Countdown to the Americana Music Association Awards

This year, the Americana Music Association could simply give every nominee an award. We imagine that would be easier than debating the merits of each of the albums, artists and songs on their list.

And we’re not about to try and guess the winners — we’ll stay in suspense until the ceremony, September 9 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

How do you pick an artist of the year when the choices are Ryan Bingham (fresh from the Crazy Heart buzz), Patty Griffin (and her unexpected turn towards gospel on Downtown Church), Levon Helm (who won the first ever Americana Grammy for Electric Dirt), Steve Earle (and his appropriately named tribute album, Townes) and Ray Wylie Hubbard (who released his acclaimed A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) earlier this year).

Add to that the conundrum of choosing between Rosanne Cash’s The List, Dave Rawlings Machine’s A Friend of A Friend and the aforementioned Patty Griffin and Ray Wylie Hubbard albums for album of the year. Or Band of Heathens, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dave Rawlings Machine and The Avett Brothers for duo/group of the year. Impossible.

Other honors will go to rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson, John Mellencamp, Luke Lewis (Chairman of Universal Music Group Nashville), multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz and producer Brian Ahern. As usual, the awards show will be hosted by Jim Lauderdale and features Buddy Miller leading the house band.

To attend the Americana Music Association Awards visit

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