Isbell, Prine and lang feel the rootsy love at Americana Music Honors and Awards

Jason Isbell scored big at Wednesday’s Americana Music Honors and Awards in Nashville.
(Erika Goldring / Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell and his band, the 400 Unit, scored a triple win Wednesday at the 17th Americana Music Honors and Awards at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

They took home honors for album, song and duo/group stemming from their critically acclaimed record, “The Nashville Sound.” Isbell’s ode to the prospect of two people growing old together, “If We Were Vampires,” won for song of the year.

Veteran singer-songwriter John Prine, one of Isbell’s musical role models, was named artist of the year in recognition of a productive year for the Chicago-bred musician. Prine released “The Tree of Forgiveness,” his first album of new songs in more than a decade, and toured to enthusiastic reviews internationally at age 71.

Kentuckian newcomer Tyler Childers was recognized as the emerging artist of the year, and bluegrass guitarist Molly Tuttle scored one of the night’s other top awards: instrumentalist of the year.


k.d. lang, who won the Americana Trailblazer Award, performed at Wednesday’s ceremony.
(Jason Davis / Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

“I am continually humbled to experience the caliber of talent that gathers under one roof for one incredibly special night of the year,” Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Assn., said in a statement.

The event, hosted by L.A.-based neo-folk duo the Milk Carton Kids, included performances by a host of Americana artists such as k.d. lang, Buddy Guy, Brandi Carlile, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Anderson East and I’m With Her, the trio of Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins.

Rosanne Cash was presented with the Americana Music Assn.’s “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award. And in a nod to her long career exploring the various shades of roots music, lang won the Americana Trailblazer Award.


Blues veteran Buddy Guy, New Orleans singer Irma Thomas and Olivia Records executives Cris Williamson and Judy Dlugacz were also given lifetime achievement awards.

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