The Americana Honors and Awards were handed out in Nashville September 13 with folk singer/songwriter John Prine taking the top Artist of the Year trophy. Sturgill Simpson won Album of the Year for “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” which was named Best Country Album at the Grammy Awards earlier this year.
Amanda Shires was named Emerging Artist of the Year, and delivered her ballad “Harmless” during the show. She later turned in a memorable performance with her husband, Jason Isbell, on “If We Were Vampires.” That song is included on Jason’s current album, “The Nashville Sound,” which is up for Album of the Year at the CMA Awards in November.
Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives were named Group of the Year. Rodney Crowell won Song of the Year for writing “It Ain’t Over Yet.” He recorded the song with his former wife Rosanne Cash and John Paul White.
Van Morrison won the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting. Graham Nash was on hand to accept the show’s Free Speech in Music Award and perform a cover of the Everly Brothers’ “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)” with the Milk Carton Kids.
The show ended with an all-star singalong of “Tulsa Time” in tribute to Don Williams, who passed away on September 8. Don’s fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member and sometime duet partner Emmylou Harris led the performance.
Performances from this year’s Americana Honors and Awards will be aired on a special edition of “Austin City Limits” this November on PBS.