album “Who Needs Mistletoe” (both in 2011.) This was really great for me because i was able to make music while dealing with rebuilding our lives.”
“Also during that time, I came out publicly that I had MS. I was diagnosed in 2005 but kept it quiet. There’s a lot of misconceptions about what that can mean and what you can do. And I was afraid.”
“I had everything I had always dreamed of. My mom with me, a happy home and a record deal in Nashville. We came from a not so happy place, My daddy was an alcoholic. That may be part of the reason I love country music. I can relate to a lot of it.”
“It was a really difficult time but I needed to be honest with my fans and tell them about my MS. they needed to know what I’m going through and that I’m doing great. I take medication, I work out, I eat right. But now I feel it’s part of my purpose to keep making music and following your dreams even in the face of adversity.”
Roberts works with the Muscular Dystrophy Association The Multiple Sclerosis Association Of America to raise awareness and money by performing at local events. She also receives letters from other folks with MS that hold her as an inspiration. “I got a letter from a single mom who read one of my Facebook posts. She said she was going back to night school to be a teacher.” I feel like this is a part of my new path.”
“I try and do what I can. Golf charity events. Wine events. I like wine! (laughs) There was an amazing wine event and we played it. We made a lot of money for the National Muscular Dystrophy Association. We work a lot with the local Nashville chapter too. I do what I can. I want people to see that MS is a part of me.”
Her destiny with the legendary Sun Records was a path of fortuitous circumstance. Sun had been working with Nashville-based Make Noise Management, licensing its expansive, extraordinary catalog for film and TV advertising. The Vice President of Sun, Collin Brace, had been leading the way for branch expansion and was searching for opportunities. Under his direction Sun has made deals with Converse, Mercedes-Benz as well as a series of Sun Sessions, live performances recorded in the famed memphis studio by musicians like Justin Townes Earle and Grace Potter.
CEO of Make Noise Management, Josh Collum, recalls discussions with Brace around bringing in a new artist (the first in decades) to reboot Sun. “We had been talking to Collin about reviving the label under a new artist instead of it just being in the business of licensing , which is good business, but it’s not brining in new talent. well, the stars aligned and Julie freed up from a few things and John (Singleton. He along with his brother, the late Shelby Singleton, have owned Sun since the late 1960s) loved her. He got behind it 110% in June, and we’ve been on a roller coaster since then getting the label turned back on. We started making the record and here we are 6 weeks out from release. ”
When asked how it feels to be the contemporary face of the label that launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and other legends Roberts doesn’t hesitate.
“It’s exciting, but there’s definitely pressure. All those great artists. And each one unique in their own music. I’m proud that this record, “Good Wine And Bad Decisions,” is my music and unique to me. I put everything I had into this record and I think it’ll stand up to their legacy.”
“I think it’s humbling. When we first went to meet John at Sun with Julie we were sitting in that office. At the end of the meeting Julie and John got up and shook hands and John said “Welcome to Sun records. At that point it go real.” Collum, whose been sitting by us, adds.
Julie remembers it a little differently. “It was a really surreal moment for me. Before the meeting I had been looking at these plaques from all these amazing artists. I was amazed. But at the end of the meeting John actually hugged me, he didn’t shake my hand (That laugh!) Which is even better! Then he said “Welcome to the Sun Records family.” It brought tears to my eyes ”
“When we were planning the record John asked me to look through the catalog to see of there was anything I wanted to use for the record. There was a lot to consider. We wanted to choose something that fit and hadn’t been covered a lot. Josh gave me a hard drive of about 10,000 songs. As I was going through them John sent me an email recommending the song “He Made a Woman Out of Me” (first cut by Rita Remington and later by Bobbie Gentry) I just loved it. I thought it fit my type and I loved that he thought of me for the song.”
Buddy Miller, Vice Gill and harmonica virtuoso Mickey Raphael all make appearances on “Good Wine And Bad Decisions.” I’ve always been a fan of Buddy. Julie Miller wrote “I Can’t Get Over You” from my first album. We had been covering Buddy’s “”Gasoline and Matches” on the road for a couple of years. When we asked him to song on it for the record he remembered my version of Julie’s song and said he loved it and would honored to sing on it.
