Mark Zaleski / AP
Wednesday September 22, 2021 | 11:30 p.m.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile added another trophy to her shelf by winning the Artist of the Year award at the 2021 Americana Honors and Awards, while country singer Sturgill Simpson added won the album of the year award.
The annual awards show returned in person on Wednesday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.
âTo be Artist of the Year after a year like we’ve all had as a community, it carries weight and I know it’s deep,â Carlile said. “Because it was difficult to be an artist this year.”
Simpson won for âCuttin ‘Grass Vol. 1 – The Butcher Shoppe Sessions,â in which he recorded bluegrass versions of his songs. With Simpson not in attendance, Shooter Jennings accepted the award on his behalf.
Carlile made the most of her pandemic year, publishing a memoir and working on a follow-up to her 2018 record “By The Way, I Forgive You”. This is his second artist trophy of the year, after winning it in 2019.
The Washington-native musical multi-trait worked as a producer and screenwriter for Tanya Tucker’s Grammy-winning comeback record and as a member of The Highwomen. Carlile sat down at the piano to sing “Right On Time”, a song from her upcoming album “In These Silent Days”, and also performed with Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby with special guest Yola.
The late folk singer John Prine, whom Carlile called “America’s Godfather”, won Song of the Year for “I Remember Everything”. Prine died in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. The song also won two Grammy Awards earlier this year.
âWe are very grateful for this posthumous recognition, John’s last recorded song,â said Fiona Prine, his widow, who emphasized how much of a champion Prine was for women in the genre, often taking them on tour with him.
After the victory, Carlile, Amanda Shires and Margo Price performed Prine’s heartfelt ballad at the awards show that honored the origins of the genre, its present and future stars.
Austin, Texas-duo Black Pumas won the Duo / Group of the Year and Charley Crockett won the Emerging Artist of the Year.
Numerous performances during the show paid tribute to the deceased artists, including a Steve Earle tribute to his son Justin Townes Earle, Buddy Miller singing one of the songs by Tom T. Hall and Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell singing a classic of the Everly Brothers “Let It Be Me.” Other performers included the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Jason Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires, Amythyst Kiah and Valerie June.
Several artists have received Lifetime Achievement Awards, including blues singer Keb ‘Mo, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, pioneering country rock band The Mavericks, soul singer Carla Thomas and producer / engineer Trina Shoemaker.
Singer Allison Russell introduced Thomas, now 78, as “one of the fiercest and most indomitable voices in recorded music,” who was one of the original artists on the Memphis Stax Records label. . Often referred to as the Soul Queen of Memphis, Thomas performed one of her pop songs. hits, “BABY,” putting the crowd on their feet to a standing ovation. âI am so grateful,â she said. “Thank you, Americana”.
Singer Raul Malo joked that when Nashville producer Tony Brown traveled to Miami to check out the hot band, he lied when he told Brown they were playing country music, but they entered anyway. They performed “La Sitiera” from their album in Spanish supported by horns and a string section.
âI want to thank these guys for committing us to making this trip, this crazy trip,â Malo said of the group.