The annual Americana Music Association awards at the historic and hallowed stage of Ryman Auditorium opened with an ensemble cast singing “Tumblin’ Dice” before John Mellencamp (lifetime achievement honoree for songwriting) took the stage… and the line-up just kept getting better beginning with host Jim Lauderdale and house band led by instrumentalist of the year, Buddy Miller.
While Ryan Bingham taking both Song of the Year (for “The Weary Kind” off the Crazy Heart Soundtrack) and Artist of the Year, Hayes Carll (finally) won the “New and Emerging Artist of the Year” award. All of the other “new and emerging” artists performed, including Joe Pug, Corb Lund and Sarah Jarosz with “Song Up In Her Head.”
Rhiannon Giddens and the rest of the Carolina Chocolate Drops wowed the crowd with an electrifying rendition of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style.”
Rosanne Cash performed an amazing rendition of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe,” an took home Album of the Year for The List.
Duo/Group of the Year went to The Avett Brothers. Before performing “I and Love and You” they were award presenters with Grace Potter, who playfully pulled the red envelope from her dress to read the name.
Other lifetime achievement awards went to Wanda Jackson (presented by Jack White), executive and creator of Lost Highway Records Luke Lewis (presented by Lucinda Williams), instrumentalist Greg Leisz (presented by Sam Bush) and producer Brian Ahren (presented by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell.)
The entire evening was capped by a wonderful half-hour long performance by special guest Robert Plant and the Band of Joy including Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller.
Photos by Nichole Wagner