“Vince Gill sang on two tracks on my first record and we sent him “Old Stringsâ€™ and told him I’d love for him to sing on it if he liked it. And he did.” ‘We asked Willis harmon a player, Mickey Raphael , to play “If I Were You” and he was awesome. Just knowing what he’s done. We knew he had played I’n town with Amos Lee and we figured out we reached out and asked him to play on the cut. ‘ This makes me wonder who says no to this woman. When I ask her she just laughs (!)
Julie tells me about the next song “Old Habit “I wrote the song for my Mom. She’s dated this guy since moving to Nashville, they go out on Saturday nights. One Saturday I asked if she was going on a date that night and she said “No, I think I’m going to tell hime I can’t.” She said “I never hear from him the rest of the week and I’n starting to feel like an old habit.” That was it. A song was born “Thanks mom!”
When I mention that music row and mainstream county radio will probably not be receptive to “Good Wine And Bad Decisions” more retie and soulful sound. As far as I could tell there was not one tail-gating song on the whole album! Collum says with a grin “There is a definite edge to the record. This is defiantly not a mainstream record. This is more Americana than it is Music Row. From a strategy point of view we are looking forward to kicking their ass by not playing by the rules.”
â€œThis album is important to me. Itâ€™s very personal and Iâ€™m very proud of it. I canâ€™t wait to take these songs on the road and share them with my fans.â€
Roberts was always too genuine to last on Music Row and I believe that “Good Wine and Bad Decisionsâ€ will be welcomed by her life-long fans, and find new fans of great, soulful roots music.
NASHVILLE 2.0 kicks off the â€œPBS Americana Music Weekend,â€ which pairs this documentary with an Americana music concert from PBSâ€™ iconic Austin City Limits (ACL) series. In a special episode, ACL travels to Nashville to capture performance highlights from the 2013 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards. ACL PRESENTS: AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2013 airs November 23rd on PBS in select markets (check local listings for broadcast dates and times)
The hour-long film was co-directed by Carol Stein and Susan Wittenberg (the duo behind 2011â€˜s Women Who Rock) and will feature a lineup of some of the best rising and veteran country, folk, rock and multi-genre artists prominent in building the Americana movement.
The special will incluse includes performances by, and interviews with, Alabama Shakes, The Avett Brothers, Billy Bragg, Laura Cantrell, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Crowell, Dawes, Jerry Douglas, John Fullbright, Shakey Graves, Emmylou Harris, The James Hunter Six, Jason Isbell , Amanda Shires, Jim Lauderdale, The Lone Bellow, The Mavericks, The Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller, Mumford & Sons, Shovels and Rope*, Richard Thompson, and Dwight Yoakam.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, and not all of these artists are from, or reside, in Nashville. Buy Music City has become the de-facto hub of the Americana Music industry.
The Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, was again a fit setting for the Americana Music Awards, kicking off a week-long Americana Music Conference. A ceremony that the evening’s MC, the incomparable Jim Lauderdale, set the tone by saying â€œThe past matters, traditions matter, even when we explore ways to have those traditions extended and expanded.â€
The night’s nominees and performers were on hand to offer proof and testimony of that reflective sentiment.
Charleston SC husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope took home two awards, Emerging Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. At the podium a notably choked-up Cary Ann Hearst said, “All we ever wanted to do was make music the rest of our lives and.â€¦propel ourselves into a normal existence.’
Hearst could have been speaking for all the nominees, presenters and many in attendance this night.
An unannounced Delbert McClinton lead things off with Hank Williamsâ€™ classic â€œHey, Good Lookin.â€™â€ His granddaughter Holly Williams , and daughter Jet Williams, accepted Presidentâ€™s Award for Hank Williams on the day after what would have been Hank’s 90th birthday. Holly said in acceptance , â€œHank would be Americana if he was alive today.â€ She then performed a lovely rendition of â€œIâ€™m So Lonesome I Could Cryâ€ on the same stage her grandfather stood brining Opry crowds to their feet many years ago.
