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It was a big night for duos at the 12th annual Americana Honors & Awards show, held last night (Sept. 18) at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Old friends Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell took home multiple honors, as did relatively new faces Shovels & Rope.
Emmylou and Rodney, friends who have been musically linked for 40 years, took home the awards for Duo of the Year, as well as Album of the Year for their 2013 release, Old Yellow Moon. "We feel like we were Americana before it had a name," quipped Emmylou in the acceptance speech for Duo of the Year.
Charleston, S.C.-based duo Shovels & Rope, comprised of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, was also a favorite, winning New/Emerging Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for "Birmingham." "The mind that we share has just exploded," said a genuinely surprised and grateful Cary Ann.
Artist of the Year went to Dwight Yoakam, who was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.
The annual event, hosted as always by the venerable Jim Lauderdale, kicked off the weeklong Americana Festival and Conference, which runs through Sunday (Sept. 22) with educational panels and night after night of music.
Special honors were presented to musical greats such as Dr. John, Hank Williams (with granddaughter Holly accepting), Duane Eddy, Stephen Stills and others. Newly inducted Grand Ole Opry members Old Crow Medicine Show were presented with the Trailblazer Award and played their signature tune, "Wagon Wheel," with gusto. Of their honor, OCMS singer Ketch Secor noted that instead of blazing trails, "we just went wandering up some old ones." A full awards list appears below.
It was also a night of incredible performances. For fans of the rootsy, twangy, rockin', groovin' stuff, there was no better place to be.
Standout performances included a Hank Williams salute from Delbert McClinton on "Hey Good Lookin'" with the all-star house band led by Buddy Miller and featuring Don Was and Larry Campbell; a hypnotic romp through "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" by Dr. John with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and the McCrary Sisters; Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills and Richey Furay with Kenny Wayne Shepherd on "For What It's Worth"; and Duane Eddy's timeless "Rebel Rouser."
As is the custom, an ensemble cast of Emmylou, Rodney, Buddy, Jim, Dr. John, Old Crow's Ketch Secor, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars' Joy Williams, Shovels & Rope, Billy Bragg and Aiofe O'Donovan united to sing Rodney's "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight," which both Emmylou and The Oak Ridge Boys have recorded.
Following the show, conference attendees and fans had a wide variety of late-night showcases to check out. At Nashville's Cannery Ballroom and Mercy Lounge, roots band The Lone Bellow packed the place to capacity, while Black Prairie (featuring members of indie band The Decemberists) played mellow tunes with a traditional flavor. JD McPherson was alternately rocking and jazzy, with rockabilly swagger and punk attitude. To close out the evening, Ed Helms and his band The Bluegrass Situation hosted an all-star bluegrass jam featuring guests Jerry Douglas, Aiofe O'Donovan, David Bromberg, The Milk Carton Kids, The Infamous Stringdusters and others.
Album of the Year: Old Yellow Moon, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Artist of the Year: Dwight Yoakam
Duo Group of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Song of the Year: "Birmingham," Shovels & Rope
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shovels & Rope
Instrumentalist of the year: Larry Campbell
Trailblazer Award: Old Crow Medicine Show
Spirit of Americana / Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Stephen Stills
Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist: Duane Eddy
Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive: Chris Strachwitz
Lifetime Achievement for Performance: Dr. John
Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriter: Robert Hunter
President's Award: Hank Williams