Welcome to Saving Country Music’s LIVE blog of the inaugural Ameripolitan Awards transpiring at the Wyndham Garden Hotel and Woodward Conference Center in Austin, TX! The event is completely sold out (in fact, oversold I’m being told), and there will be no live stream or audio broadcast of the event. So I’ll be feverishly working to bring you photos and keep you up-to-date on winners, and do my best to put you in the spirit of the moment with the idea that music is best when it’s shared.
Please feel free to follow along and keep your refresh button handy. I’ll be flying by the seat of my pants, so be patient if updates take some time to populate, and feel free to pipe up below in the comments section with your own thoughts or observances.
Announcer: Dallas Wayne
Presenters and Performers Include: James Hand, Dawn Sears, Whitey Morgan, Rosie Flores, Ray Benson, James Intveld, Wayne Hancock, Elizabeth Cook, Johnny Bush, W.S. Holland, Heybale, Roger Alan Wade, and Johnny Knoxville.
- Western Swing Female – Dawn Sears
- Western Swing Group – Asleep At The Wheel
- Western Swing Male – Ray Benson
- Honky Tonk Group – Heybale
- Honky Tonk Male – Wayne Hancock
- Honky Tonk Female – Rosie Flores
- Ralph Mooney Musician’s Award – Earl Poole Ball
- Venue Award – The Broken Spoke
- Festival Award – Muddy Roots
- Rockabilly Band – Reverend Horton Heat
- Rockabilly Female – Rosie Flores
- Rockabilly Male – Big Sandy
- DJ Award – Dallas Wayne
- Outlaw Female – Elizabeth Cook
- Outlaw Group – Whitey Morgan & The 78’s
- Outlaw Male – Unknown Hinson
- Master Award – Ray Price
- Founder of the Sound – Johnny Bush
- Founder of the Sound – W.S. Fluke Holland
11: 51 - So overall, it was an amazing night, amazing production, top-notch. As some people have pointed out, all the people who performed were also the winners. My stupid little blog could in no way do the night justice. In the coming days I might write a proper review, include some of the quotes and stories from the stage (I do have audio of the whole thing, at least), But by golly, they pulled off, and can’t grade it any less than two guns up. Congratulations to Dale Watson and the whole Ameripolitan team.
11:46 - Thanks everyone for reading! I’m going to compose some final thoughts, recap the winners, and call it a night…
11:45 - That’s it folks! Mojo Nixon screams “Ameripolitan lives!” as the Ameripolitan band plays Dale Watson off the stage.
11:43 - Dale Watson is quite drunk. This is about a 7-minute version of “Old Farts” as he pours his heart out.
11:42 - Elizabeth Cook, Dale Watson, and Ray Benson playing “T For Texas”.
11:40 - Elizabeth Cook accepting her Ameripolitan Award.
11:38 - Dale Watson gives another impassioned speech about Blake Shelton and the “Old Farts & Jackasses” incident before launching into “Old Fart”.
11:33 – Whitey Morgan performing, and accepting his Outlaw award.
11:28 - Elizabeth Cook now on stage singing “T For Texas”.
11:24 - Johnny Knoxville and Ray Benson present the Ameripolitan Outlaw Female Award to Elizabeth Cook. “We are creating our own fucking game, so don’t hate, participate,” says Elizabeth in between making jokes about the “other” things she can do with the award.
11:18 - Chris and Taylor Malpass present the Ameripolitan Outlaw Male Award to Unknown Hinson. Unfortunately Unknown could not make it to accept the award because of a family emergency.
11:17 - Luther Jackson and Izzy Cox present the Ameripolitan Outlaw Group Award to Whitey Morgan & The 78’s.
11:10 - Ahead of the last group of awards for Outlaw, Whitey Morgan take the stage and perform “Bad News.”
11:09 - Dallas Wayne accepting his Ameripolitan DJ Award.