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell won 2 awards for duo of the year and album of the year for their collaboration on Old Yellow Moon. The veteran performers used their time onstage to congratulate the other nominees, Harris’ ex-husband and longtime producer Brian Ahern, and reminisce about their 40-year friendship.
John Fullbright and Shovels & Rope reminded that there s new generation that is carryon on tradition and shaping it in unexpected and electrifying ways by bring the house down around the capacity.
Jim Lauderdale choked back emotion as he presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting to his mentor, collaborator and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Hunter then played his first public performance in almost a decade by doing the Dead’s classic â€œRipple.â€
Austin was represented in great form by nominees Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison performing â€œBorder Radio.â€ Richard Thompson folioed by performing â€œGood Things Happen To Bad People” from his Buddy Miller produced “Electric.”
The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance to Louisianaâ€™s JuJu master Dr. John. Auerbach recounted Dr. John’s extraordinary, and sometimes dangerous, career trajectory. “Songwriter, bandleader, hustler â€“ the guy who found work for his friends when they needed it â€“ A&R executive, keyboard player, a phenomenal guitarist”. Auerbach added that the John was: “A man whose music transcended race and cultural divides… A man who’s been in the right place at the wrong time and lived to write the songs.”
Auerbach then strapped on a guitar to accompany Dr John for ‘I Walk On Guilded Splinters’ from his 1968 debut album, ‘Gris-Gris’, accompanied by the house band of legendary session musicians, led by Buddy Miller and including Don Was, Larry Campbell, Marco Giovino, John Deaderick, Jim Hoke and the McCrary Sisters.
Emerging artists nominee John. JD McPherson followed this up with a spirited performance of his rockabilly hit â€œNorthside Gal.â€
The ABC Nashville television drama overlapped this night as Lennon and Maisy Stella covered The Lumineers â€œHo, Hey!â€ much like they did on an episode the show itself.
Guitar interpretive master Ry Cooder presented Jack Emerson with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive by recounting his many ventures south of the border to chase unique music. Following was Old Crow Medicine Show, who the devious night had been inducted in to the Grand Ole Opry fold. Naturally they played â€œWagon Wheel.” Actor Ed Helms presenting Old Crow with the Trailblazer Award in the form of a WW2 era Harmony guitar with the lyrics of â€œWagon Wheelâ€ written on it.
Nicki Bluhm and Sam Bush pleasantly surprised the crowd by announcing the 2013 Artist of the Year award for the Dwight Yoakam. In response to an audible disappointment from the audience that Yoakam was on tour and not in attendance.
Sam Bush accepted the award on Dwightâ€™s behalf and that he wore the â€œtightest pants I have.â€
This was followed by a performance from the golk-duo Milk Carton Kids then BBC Radioâ€™s Bob Harris presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist to Duane Eddy who then played his most famous instrumental, â€œRebel Rouser.â€
The Spirit of Americana Freedom of Speech award went to Stephen Stills, who played the Buffalo Springfield classic 60s anthem â€œFor What Itâ€™s Worthâ€ alongside fellow Buffalo Springfield member Richie Furay and guilt-slinger Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Dr. John led the final song, with many of the performers – Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Buddy, Jim, Old Crow’s Ketch Secor, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars’ Joy Williams, Shovels & Rope, Billy Bragg and Aiofe O’Donovan united to sing Rodney’s “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.”
Then it was out into the sultry Nashville night to attends various venue showcases where the future Americana Music Award winners would be perfecting their considerable craft for us fortunate enough to be here.
Album of the Year: â€œOld Yellow Moon,â€ Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Artist of the Year: Dwight Yoakam
Duo Group of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Song of the Year: â€œBirmingham,â€ Shovels & Rope
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shovels & Rope
Instrumentalist of the year: Larry Campbell
Trailblazer Award: Old Crow Medicine Show
Spirit of Americana / Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Stephen Stills
Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist: Duane Eddy
Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive: Chris Strachwitz
Lifetime Achievement for Performance: Dr. John
Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriter: Robert Hunter
Presidentâ€™s Award: Hank Williams
For those uninitiated, HSB is one of the premier Americana and roots music festivals in the world.
