2014 Americana Music Awards Nominees Announced

May 12, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  23 Comments

americana-music-associationOn Monday April 12th, The Americana Music Association announced the nominees for their 2014 Americana Music Awards to be held September 17th at the Ryman Auditorium as part of their annual Americana Music Conference. The ceremony was emceed by performer and Sirius XM DJ Elizabeth Cook, and was simulcast on Sirius XM and streamed on Music City Roots.

The announcement ceremony started off with Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller playing a song off of Lauderdale’s upcoming album. Then 2014 Americana Emerging Artist nominees Valerie June, Parker Milsap, and Hurray For The Riff Raff all performed two songs each before the names of the nominees were rattled off. Executive director Jed Hilly also spoke, telling the small crowd assembled how Americana membership has doubled in the last 18 months, and the announcement ceremony was closed out with Elizabeth Cook performing with Buddy Miller.

This years crop of nominees sees a lot of new faces and younger names compared to the usual crop of nominees from the not-for-profit organization.


Artist of the Year

  • Rosanne Cash
  • Rodney Crowell
  • Robert Ellis
  • Jason Isbell


Album of the Year

  • Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones
  • Robert Ellis – Lights From The Chemical Plant
  • Jason Isbell – Southeastern
  • Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread


Song of the Year

  • Jason Isbell – “Cover Me Up”
  • Rosanne Cash – “A Feather’s Not A Bird
  • Robert Ellis – “Only Lies”
  • Patty Griffin  - “Ohio”


Duo/Group of the Year

  • The Avett Brothers
  • Devil Makes Three
  • Milk Carton Kids
  • Lake Street Dive
  • Hard Working Americans


Emerging Artist of the Year

  • Hurry For The Riff Raff
  • Parker Milsap
  • St Paul & The Broken Bones
  • Sturgill Simpson
  • Valerie June


Instrumentalist of the Year

  • Larry Campbell
  • Brian Sutton
  • Buddy Miller
  • Fats Kaplin


23 Comments to “2014 Americana Music Awards Nominees Announced”

  • I have to say, I’ve been critical of the Americana Music Association over the years from being reluctant to instill new blood into their awards, going with the usual suspects year after year and not growing with the emergence of the term. But this year is a definite sea change where they have really focused just as much on the future, as they have with the past of Americana, and it is very refreshing and encouraging to see, including having three of their emerging artists play the announcement presentation.

    Of course with any awards there’s going to be second guesses, but I really feel this is a step in the right direction.

  • Fuck. I am so glad I’m not a voter. Between Rosanne Cash and Jason Isbell, I’m completely at a loss for who deserves the various awards more. Both albums were beyond incredible. I loved Patty Griffin’s “Ohio,” too. Will be interesting to see who they go with.

    After the giant Grammy screw-up this year, I’m just glad to see Jason Isbell recognized for something. His album is too good to be ignored outside of the NY Times and NPR.

    Was Rodney’s Tarpaper Sky snubbed or released outside the eligibility period? His new album belongs in the hallowed company of Cash and Isbell. Just as solid an album.

    • Probably came out too late. But yeah, I don’t know if ‘Tarpaper Sky’ will end up being my favorite album of this year, but it’s certainly the most addictive I’ve come across so far (especially the tracks “The Long Journey Home,” “Fever on the Bayou,” “Frankie Please” and “The Flyboy & the Kid”).

      Among the other nominees, besides Isbell (whose Lincoln Center special I recently saw on PBS), I’m also glad to see Valerie June, HFTRR and LSD get some recognition.

  • Glad to see Parker Milsap on there. Also saw a few names I’ve never heard of that i need to check out.

  • Nice, Sturgill Simpson is up for an award. Way to go, Americana folks. I wonder if he will get to perform at the awards show. The continuing trend of Sturgill garnering publicity and acclaim from every press outlet and potential market imaginable continues. If the last few months are any indication, this guy is taking over the freakin’ world.

    Of course, I knew Isbell would receive multiple nominations as he has become the new superstar of Americana (if such as thing exists,) but he really deserves the acclaim, especially after being so badly snubbed by the stupid Grammy Awards. I predict ‘Southeastern’ will win top album. Also, I wonder why “Elephant” wasn’t the choice for best song nomination.

    • It is unbelievable how much press and critical attention Sturgill is getting. It seems like every day he posts a new article on his Facebook page about talking to Grantland or the Washington Post or some other notable news outlet. It’s fantastic. If he keeps this up the next step is to get the radio stations to play his music :)

      • Josh,

        Yeah man, you said it. A different publication every day is talking about this guy. When you can play a live showcase on WSM, appear on Prarie Home Companion, and be the only country artist ever covered by The Fader at the same time you are doing something right!