11:06 - The Ameripolitan DJ Award presented by Steve Wertiemer and Reggie Dobson goes to Sirius XM DJ Dallas Wayne.
11:04 - Dale Watson, W.S. Holland, and Jim Heath all playing on stage together.
10:57 - The Reverend Horton Heat (or Jim Heath), Dale Watson, and W.S. Holland on the stage playing “Blue Suede Shoes,” …and now they are playing “Ring of Fire,” a song W.S. played on originally.
10:54 - Big Sandy from earlier accepting his award for rockabilly male.
10:52 - Dale Watson sets the record straight that W.S. never smoked or drank like he was portrayed in the movie “Walk The Line”.
10:50 - W.S. “Fluke” Holland just told the best story of the awards about a Cadillac car and Carl Perkins. I’ll have to transcribe it later. Amazing. Here he is accepting his award.
10:42 - Everyone standing and clapping as Fluke makes his way to the stage. For those of you that don’t know, he played drums for Johnny Cash forever. “I didn’t even know people knew I was there.”
10:40 - “Founder of the Sound Award” is presented to drummer W.S. “Fluke” Holland.
10:37 - The Reverend Horton Heat receiving his Ameripolitan award earlier.
10:35 - Big Sandy: “This means a whole lot more coming from two people who don’t know who the hell I am.” It was presented Woody Adkins and Elizabeth Cook. Elizabeth Cook is giving Mojo Nixon a run for his money as the craziest, most overcussing person tonight.
10:32 - The Ameripolitan Award for Rockabilly Male goes to Big Sandy.
10:30 - Rosie Flores: “Holy shit!” “It’s almost like we’re on this mission to keep women alive in rockabilly.”
10:28 - Roger Alan Wade and Johnny Knoxville present the Ameripolitan Rockabilly Female award to Rosie Flores. The crowd erupts again. Rosie is clearly a crowd favorite.
10:26 - The Reverend Horton Heat wins the Ameripolitan Rockabilly Group Award.
10:24 - Brett and Silvia Neal comes out to present the Rockabilly Group Award. Dale comes out on stage and says it was 99% Brett and Silvia that made Ameripolitan happen, and 1% him.
10:21 - Tonya Watts and Johnny Knoxville presenting the Ameripolitan Festival Award.
10:19 - Ameripolitan Award winner Rosie Flores on the stage earlier.
10:17 - Big Sandy gets up to perform after a video presentation of the importance of rockabilly music.
10:11 - The Ameripolitan Festival Award presented by Tonya Watts and Johnny Knoxville goes to The Muddy Roots Festival.
10:08 - Ralph Mooney’s wife and daughter presenting the Ralph Mooney Award for Musicians.
10:05 - Ameripolitan DJ nominee Big ‘G’ and his wife during the intermission.
10:04 - Mojo Nixon presents “The Chick with the Pick!” Rosie Flores to the stage for a performance.
10:00 - Cornell Hurd presenting the “Founder of the Sound” Award to Johnny Bush earlier.
9:58 - The Ameripolitan Venue Award goes to The Broken Spoke, Austin, TX.
9:53 - Forgot to mention earlier, Dale Watson had delivered the Ameripolitan “Master Award” to Ray Price before he passed away. Cool story.
9:51 – James Intveld comes out to perform ahead of the upcoming Rockabilly Awards.
9:49 - Cindy Cashdollar wins the Ralph Mooney Ameripolitan Award for Musicians. She is not on site (she had a gig in California), so a video of her accepting the award plays.
9:47 - We are back from intermission. They are getting ready to present the Ameripolitan Ralph Mooney Award for Musician. It is being presented by Mrs. Ralph Mooney.
9:45 - Rosie Flores accepting her Honky Tonk Female Award earlier. That is Amber Rockwell in the shot as well who has been walking the awards to the stage.
9:40 - The amount of stars around this place is stupid. I was shaking hands with Bobby Flores, then bumped into Redd Volkaert, and then almost got ran over by Elizabeth Cook. Let me tell you folks, Elizabeth is a little firecracker.
