Brandi Carlile, Yola and Allison Russell lead the nominations for the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards with three nods each, the Americana Music Association announced during a live unveiling Monday afternoon at Nashville’s National Museum of African American Music.
Adia Victoria and the duo of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss also fared well in the voting, each drawing two nominations, in a small crop of categories where it’s generally not possible for any artist to get more than three noms in a single year.
The Americana Honors & Awards show takes place Sept. 14 at the Ryman Auditorium, and is the flagship event during the AmericanaFest conference, which will take place for a 22nd year at venues around Nashville on Sept. 13-17.
The fact that the announcement ceremony was being held at a museum honoring Black music, and that the entertainment at the event was being provided by Victoria, the duo the War & Treaty and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, was a pretty strong tip-off that the nominations would be marked by a good deal of racial and gender diversity, in contrast to the Americana genre’s one-time reputation as a bastion of white men. And the heavy representation for women and/or people of color really was reflective of which Americana artists were capturing attention in 2021-22.
In the key album of the year category, all five nominations went either to women or — in the case of Plant and Krauss — to an act where a woman is equally billed. And three of the five nods went to albums by Black women. Russell’s “Outside Child,” Victoria’s “A Southern Gothic” and Yola’s “Stand for Myself” will face off against “Raise the Roof” by Plant and Krauss and “In These Silent Days” by Carlile, who has come to be the primary public face of the genre in the last two to three years.
Women dominate the artist of the year category, with Carlile, Russell and Yola up against two of the genre’s top touring attractions, Jason Isbell and Billy Strings. Two of the nominees have won artist of the year before — Isbell in 2015 and Carlile in 2019 and 2021.
In the emerging artist of the year category, women account for four out of five nominations. That is where Victoria picks up her second nod, joining fellow nominees Sierra Ferrell, Neal Francis, Brittney Spencer and Morgan Wade. (It’s something of a surprise not to see Russell in this category as well, as “Outside Child” is her solo debut and she was almost indisputably the genre’s breakout this year, but the Americana Association may have taken into account her long history of work in duos and groups, or thought that her strong contention as an overall artist of the year superseded the necessity to put her up in a newcomer division.)
Women also account for three out of five nominations for song of the year, with Yola, Russell and Carlile again being represented there. And the duo/group of the year category also has female-fronted or co-fronted acts taking three nods, between Big Thief, the War & Treaty and Plant and Krauss.
Russell has had a very high-profile last few days. Prior to getting three nominations from the Americana Association, she won the Juno Award for best contemporary roots album in her native Canada on Saturday, then traveled to Nashville Sunday to duet with Emmylou Harris at the celebration of life for Naomi Judd.
A broadcast partner for this year’s Americana Honors is yet to be announced; in the past, the show has been simulcast or aired at a later date on SiriusXM, PBS, AXS, Circle Network, CMT and other platforms. Also yet to be announced is which legends will get the lifetime achievement awards that make up at least as big a part of the program as the six yearly competitive awards.
A full list of nominees:
Album of the Year
“In These Silent Days,” Brandi Carlile; Produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings
“Outside Child,” Allison Russell; Produced by Dan Knobler
“Raise the Roof,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss; Produced by T Bone Burnett
“A Southern Gothic,” Adia Victoria; Produced by Mason Hickman and Adia Victoria, Executive Produced by T Bone Burnett
“Stand for Myself,” Yola; Produced by Dan Auerbach
Artist of the Year
Emerging Act of the Year
Song of the Year
“Canola Fields,” James McMurtry; Written by James McMurtry
“Diamond Studded Shoes,” Yola; Written by Dan Auerbach, Natalie Hemby, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Yola
“Juanita,” Sturgill Simpson feat. Willie Nelson; Written by Sturgill Simpson
“Persephone,” Allison Russell; Written by Jeremy Lindsay and Allison Russell
“Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile; Written by Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth
Duo/Group of the Year
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
The War and Treaty
Instrumentalist of the Year