    • I guess if I was Sturgill, I’d be pissed that I was being called Americana. Sturgill is a Country singer. Americana is NOT Country.

      • True but genre labels can get fuzzy… I’m still unsure what Americana is? I mean a lot of this sound like bluegrass and even more sounds country. Isn’t Rosanne Cash country?

        But who cares when it comes to awards I feel like Linda Ronstadt throw in the back seat of your rental car and forget it, leaving for the rental guy to find.

        Of course the press is always good.

        All I know is people on the list trump just about everyone on the CMA’s or Grammy’s in the past 5 or 6 years to my ears.

      • I would say Americana is an amalgamation of roots music styles.

        “Americana” does not equal country, but country is one of the traditional genres it is based on. Practically speaking, “Americana” serves as a venue for roots-based artists who aren’t supported by the infrastructure of the mainstream music industry. (At least in theory.) A guy like Sturgill is not going to find the robust support he deserves from the “country” music industry, so he has to go elsewhere.

  • Pretty good list. I don’t know why the Hard Working Americans warrant any attention with a vanity project CD of cover songs, but Todd Snider has apparently been anointed by the Nashville cool kids so it’s not unexpected. Everyone else is very deserving, go Sturgill!

    • I agree that was sort of a strange inclusion, but a Guy Clark Tribute album (granted, a good one) won a while back, so they’ve done this kind of thing before.

      • Also… Rosanne with a covers record a few years back.

      • I didn’t get the Guy Clark CD either except that it was produced by an Americana Association board member. They have a fair amount of nepotism plaguing the current administration.

  • Excellent nominations based on what I’ve heard–– There’s a few artists I’ve heard of but haven’t had to the chance to listen to yet. I would love to see Isbell win all his categories, but he’s got some stiff competition. Also, I would have liked to see a nom for John Moreland.

  • I’ve been a Jason Isbell fan since his DBT days, and it makes me so happy to see him enjoying so much success. I don’t know how he can top Southeastern, but I can’t wait to see.

  • I believe Southeastern is so strong that I think Jason Isbell deserves to win all three top awards. That probably won’t happen, though. Hope he wins at least two, with album of the year being one of them.

    One disappointment for me is that Patty Griffin’s American Kid album did not get nominated. I think it’s another in a long line of great albums from her. Oh, well.

    Good to see Sturgill, Valerie June, and Parker Millsap nominated for Emerging Artist. I think Parker Millsap’s album is excellent and Truck Stop Gospel is one of my favorite songs so far this year.

    • Parker Milsap played “Truck Stop Gospel” during the presentation, and it reminded me I’ve been wanting to write a review for it.

      • I agree with Jack, the Parker Milsap CD is excellent. I’d like to read your take on it. I think my personal tastes are a bit different as my fav trax are “Disappear” and “When I Leave”, but the entire CD is strong from the first song to the last.

        I’m a bit surprised to see Bryan Sutton on this list. He is one of if not the best flat-pickers in the world, but I don’t know why he would be nominated in the Americana category. Last year, he was part of “Sutton, Holt & Coleman” and that CD was amazingly good. If anyone wants to know exactly how good an acoustic CD can sound when three of the genre’s best musicians get together, check it out. It should have been at or near the top of every bluegrass list, except it had little if any promotion. His new Sugar Hill recording “Into My Own” is also good, and his playing is strong enough that it will probably win him another IBMA award, but it is not his strongest work, and may even be the weakest he has released under his own name.

        Seeing Fats Kaplan up there made me smile. That guy is a workhorse, not as technically skilled as Bryan Sutton or Rob Ickes, but people should be giving him far more credit than they do. His work with Kane, Welch & Kaplan in 2004-2006 was both amazingly good and entirely unnoticed.

  • Glad to see Devil Makes Three on any list quite frankly. Just might be the first inroad of acceptance for outsider artists. Really too bad there has to be a winner though. So much great music and so many great musicians.

    • Probably doesn’t hurt that Buddy Miller was their producer. Along with Jim Lauderdale, they are the two biggest personalities in the Americana inner circle. I still think a big opportunity was missed with their last album because of the really mediocre sound quality, even though I love the album and listen to it regularly.

  • This is why I come here. I just previewed Southeastern on iTunes and bought it immediately.
    Thank you!

  • Owning Jason Isbell as Americana, it would be hard to not give Artist of the Year to a performer who sells out four nights at the Mother Church within a calendar year.

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