9:32 - Earlier when Johnny Knoxville and Roger Alan Wade were presenting, they made fun of Dale’s dud’s as being made out of their “Grandmother’s curtains” stimulating Dale to come out and confront them on stage. They also announced the female Honky Tonk Award winner was Blake Shelton, which stimulated a chorus of boos and laughs (it was really Rosie Flores.
9:25 - While I have the time, I just want to say here that this thing could not be more professional. Every last detail was thought through. The video presentations, the house bands playing the presenters on and off stage. It’s quite the production, with only a few very very minor glitches. The room is positively packed. This venue could have been twice as big, and it would still be too small. They will have to at least double the size next year.
9:21 - We go to a 15 minute “intermission” about 20 minutes late. This will give me time to catch up on pictures and some other stuff. Thanks for reading y’all!
9:20 - Johnny Bush: “I think Willie Nelson has recorded ‘Whiskey River’ about 29 times. He asked me, ‘Do you think I’ll ever get it right?’ I said, ‘I hope not.’
9:16 - Ameripolitan winner Wayne “The Train” Hancock performing earlier. (with Zach Sweeny, whose dad is following out there in Internet land)
9:15 - Standing ovation for Johnny Bush. During his acceptance speech, “My doctors are here. My preacher’s here, just in case. And my lawyer would be here, but he’s in jail.” Then Johnny Bush takes the stage to play “Whiskey River.”
9:11 - Two-time Ameripolitan winner Ray Benson performing earlier.
9:08 – Cornell Hurd presents the “Founder of the Sound” Award to Johnny Bush. Cornell gives an excellent, touching speech. “They called him the country Caruso.”
9:04 - Ameripolitan winner Dawn Sears performing earlier.
9:02 - Wayne simply says, “Gosh, I wasn’t expecting this. Thank you.” Mojo Nixon says, “Give it up for the loquacious Wayne Hancock!” Then Heybale takes the stage.
9:00 - The Ameripolitan Honky Tonk Male Award goes to Wayne “The Train” Hancock.
8:55 - Johnny Knoxville and Roger Alan Wade present the Ameripolitan Award for Honky Tonk Female to Rosie Flores.
8:54 - Johnny Bush accepting Ray Price’s “Master Award”.
8:53 - The Ameripolitan Award for Honky Tonk Band goes to Heybale.
8:51 – Wayne Hancock gets a standing ovation.
8:46 - Another well-produced video presentation ahead of the presentation of the honky tonk awards, and then Wayne “The Train” Hancock comes out to perform “Home With My Baby.”
8:45 - Shout out to Rockabilly Deluxe Magazine that just stopped by to say hi.
8:43 - Ray Benson performs “Miles and Miles of Texas”. Dale Watson helped him put his guitar on and Ray says, “The best dressed roadie in the business!”
8:40 - A better picture of Dale Watson’s duds, and the pantless Mojo Nixon. Mojo says, “This things going pretty good, and everyone said Mojo was going to fuck it up!”
8:36 - Ameripolitan Award for Western Swing Male goes to Ray Benson. Presented by Big Sandy and Abbey Road from Luckenbach.
8:35 - Dawn Sears gets very emotional on stage. “This is my very first award. Thank you.”
8:33 – The Ameripolitan Award for Western Swing Female goes to Dawn Sears!
8:32 - Dale Watson at the introduction, and the Ameripolitan band.
8:31 - Ray Benson and other members of Asleep At The Wheel on stage accepting the award. “44 years with this band, 100 members, half the members of this audience, I think.”
8:30 - The Ameripolitan Western Swing Group of the Year is Asleep At The Wheel!
8:25 - Have tons of photos coming up folks! Stuff is happening so fast, just trying to keep up!
8:23 - In between live presentations are video taped presentations. This is very slick. Mojo Nixion, “They told me not to drink on stage. Fuck it!” And Dawn Sears takes the stage.
