Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And the Nominees Are ...

It's the first week of September, which means several things. Summer has come to pass, the kids are back in school and it's Americana Music Week in Nashville. There are two events on the calendar that are not to be missed in the circles of music lovers. The first comes in March, with South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The second is AMA Week in September. This is the week where the Americana Music Association and its members pay homage to the artists whose body of work over the past year deserves recognition, as well as honoring the great veteran artists who have blazed the trail for the great artists of today.

The cornerstone event for the week is the annual Americana Music Association (AMA) Awards, to be held on Thursday September 9, 2010. Taking place at the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, the 9th edition of these awards features performances some fantastic and well known artists. Kicking off this years show, is a performance by none other than John Mellancamp, as he showcases his brand new sound.

Of course, this has been a banner year for the Americana scene. Similar to the days when the film O Brother Where Art Thou was in theaters which helped the world discover bluegrass and Americana on a huge scale, the motion picture industry brings the masses back to the scene. The soundtrack to the movie Crazy Heart featured vocals from Jeff Bridges and made Ryan Bingham a household name. The album, movie and all earned well deserved Oscars for their performances. Now it's time for the AMA to do the same. Ryan Bingham, the albums' chief songwriter (along with ace producer T Bone Burnett), is nominated in the Song of the Year category for "The Weary Kind", from the Crazy Heart Soundtrack. Ryan is also nominated in the prestigious Artist of the Year category. It's hard not to imagine Mr. Bingham walking away with both of these awards. He has had an amazing year, but there are some other strong contenders.

Also nominated in the Song of the Year category are: "Drunken Poets Dream", written by Hayes Carll and Ray Wylie Hubbard, performed by Ray Wylie Hubbard; "Ruby", written by Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, performed by the Dave Rawlings Machine; "I and Love and You", written and performed by the Avett Brothers.

In addition to Ryan Bingham, Artist of the Year nominees are: Patty Griffin, Levon Helm, Steve Earle and Ray Wylie Hubbard.

Round out the awards show are the following categories:

Album of the Year: The List, Roseanne Cash; A Friend of a Friend, Dave Rawlings Machine; Downtown Church, Patty Griffin; A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C), Ray Wylie Hubbard

Duo/Group of the Year: The Avett Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Band of Heathens, Dave Rawlings Machine

Instrumentalist of the Year: Buddy Miller, Dave Rawlings, Will Kimbrough, Sam Bush

New and Emerging Artist: Sarah Jarosz, Ryan Bingham, Hayes Carll, Corb Lund, Joe Pug

So, there you have the nominees for Thursday nights awards show. I am a proud member of the Americana Music Association but regrettably, I am not able to attend the awards show or the festivities in Nashville this week. While I may not be there, I am thinking about this great showcase and how very deserving this community is, in having their hard work and creativity recognized. Tomorrow's entry will have my predictions as to the winners of the awards. Predictions are always up for debate, so please send back your comments if you agree or disagree ... after all, they're just one man's opinion.

If you are in Nashville this week and reading this, thanks for taking the time to check us out and we'd love to hear from you too. Let us know how the week is going, and who your favorites are.

For a complete lineup of the festivities at this years Americana Music Festival and Conference, please click on the link below to the Americana Music Association.

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