The annual event is held on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October on 5 stages stretching across a location in Golden Gate Park formerly named Speedway Meadows but renamed Hellman Hollow in 2012, to pay homage to the late HSB benefactor, private equity investor and banjo enthusiast, Warren Hellman.
The 13th version of the festival does not disappoint as there is few Americana and roots festivals with this number of quality acts. it also has the benefit of being free. Well, it’s benefit in one sense, but the swelling os not always pleasant crowds in recent years does take a toll.
The 41 confirmed acts offers exciting newcomers like Sturgill Simpson, Trampled By Turtles, Della Mae, First Aid Kit, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside and local favorites Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers and The Devil Makes. Americana and roots stalwarts like Buddy Miller, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock (aka The Flatlanders), Jon Langford, Patty Griffin, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott.
The folk-rock pioneers The Waterboys will be appearing as well as the legendary Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. The whole thing wraps up in traditional fashion with the woman that has closed the event since it’s beginning and embodies the spirit of the event, the extraordinary Emmylou Harris.
Find below the full line-up. The per-day stage schedules will be announced soon and I will update his post with the information.
When: Fri Oct 4th, Sat Oct 5th (11am – 7pm), and Sun Oct 6th, 2013 (11am – 7pm).
Where: Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley & Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.
Mark Lanegan, Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Conor Brings Friends For Friday Featuring: Whispertown, The Cave Singers, The Felice Brothers, The Evens, First Aid Kit, Conor Oberst, Pieta Brown, Joy Kills Sorrow, LP, The Handsome Family, Jesse Dee, Alison Brown, Gogol Bordello, Boz Scaggs, Paul Kelly, The Deep Dark Woods, Justin Townes Earle, Emmylou Harris, The Devil Makes Three, Calexico, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Martha Wainwright, The Brothers Comatose, Elvin Bishop, Jon Langford & Skull Orchard acoustic / FREAKONS, Low, Tumbleweed Wanderers, Richard Thompson, Tim O’Brien with Bryan Sutton & Mike Bub, Moonalice, Chris Isaak, Buddy Miller, The Time Jumpers featuring Brad Albin, Larry Franklin, Paul Franklin, Vince Gill, “Ranger Doug” Green, Andy Reiss, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey, Jeff Taylor & Billy Thomas, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch & Fats Kaplin, The Flatlanders featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, The String Cheese Incident, Nick Lowe, Mike Scott & Steve Wickham of The Waterboys, Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, Freakwater, The Go To Hell Man Clan, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Billy Bragg, Loudon Wainwright III, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Kate McGarrigle Tribute with Martha & Sloan Wainwright & Special Guests, Holler Down the Hollow: A Hardly Strictly Salute to the Masters, Sturgill Simpson, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band featuring Yungchen Lhamo, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Shovels & Rope, Seldom Scene, Natalie Maines, Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz, Evolfo Doofeht, Allah-Las, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, G. Love & Special Sauce, Robert Ellis, Spirit Family Reunion, Bettye LaVette, Supermule, MC Hammer (Friday morning middle school program), Trampled By Turtles, The Warren Hood Band, Della Mae, Los Lobos Disconnected, Father John Misty, Jesse DeNatale, The Wood Brothers, Ryan Bingham, Jerry Douglas, Sonny & The Sunsets, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Tift Merritt, Kat Edmonson, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, The Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal,
Manchester Orchestra, Poor Man’s Whiskey (Friday morning middle school program), Robert Earl Keen
I’m not sure if I was the first to coin the term but I’m pretty sure i was the first to tweet it – that’s so country it’s Americana.
