Historic: 14th Annual Americana Honors & Awards Handed Out In Nashville

The show took place from a sold-out Ryman Auditorium last night with Sturgill Simpson leading the winners with two trophies while the Mavericks and Lucinda Williams were also honored.

Hosted by Jim Lauderdale, the show kicked off the 16th Annual Americana Music Festival and Conference, presented by Nissan, and featured an all-star house band -- led by Buddy Miller -- including legendary musicians, Dominic Davis, Chad Cromwell, Fats Kaplin, Ian Fitchuk, the McCrary Sisters and Bill Payne, legendary founding member of Little Feat.

Performances by Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Buffy Sainte-Marie, Don Henley, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Ricky Skaggs and Los Lobos brought the sold-out crowd to its feet, and in true Americana style, the evening was loaded with musical moments, including ovation-worthy performances by Ry Cooder with Sharon White; Shakey Graves with Esme Patterson and Rhiannon Giddens, John Hiatt, Houndmouth, Jason Isbell, Nikki Lane, Jim Lauderdale, The Lone Bellow, Mavericks, Buddy Miller with Marc Ribot, Keb Mo, Robert Randolph with The Fairfield Four and McCrary Sisters, Doug Seegers, Lucinda Williams and Lee Ann Womack.

This year's presenters included Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids; Rosanne Cash; Marc Ribot; Americana Chart Founding Fathers Rob Bleetstein and John Grimson; Abigail Washburn and Noam Pikelny; Mary Gauthier and Mike Farris; Ry Cooder; Rodney Crowell; Sara and Sean Watkins; John Kay and Ken Paulson; and Robyn Hitchcock.

Americana Music Honors & Awards 2015 Winners:

  • Album of the Year: Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, Lucinda Williams, Produced by Lucinda Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz
  • Artist of the Year: Sturgill Simpson
  • Duo/Group of the Year: The Mavericks
  • Song of the Year: "Turtles All The Way Down" Written by Sturgill Simpson
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shakey Graves
  • Instrumentalist of the Year: John Leventhal
  • Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Don Henley
The Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Lifetime Achievement Award, Instrumentalist: Ricky Skaggs
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Los Lobos
  • President's Award: BB King

Americana's 14th Annual Honors & Awards, presented by Nissan, was broadcast live on SiriusXM's Outlaw Country; terrestrial radio partner, WSM; and streamed live through a partnership with NPR Music (Live Audio/Video) and Folk Alley (Audio only). PBS will broadcast an edited version of the show as an Austin City Limits special, "ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival" later this year, and Australia's County Music Channel (CMC) will also carry the show.

The Americana Honors & Awards executive producers are Jed Hilly, Martin Fischer (High Five Entertainment) and Terry Lickona (Austin City Limits). The show was produced by Michelle Aquilato and Edie Lynn Hoback.
The show kicked off the 16th Annual Americana Festival and Conference that runs through Sunday, Sept. 20 in Nashville. The conference, "the smaller, rootsier version of South by Southwest" according to the New York Times, will deliver a range of panels, networking and seminars, while the "finely-tuned festival" (Travel and Leisure) hosts a record 180 artist showcases across 15 Music City venues, including Loretta Lynne and Steve Earle at Ascend Amphitheater on Saturday, Sept., 19. A full list of venues and performers is available at americanamusic.org.