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Roots Radio News

Americana Nominations For Isbell, Kiah and Newcomers As Show Returns To The Ryman

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Erika Goldring
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Valerie June performs at the Americana Awards nominations ceremony at the National Museum of African American Music on Wednesday. June received two nominations.

The 20th annual Americana Honors & Awards will make a cathartic, emotional return to the Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 22, following a pandemic year when winners of the 19th set of prizes enjoyed no ceremony at all. This Fall’s contenders include some of the format’s superstars and supergroups, plus some exciting newcomers, with Jason Isbell an Amythyst Kiah leading the field of nominees.

Isbell, arguably the most renowned roots songwriter of his generation, was nominated for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year - for 2020’s Reunions - and Song of the Year for “Dreamsicle” off that project. Kiah, who’s about to release her debut album on Rounder Records, is up for Song of the Year for her anthemic “Black Myself” and for Emerging Artist of the Year, while her collaborative project Our Native Daughters is up for Duo/Group of the Year. Another all-woman all-star band, The Highwomen, returned to the nominations for Duo/Group after winning three Americana Awards in 2020. 

Also from Our Native Daughters is Allison Russell, who performed at the Americana nominations ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the National Museum of African American Music. Russell, who just released the highly praised breakthrough album Outside Child, was also nominated for Emerging Artist. Rounding out that category is another black woman, Joy Oladokun, along with country/blues throwback songwriter Charley Crockett and Waxahatchee, the modernist project of songwriter Katie Crutchfield. 

Besides Isbell, the album category includes the bluegrass project by Sturgill Simpson called Cuttin’ Grass - Vol. 1, The Butcher Shoppe Sessions, along with albums by Sarah Jarosz (World On The Ground), Steve Earle & The Dukes (J.T.), and Valerie June (The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers). June also received a nomination for Song of the Year for “Call Me A Fool,” which she performed at Wednesday’s ceremony. 

“This genre has deep roots in our nation’s earliest musical traditions, African American folk spirituals, blues and gospel music,” said Nashville Major John Cooper. “And isn’t it wonderful when we consider these roots to launch the countdown to the September awards with today’s ceremony at the National Museum of African American Music.” The socially distanced, livestreamed event was hosted by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show and Keb’ Mo’.

A full list of the nominees follows. 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Cuttin' Grass - Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions), Sturgill Simpson, Produced by David Ferguson & Sturgill Simpson

J.T., Steve Earle & The Dukes, Produced by Steve Earle

The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers, Valerie June, Produced by Valerie June, Ben Rice & Jack Splash

Reunions, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Produced by Dave Cobb

World On The Ground, Sarah Jarosz, Produced by John Leventhal

ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

Brandi Carlile

Kathleen Edwards

Jason Isbell

Margo Price

Billy Strings

DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR:

Black Pumas

The Highwomen

Our Native Daughters

The War and Treaty

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

EMERGING ACT OF THE YEAR:

Charley Crockett

Amythyst Kiah

Joy Oladokun

Allison Russell

Waxahatchee

INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR:

Megan Coleman

Robbie Crowell

Ray Jacildo

Philip Towns

Kristin Weber

SONG OF THE YEAR:

"Black Myself," Amythyst Kiah, Written by Amythyst Kiah

"Call Me A Fool," Valerie June ft. Carla Thomas, Written by Valerie June

"Dreamsicle," Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Written by Jason Isbell

"I Remember Everything," John Prine, Written by Pat McLaughlin & John Prine

"Long Violent History," Tyler Childers, Written by Tyler Childers