By that I mean as Music City continues to do what it’s always done, chase trends to broaden consumer acceptance, fill radio slots and asses in arena seats, and make truckloads of money, who looks after the legacy of the music? The legacy of twang, soul and grit that Rodgers, the Carters and Hank Sr. left us? The focus on the song as deep, personal expressions and not just target-marketed laundry lists? Ladies and gents it’s Americana straight up.
sure music Row still determines the brand “Country Music” but they don’t won the legacy or spirit. Tom Petty hit the nail squarely in the noggin when he described contemporary country music as “Bad rock with a fiddle. Zing! While the rhinestone cowboys chase hits and eschew tradition (Blake!) the real soul of country music has found a new home in the Americana camp. Now by Americana I also include the underground, muddy roots acts as well, as I believe a lot of the passion and blue-collar core is often found on that side. Here are a few videos to make my case.
Legacy: in their golden years no one in Music Row bothered to return phone calls to Johnny Cash and Porter Wagoner who were still viable a, had songs, and wanted to work. It took hip-hop/rock producer Rick Rubin and musician/producer Marty Stuart to work with these legendary men, respectively, and understand their storied place in music history. Working with their own label (Rubin) and an L.A. rock label (Epitaph) allowed these legends to produce some of their best work at the end of their lives and leave this world with dignity and fans with a few more treasures. Hell, even country music legend Lee Ann Womack teamed up with Americana stalwart Buddy Miller to stretch her wings.
Johnny Cash – “Hurt” (Nine Inch Nails)
Porter Wagoner – “Committed to Parkview”
Leann Womack & Buddy Miller – “Don’t Tell Me”
Soul – At it’s core country music is soul music. It bleeds life in common stories plaintive and wondrous. Here are some performers that reflect that rough beauty.
Robert Ellis – “Cemetery”
Jason Eady – “AM Country Heaven”
Elizabeth Cook – “Mama’s Prayers”
Twang and Grit – Musicianship has always been the stock and trade of country music , but it used to be more than a backdrop for party anthems. Here are some that are tearing it up without dumbing it down.
Sturgill Simpson – “You Can Have The Crown / Some Days”
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s – Cocaine Train
Turnpike Troubadours – “Before The Devil Knows We’re Dead”
The nominees for the Americana Music Awards and Honors was announced today from the Grammy Museumâ€™s Clive Davis Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The one-hour ceremony was carried live on AXS TV and featured performances by Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller (with a tribute to the late George Jones) Lisa Marie Presley backed by T Bone Burnett, Elizabeth Cook, and Emerging Artist of the Year nominees The Milk Carton Kids.
The 2013 Americana Music Association Festival and Conference is scheduled for September 18-22, with the awards ceremony being held at the historic Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, Sep. 18. The event awards six member voted annual awards and with Lifetime Achievement Awards, to be announced as the event approaches. Jim Lauderdale is a natural as the proceedings host and Buddy Miller leads the always exemplary house band.
Can’t make to to the event? Understandable as it has sold out in recent years. But do not despair, the Americana Honors and Awards show will shown live on AXS TVa nd an edited version will show up on PBS at a later date. It will also be broadcast via SiriusXM Radio, BBC2, WSM and Voice of America.
South Carolina newcomers Shovels and Rope will lead the field with four nominations, followed by legendary Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller each with three nods. I’m happy to report that a few of my choices made it on the list this year(Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, YES!) and John Fullbright is up for Emerging Artist of the Year. Well if being nominated for the Americana Album of the year Grammy, as Fullbright was before losing to Bonnie Raitt, isn’t emerging the I don’t know what is. Dwight Yoakam’s dominance of the Americana charts earlier this year with his new release Three Pears (my review) also garnered him an Artist of the Year nod.
Here is the full list of the 2013 Americana Music Award nominees. Are your choices here?
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Buddy & Jim, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
Cheaters Game, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison
From The Ground Up, John Fullbright
O Be Joyful, Shovels and Rope
Old Yellow Moon, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Milk Carton Kids
Shovels and Rope
SONG OF THE YEAR
Birmingham – Shovels & Rope
Good Things Happen to Bad People – Richard Thompson
Ho Hey – The Lumineers
North Side Gal – JD McPherson
DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
Shovels & Rope
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
Elizabeth Cook and Lisa Marie Presley announce the nominees
Milk Carton Kids Live performing “Hope of a Lifetime”
If you’re a struggling musician I suggest you take a look at the career of Jim Lauderdale. Between early setbacks as a Bluegrass banjo player, and being marginalized in Music Row there were plenty of opportunities to chuck his guitar in the gutter and call it quits. But he persevered and used his songwriting as a musical dowsing rod to move him always forward toward unexpected and exciting places.
