You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Americana Music Awards Nominations: Sturgill Simpson Leads, Drive-By Truckers Reunite With Jason Isbell

Americana is a friendly, fraternal enough genre that the competition for the annual Americana Honors & Awards isn’t exactly full of cutthroat rivalries. Underscoring all that folksy good will, the highlight of the annual nomination ceremony and webcast Tuesday afternoon in Nashville was a surprise reunion of the classic multi-frontman lineup of the Drive-By Truckers, with current singers Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley joined by ex-member Jason Isbell — something that Americana Association executive director Jed Hilly knew would “make that community go AWOL crazy.”

“Y’all should start a band together, I think,” quipped co-host Joey Ryan, of the Milk Carton Kids, after Isbell sang “Outfit,” a song he wrote and sang for the Drive-By Truckers back in 2003, joined by former partners Hood on harmonies and Cooley on lead acoustic guitar.

The Truckers picked up two Americana Awards nominations, for best duo/group and best album, the latter for their politically charged opus “American Band,” from which they performed two numbers at the ceremony. Isbell got just one nod, for artist of the year; as a current hero of the Americana genre, he lacked for more only because of being between album cycles.

Picking up a leading three nominations was Sturgill Simpson, whose “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” will contend for the Americana album of the year after winning best country album at the Grammys in February. Simpson is also up for artist of the year as well as best song. Joining the Drive-By Truckers in having two nominations each are Rodney Crowell (best album, best song) and Lori McKenna (artist of the year, best song).

“It’s getting younger,” said Hilly, alluding to past insinuations that the makeshift genre — an amalgam of American roots-based styles including folk, blues, acoustic rock, and alternative country — might have skewed toward too mature a demographic in the past. “But the coolest thing is that, even though I just said it’s getting younger, it’s not ageist. The age span of nominees is twentysomething to seventysomething. John Prine is up for artist of the year after already being a lifetime achievement honoree. To have him and Jason Isbell in the same category, or the Lumineers in the same category with (veterans) Billy Bragg and Marty Stuart, that’s pretty awesome.”

Isbell, who has a new solo album, “The Nashville Sound,” coming out in June, chose not to preview his own project on stage at Tuesday’s ceremony but instead additionally performed a song he co-wrote with his wife, Amanda Shires, who is up for emerging artist of the year (and who, in the smallish world of Americana, happens to be out on the road with Prine).

Also up for artist of the year is Margo Price, who made a big introductory splash last year but is between albums this time around. Prior to the most recent Grammys, the Recording Academy’s blue-ribbon committees put a lot of private debate into how to categorize her and Simpson. They ultimately decided to put Simpson in the country category and Price in Americana, somewhat counterintuitively, since her album skewed considerably closer to traditional country than Simpson’s. The Americana Awards, of course, are happy to claim them both.

The Americana Honors & Awards take place at the Ryman Auditorium September 13, kicking off a five-day Americana conference and music festival in sites around Nashville. A major honoree and performer that Hilly described as “one of the legendary artists in the annals of Americana and rock and roll” is set to be announced Friday.

The complete list of 2017 nominees:

Album of the Year
“American Band,” Drive-By Truckers
“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” Sturgill Simpson
“Close Ties,” Rodney Crowell
“Freedom Highway,” Rhiannon Giddens
“The Navigator,” Hurray for the Riff Raff

Artist of the Year
Jason Isbell
John Prine
Lori McKenna
Margo Price
Sturgill Simpson

Duo/Group of the Year
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
Drive-By Truckers
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
The Lumineers

Emerging Artist of the Year
Aaron Lee Tasjan
Amanda Shires
Brent Cobb
Sam Outlaw

Song of the Year
“All Around You,” Sturgill Simpson
“It Ain’t Over Yet,” Rodney Crowell (feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White)
“To Be Without You,” Ryan Adams
“Wreck You,” Lori McKenna

Instrumentalist of the Year
Spencer Cullum, Jr.
Jen Gunderman
Courtney Hartman
Charlie Sexton

More Music

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Beyond 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 2018 Was a Record Sync Year for Queen

    As “Bohemian Rhapsody” approaches a landmark $800 million at the global box office, another Queen milestone quietly took place in 2018. With appearances in nationwide campaigns for Amazon, Ram Trucks, Google, Peloton, Silk Almondmilk and many more, Queen’s music was licensed by more blue-chip brands than any other calendar year. And in the first few [...]

  • Erykah Badu Gets in Twitter Fight

    Erykah Badu Gets in Twitter Fight With ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Executive Producer

    Three days after making a widely criticized statement that she was “praying for” R. Kelly, Erykah Badu got into a Twitter spat with Dream Hampton, executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly,” the Lifetime docuseries that has rallied public outcry against the singer over longstanding sexual-misconduct accusations against him. It all began when a user named [...]

  • Kew Media Sells Beatles, Pendergrass, Hip-Hop

    NATPE: Kew Media Sells Beatles, Pendergrass, and Hip-Hop Shows into Latin America

    Kew Media Distribution has sold over 100 hours of programming to buyers in Latin America it announced at the ongoing NATPE programming market in Miami. Pay-TV platform operator DirecTV has bought a package from Kew that includes feature documentaries “Active Measures,” about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and “Divide and Conquer: The Story [...]

  • Jimi Hendrix sound check Monterey Pop

    Film Constellation Adds ‘Show Me the Picture’ to Berlin Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    London-based sales and financing house Film Constellation has added Alfred George Bailey’s feature documentary “Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” to its Berlin market slate, ahead of the film’s SXSW premiere. Submarine Entertainment is handling distribution in North America. The film charts the life of American photographer James Joseph Marshall, whose work [...]

  • Ariana GrandeBillboard's 13th Annual Women in

    Ariana Grande Announces Tracklist for 'Thank U, Next'

    Ariana Grande has provided material for a thousand memes with the release of the tracklist for her fifth studio album, “Thank U, Next.” According to an Instagram post, the tracklist for the upcoming album, to be released February 8, is as follows: Imagine Needy NASA Bloodline Fake Smile Bad Idea Make Up Ghostin In My [...]

  • DJ Snake Ozuna Selena Gomez Cardi

    Hitmaker of the Month: How Geffen's Neil Jacobson Took 'Taki Taki' to the Finish Line

    DJ Snake’s bilingual banger, “Taki, Taki,” is the latest reggaeton track to become a bona fide pop hit thanks to an alignment of stars (Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B) and the guidance of Geffen Records president Neil Jacobson. “There’s somewhat of an inexact science to making collaborative records like this,” says Jacobson, the veteran A&R [...]

  • Chris Brown rape allegation

    Chris Brown Released From Custody With No Charges Filed

    Chris Brown has been released from custody in Paris with no charges filed after being detained on rape accusations, a rep for the singer tells Variety, citing an Associated Press report. Brown and two other people, who were not identified but reports said were Brown’s bodyguard and a friend, were released at around 10 p.m. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content