Brandi, Allison and Yola Dominate Americana Nominations
Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell and Yola have emerged as game-changing artists in roots music in recent years, and on Monday afternoon they were informed that they’d each earned three nominations for 2022’s Americana Awards, in the prestige categories of Song, Album and Artist of the Year. While very different as songwriters and singers, this trio of women has bolstered representation for queer, African American and foreign born artists in the field, and all have moved global audiences with their candor and their powerful voices.
Carlile, the reigning Americana Artist of the Year, was nominated for her album In These Silent Days, produced with Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, as well as its song “Right On Time,” a rumination on unresolved conflict that alludes to the “silent days” of the pandemic. The song was triple nominated at the recent Grammy Awards.
Allison Russell’s Outside Child was flagged as a great album upon release in May of 2021 by numerous critics, including Variety’s Chris Willman who wrote that “musical memoirs don’t come braver, or better.” The song cycle recounts years of abuse at the hands of her stepfather and her escape and journey of recovery, including her nominated song “Persephone,” in which she seeks comfort in the arms of a female lover in her teens. Russell also had a major moment in 2021 hosting and curating a rave up set at the Newport Folk Festival featuring Chaka Kahn and a cast of Black women who’ve infused roots music with new voices and historic connections in recent years, including Victoria and Yola.
For her part, Yola, nominated for her album Stand For Myself and its song “Diamond Studded Shoes,” took a flashier pop turn with her Dan Auerbach-produced project. It was less than five years ago that she came to Americanafest as a new artist from Bristol, England, radiating life force and a massive, lustrous voice. “Well f*ck me sideways,” the always colorful Yola said via Instagram in reaction to her three nominations. “I and everyone at team Yola have our fingers crossed that I can finally snag one of these babies. Wish me luck! Congratulations to all my fellow nominees!”
Also in the running for Album of the Year is the star duo of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for Raise The Roof, produced by T Bone Burnett, the follow-up to their 2007 Raising Sand, which took home numerous awards at the Grammys and Americana. Rounding out the five projects is A Southern Gothic by South Carolina native, Nashville-based Adia Victoria. The acclaimed neo-blues album was produced by Mason Hickman and Victoria and executive Produced by Burnett.
In the Artist of the Year category, two gentlemen made the slate - 2014 winner Jason Isbell and newcomer Billy Strings, who’s had an epic year on the road after a rapid rise through the ranks of bluegrass and jamgrass.
Victoria was one of five nominees for Emerging Act of the Year, along with old-time country crooner and songwriter Sierra Ferrell, piano rocker Neal Francis, country soul stunner and Nashville Scene Year In Music cover girl Brittney Spencer, and Virginia country rocker Morgan Wade, who’s made headway in radio country as well as on the Americana airwaves.
Tanya and Michael Trotter, the duo The War and Treaty, announced the nominations at the National Museum of African American Music, including their own nomination for Duo/Group of the Year. They also performed, as well as Adia Victoria and a soloist from the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
The awards will be presented on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 at the Ryman Auditorium. It’s a central event of AmericanaFest, whose 22nd iteration will take place between Sept. 13-17. A full list of nominees follows.
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:
DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR:
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
The War and Treaty
EMERGING ACT OF THE YEAR:
INSTRUMENTALIST 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