If the Americana genre didn’t already exist it would have to be created for Lauderdale. He’s worked in multiple genres (Bluegrass, country, rock, soul) with multiple artists (George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and more), but the music has always been grounded in honesty with a twist of risk. This will to be daring, attention to legacy, while pushing forward has allowed Lauderdale to become something you don’t see music in the music industry, unique.
He’s now a Grammy winning singer/songwriter, the subject of a crowd-sourced biopic (Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts)
He hosts, along with Buddy Miller, “The Buddy & Jim Show” Saturdays 10 pm ET on SiriusXM Outlaw Country. He also hosts the “Music City Roots: Live from the Loveless Cafe”, weekly Americana music show broadcast live on WSM from the Loveless Barn on Highway 100 in Nashville. He is also the MC for the Americana Music Awards and Honors show in Nashville where his catch-phrase “Now THAT’S Americana” is as much of a delight as the stellar performances on the storied Ryman Auditorium stage.
I talked to Lauderdale, through spotty reception, on the road to Nashville the day after his birthday performance at the Music City Roots spin-off, â€œScenic City Roots, in Chattanooga Tennessee
Twang Nation: Jim? How are you today?
Jim Lauderdale: Just fine. Driving on a beautiful, crisp spring day heading back to Nashville from Chattanooga Tennessee.
TN: Happy belated birthday, You share a birth with Bob Harris ( “‘Whispering Bob Harris” the legendary is the host of the BBC 2 music program The Old Grey Whistle Test, and a supporter of country and roots music)
JL: Really? It’s also George Shuffler’s birthday, who played guitar for the Stanley Brothers.
TN: Cool. So you’re taking some time off from your tour supporting the “Buddy and Jim” album. How’s that going?
JL: It’s been great! We too some time off because Buddy is producing the Wood Brothers and he also co-produces the music for the TV show Nashville with T Bone Burnett. He’s got a pretty full plate most of the time. Our next date is in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall. I love playing that space.
TN: I’ll be there. The first time I saw you and Buddy working with the new material it was at last year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. It was a morning slot but the place was still full.
JL: I love that festival. Warren Hellman has done so much for the community. He’ll be missed.
TN: True. So let’s visit your childhood in Troutman, North Carolina. Your father was a minister and your mother was a music teacher. How did this shape you musically?
JL: I believe it helped to train my ears. They were both great singers, so it was a combination of hearing a lot of church music. Hearing my mother, who was a choir director at the church, a chorus teacher, and a piano teacher, I was hearing stuff all the time. My older sister was the first to start buying records like the Beatles when I was in the first grade. At the time music was just exploding and so much was coming from the radio and in North Carolina radio then was a mixture of rock and roll, soul music like Stax and Motown, and then there were peripheral country stations where Bluegrass was being played. So there was just so much great music being played and available. I think Buddy and i share a lot of the same influences. that’s how all these influences made me want to sing. I started singing really early and then started playing drums for a few years when I was 11 and then, when I was 13, I started playing blues harmonica. When I was 15 I started playing the banjo and getting more into Bluegrass music. I always wanted to do a Bluegrass record but it took me a long time to get a deal to do one. When it happened I got to do it with Ralph Stanley and his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys (1999’s I Feel Like Singing Today)
TN: Not bad company to keep for your inaugural Bluegrass venture.
JL: That was kind of a dream because I grew up loving his work. I used to try and play banjo in his style and sing in a tenor like Ralph would. One of the best things to happen out of that was that I began writing with Robert Hunter (poet and lyricist for the Grateful Dead.) A friend of mine, Rob Bleetstein, put me in touch with him in the Bay Area. i knew that Robert and Jerry Garcia were huge Stanley Brothers’ fans, so that’s how I started writing with Robert and since then we’ve created 4 albums. The last two were Bluegrass of stuff we’ve done together. I have an upcoming album with the North Mississippi Allstars coming out in the fall and it has stuff that Robert and I wrote as well. So, even though it took me a long tie to get something out in that world, it was worth the wait because of all the good things that have happened.