8:21 - Johnny Bush remembers his time in the Cherokee Cowboys. “You we’re like an uncle to me,” Johnny recalls saying to Ray. Ray responded “You’re no kin to me!” (crowd laughs)
8:19 - Ray Price is awarded the Master Award. Johnny Bush accepts the award for Ray to a standing ovation.
8:17 - The video presentation continues, with the explanation of how Ameripolitan got started. Ray Price’s letter he wrote to Blake Shelton after the “Old Farts & Jackasses” episode was read aloud, and the crowd erupts.
8:15 - James Hand gets a standing ovation from the Ameripolitan crowd. By the way, I forgot to mention, Mojo Nixon has no pants on (but boxers, luckily).
8:13 - Mojo Nixon hands it off to James Hand who performers “In The Corner, At My Table, By the Jukebox.”
8:12 - Some more photos of artists filing in: Tonya Watts, and Whitey Morgan with Elizabeth Cook.
8:08 - Dale hands it over to Mojo Nixon who screams into the microphone, “I’m hotter than two foxes fucking in a forest fire!” Then a video presentation starts to play on the screens flanking the stage.
8:07 - “This is your music, this is your artists, this is your genre!” — Dale Watson
8:02 - The Ameripolitan Awards have started! Dale Watson is welcoming everyone, and introducing the band.
7:58 - The show is scheduled to start off with an explanation of what Ameripolitan is, and a performance by James Hand.
7:56 - Heads up, Unknown Hinson did NOT make it. But Elizabeth Cook did!
7:55 - Have a bunch more photos coming folks! Everywhere I turn there’s a hand to shake. I tell people I’m working and they don’t believe me.
7:45 - Some various choices for Ameripolitan garb. Just saw Hillbilly Casino pass by, and radio personality Big G.
7:36 - James “Slim” Hand taking advantage of the Ameripolitan photo op.
7:30 – Dale Watson a while ago double checking on everything before getting dudded up. Notice the “Staff” on the back of his shirt.
7:22 - The house band tonight will be Redd Volkaert – Guitar, Jason Roberts – Fiddle, Chris Crepps – Bass, Mike Bernal – Drums, Earl Poole Ball – Piano, Don Pawlak – Pedal Steel.
7:18 - On the front tables there is “Table Pop Art” of famous country music greats done by Harmony High School Art Class #3 from Big Sandy, TX.
7:15 - Here’s some pictures of the Lake Austin Room at the hotel where the festivities will transpire. At the very front are circular tables for all of the nominees and big donors, then smaller, rectangular tables for other nominees and donors, and then rows of chairs for everyone else.
7:07 - Here’s some pictures of where the Ameripolitan Awards are transpiring for the people who like a little more perspective. I’ve been wondering why they decided to do it hare as opposed to a more traditional venue, but tthe lobby is filled with pictures of Austin musicians, guitars, etc. and is known for supporting functions like this. We’re still 50 minutes or so from the start of the presentation, so posts may be sparse until the start of the awards.
7:05 - Walked into the door of the hotel, and the star power just in the lobby was incredible: Reverend Horton Heat, Dale Watson, Eric Strickland, Wayne Hancock, Redd Volkaert, James Hand, and the list goes on. A lot of talent has trekked here for tonight. I also have met journalists from as far as Italy who are here to cover the event. I will be posting pictures all night, but because of the poor light in here, the quality may not be the best. However, I have Charlie from Almost Out Of Gas here taking better photos that will be posted after the event.
7:00 - Alright folks, I’m going to make this disclaimer real quick, and then there’s going to be no more word about this the rest of the night: Per the numerous emails and comments elsewhere, I am very aware that some folks have issues with Ameripolitan. I have issues with Ameripolitan. However this is their night, Dale and many others have worked very hard on this, and in the end the idea is to support music. There’s a lot of great artists that will be honored and showcased tonight, so let’s focus on the music and the artists and be thankful for the fellowship.