TN: Making up for lost time.
JL: Right. And the same with Buddy. We had met back in New York in the early 80’s. We were both living there and both had country bands going and Buddy, to me, had the best band there. There was a nice country scene going on in New York at the time. There were about 5 bars in New York like the Lone Star Cafe that featured country music. So there was a lot of work. Eventually we both ended up on the west coast and started playing gigs together. Then Buddy came to Nashville first and ended up playing with Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris. His career really took off! So we’ve known each other for 33 years and have talked about doing a record for the past 17 years so this new album was also worth the wait. Our schedules just wouldn’t allow it. But last year we started this radio show last summer on SiriusXM Outlaw Country (The Buddy & Jim Show , Saturdays 10 pm ET) and that started moving things toward us sitting down and writing material. It happened pretty quickly, we spent a few days in pre-production and wrote some stuff but we cut the album in three days in his home studio. He produced the album and we’re really happy with it. I love playing with Buddy, he always makes me smile.
TN: There’s a song you wrote that was covered by George Strait called The King of Broken Hearst. It’s got a great story.
JL: I moved to L.A. partly to be in the same atmosphere that Gram Parsons had been in. There was this story that came from (former rock ‘n’ roll groupie and author) Pamela Des Barres, who was a friend of his, who said he had this L.A. party and was playing George Jones records. These people had never heard him (Jones) and he started crying. he said “That’s the king of broken hearts.” It was one of those times when an idea just comes to you. I play that song all the time and I love it.
TN: Gram is seen as the patron saint of the Americana genre and , I believe, you and Buddy have earned a place at that table. With your work with the Americana Music Awards and Music City Roots would you consider yourself an ambassador of Americana?
JL: Oh, I don’t know about that. But I’m certainly happy it’s out there. The guy I mentioned before, Rob Bleetstein, helped to coin there term (along with Jon Grimson of Nashville) for a trade publication that’s no longer around called Gavin Report. It was like Billboard and R&R (Radio & Records) magazine. They needed a chart for rootsy American music and Rob said “How about Americana?” So that put a name on it. But to me it’s just great that Americana allows a broad umbrella for roots music – Blues, Bluegrass, folk, rock, country – music that is not overproduced and it’s all connected, And it’s a place that, in his later years, someone like Johnny Cash can get played on the radio. And Merle Haggard, and folks like Guy Clark and Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and jimmie Dale Gilmore. Stuff that’s too rootsy for mainstream radio. it’s nice to have a place where people can be recognized.
TN: You’ve worked in the Music Row world and the Americana world and been successful in both. What do you think contributes to your success to work in both of those environments?
JL: Well I had plans but things would work out a different that what I thought. It was accidental in some ways. I wanted to make Blue grass records as a teenager, but it never worked out. Then in my early 30s I finally got a record contract in the country genre. But that record was too country at the time to be accepted in 1988. Dwight Yoakam’s producer and guitarist Pete Anderson did it with me (The unreleased CBS album that later appeared on an overseas label as Point of No Return.) My next album wasn’t as traditional but it was pretty far out there. It was co-produced by Rodney Crowell and John Leventhal (1991’s Planet of Love) Even though that album didn’t have a lot of commercial success, 8 of the 10 songs went on to be recorded by other people like George Strait. So that too me into that world of songwriting though my plan was to have a successful career with my own records. I kept putting out my own records and, when it wouldn’t work out, the only way to rise above of the disappointment was to write myself out of it. I still had a contract for a few more majors, but I started doing some independent labels and was more eclectic. Bluegrass with country mixed with R&B ad soul. The work I’m doing with the North Mississippi Allstars I did with Robert Hunter is more blues, rock and soul. I’m also trying to finish up a stripped down acoustic record that I’m writing with Robert. He’s really important in my like as far as music, so I want to keep that going.
TN: Speaking of Robert Hunter lest year you were in the Bay Area with the American Beauty Project. How did that come about?
JL: Those two albums (Grateful Dead’s) Working Man’s Dead and American Beauty opened up a door in my spirit when I heard them. All the things I’d done before – country, Bluegrass, rock – came together in those two records. To me they were like the Gram Parsons solo albums with Emmylou, those records are touchstones. The New York Guitar Festival which was put together by David Spellman, each year, would choose a different album and then singers and guitar players would play a song from that record. A few year’s ago they chose American Beauty and it went over really well. The singer Catherine Russell, Ollabelle, Larry Campbell and his wife Teresa Williams became the core of the American Beauty project which we took around the country. We still do it occasionally and will probably do some more shows in the future. It’s always a lot of fun.
TN: Tell me about your work with the roots-rock band Donna the Buffalo.
JL: I met them at the Newport Folk Festival while opening for Lucinda Williams on her “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” tour. I met this group of folks that were really friendly, but I had missed their show earlier in the day. We made this friendship and we then jammed together at Merlefest in North Carolina. They then invited me to play their festival that they put on in the summer and offered to back me up during my set. So over the years we’ve worked festivals and sat in with each other. I started to write songs for all of us to do and when i had an album’s worth we went into the studio and did it (2003’s Wait Til Spring) We still do stuff when we can. They’ve got a new album coming out in June which I’ve heard and it’s fantastic (tonight Tomorrow & Yesterday – June 18) They are one of my favorite bands as an audience member and I love to sit in with them. We have a few new songs we’ve written but i need some more material to do another record.
TN: Any other new artists that have caught your ear?
JL: There’s a lady that just moved to Nashville, Lera Lynn. There’s another band that just moved from L.A. to Nashville called HoneyHoney that I like a lot. There”s a songwriter named Ryan Tanner I think is really good. And there’s a guy in North Carolina named Daniel Justin Smith that I think is really good. There’s no shortage of new, young singer, songwriter and pickers that are acoustically influenced and have their own style of country and roots music. I’m really encouraged by that. When i host the Music City Roots showcase it gives me an opportunity to be exposed to new performers. There was a band on the other night out of Birmingham, Alabama called St Paul and the Broken Bones. They are a kind of soul review kind of band and they are just out of this world. There’s a woman called Sara Petite out of San Diego who I like a lot. I also love Shovels and Rope, Robert Ellis , Max Gomez and the Milk Carton Kids.
TN: Who would you like to write music with someone that you haven’t?
JL: Gosh, I wish I could work with Eric Clapton. I love his work. I would also like to work with Keith Richards. I got to sing harmony with him on the song Hickory Wind on a Gram Parsons tribute called “Return to Sin City.” Norah Jones was on that, I’d like to work with her. I did a song with John Leventhal called Planet of Love that was pitched to Ray Charles to do with Norah Jones, but that didn’t happen before he passed away. I always wanted to work with Doc Pomus before he passed. And I always wanted to do something with Jerry Garcia and I’m sorry that didn’t happen. I’m slowly getting to work with a lot of folks I hold in high esteem. I got to write with Dan Pen and we’ve been working on some things in England with him and Nick Lowe’s great band. I got to song with George Jones years ago and that was a treat. You just never know in this up and down world of music.
TN: You’ve moved deftly between genres in this time, is there a musical era you would like to travel to and perform?
JL: The 60’s and early 70’s for the soul, country and rock music that was coming out and then the late 50’s early 60’s for Bluegrass. And the 50’s for Blues music. Being able to work in those times at the peak of the music would have been great.
TN: You’re a great singer, songwriter but your also a consummate showman. You’re very personable and funny on stage. Many have also taken note of your rhinestone bedecked clothing when you perform. How many suits do you have and where do you get them?
JL: Oh, I think i have 20 or 25 suits with shirts. I have gotten a few vintage pieces here and there, but i get most of my things new and custom made from Manuel (Cuevas) who is a designer and tailor here in Nashville that used to work with Nudie (Cohn) out of L.A. when he was a teenager. He’s still here producing things for people like Jack White.
TN: Thanks for your time and keep your eyes on the road.