2017 Americana Music Awards LIVE Blog


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Saving Country Music’s 2017 Americana Music Awards blog LIVE from The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. As the festivities stream live from the Ryman, (link below), we’ll tag along to leave observations, keep up with the winners, discuss the performances, and share what happened for those folks who missed it. You can’t be here, but hopefully this is the next best thing. So get your refresh fingers ready, and feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section.

Watch the Live Stream of the Awards

To see the nominees and nominations, CLICK HERE.

Host: Jim Lauderdale
Band Leader: Larry Campbell (NOTE: Buddy Miller was supposed to lead, but is sick)
House Band: Robbie Crowell, Jim Hoke, Jerry Pentecost, Chris Wood and the McCrary Sisters.

PERFORMERS: • Billy Bragg • Brent Cobb • Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm • Rodney Crowell • Iris DeMent • Drive-By Truckers • Rhiannon Giddens • Joe Henry • Hurray for the Riff Raff • Jason Isbell • The Lumineers • Lori McKenna • Van Morrison • Graham Nash • Old Crow Medicine Show • Sam Outlaw • Margo Price • John Prine • Amanda Shires • Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives • Aaron Lee Tasjan

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


  • Artist of the Year: John Prine
  • Album of the Year: Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
  • Emerging Artist of the Year: Amanda Shires
  • Duo/Group of the Year: Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
  • Song of the Year: Rodney Crowell’s “It Ain’t Over Yet”

9:47 – Well, it was a very well-produced show. It maybe didn’t have the country music star power of last year when George Strait, Dwight Yoakam, and many more were in the house, but it was a good time and a deeper illustration of “Americana” was on display. Thanks to everyone for following along!

9:43 – Welp, that’s it folks! Thanks for following along. I’m going to recap the winners and get out of here.

9:41 – The Grand Finale:


9:39 – Singing “Tulsa Time” is Jim Lauderdale, Emmylou Harris, original songwriter Danny Flowers, and others.

9:37 – Well where it was an audible because they forgot to mention Don Williams in the tribute section, the show is ending with the singing of a Don Williams song.

9:34 – Van Morrison wastes no time accepting the award. He says thanks for center stage, and launches into his latest song.


9:30 – Emmylou Harris comes out to introduce Van Morrison for the Lifetime Achievement Award in songwriting.

9:29 – John Prine accepting his Artist of the Year award.


9:28 – John Prine, “Well I’ve been waiting for this award for a while.”

9:26 – Whoa! The 2017 AmericanaMusic Award’s Artist of the Year is John Prine!

9:25 – Mike Judge comes out to present 2017 Artist of the Year (and plug ‘Tales From The Bus’)

9:24 – Standing ovation for Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires


9:20 – Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires come out to perform “If We Were Vampires,” maybe the best song release all of 2017 so far.

9:17 – CORRECTION: Dave Cobb did not produce Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.” Sorry. Was trying to think of someone who could have accepted the award for Sturgill.

9:15 – Margo Price:


9:14 – Margo Price comes out to perform “Do Right By Me.” Her husband Jeremy Ivey is playing harmonica.

9:11 – Sturgill Simpson is not on hand to accept the award. He’s in New York.

9:10 – The 2017 Americana Music Award’s Album of the Year is Sturgill Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” !

9:09 – Elizabeth Cook and Lukas Nelson come out to hand out the Album of the Year award.

9:07 – Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff


9:03 – Wearing a shirt that says, “Arrest Arpaio,” Hurray For the Riff Raff takes the Ryman stage to perform “Pa’lante.”

9:01 – The Mavericks’ Raul Malo—a native of Miami—says some words for the hurricane victims.

9:00 – Marty Stuart accepting the Duo/Group of the Year Award.


8:57 – “I would like to thank my momma and daddy for letting me come to Nashville when I was 13-years-old,” Marty said. “I said I don’t want to learn history, I want to make it.”

Marty recites a lot of the legendary moments of The Ryman. Probably the best speech for the night.

8:54 The 2017 Americana Music Award’s Duo/Group of the Year is Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives.

8:53 – The Mavericks come out to present the award for the Duo/Group of the Year.

8:51 – Hot damn! Robert Cray is tearing it up on guitar, proving why he deserves a lifetime achievement in performance. He gets a standing O.

8:49 – Robert Cray and the Hi Rhythm Section come out to perform, “You Must Believe in Yourself.”


8:47 – Very strange moment when it sounded like someone made a loud, yawning noise from the gallery and sort of interrupted Robert’s speech. He wrapped up shortly after. His speech wasn’t very long.

8:46 – Vince Gill giving away the Lifetime Achievement award to Robert Cray.


8:44 – It’s Vince Gill! He comes out to present the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance to Robert Cray.

“A show of hands. How many of you were in ‘Animal House’?” Vince Gill asks. “Robert Cray was in ‘Animal House.'”

8:42 – The Hi Rhythm section recorded 26 gold and platinum records.

8:37 – Steve Jordan and Boo Mitchell telling the story of the Hi Rhythm Section.


8:35 – Boo Mitchell and Steve Jordan come out to present the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist to the Hi Rhythm Section.

8:33 – The Lumineers performing, and Valerie June at the Americana podium.

the-lumineers-americana-2017valerie-june-introducing- americana-2017

8:30 – Valerie June introduces The Lumineers to perform “Cleopatra.”

8:28 – “I know there are a lot people here who let me sleep on their couches and their dogs beds,” Amanda Shires says. “There would be no other place for me.”

She also thanks “Mr. Shires.”

8:27 – The 2017 Americana Music Awards Emerging Artist of the Year is Amanda Shires!

8:25 – Valerie June and Brandy Clark come out to present the Emerging Artist of the Year award.

8:24 – I have been lukewarm on Aaron Lee Tasjan’s records, but man is he a great live performer.

8:20 – Larry Campbell then introduces Emerging Artist of the Year nominee Aaron Lee Tasjan, who comes out to perform “Ready To Die.”

8:18 – Larry Campbell is introducing the house band, Robbie Crowell, Jim Hoke, Jerry Pentecost, Chris Wood and the McCrary Sisters.

8:16 – Drive-By Truckers performing “What It Means”


8:10 – Graham Nash performing with the Milk Carton Kids.


8:08 – John Paul White comes out to introduce The Drive-By Truckers, speaking about the complicated nature of growing up in the South. “How many Alabamans does it take to change a light bulb?” White jokes, “Change?” is the punchline.

8:06 – Graham Nash accepting his Free Speech award.


8:05 – The Milk Carton Kids come out to perform with Graham Nash.

8:01 – Graham Nash gets a standing ovation as he comes out to accept his award. If you’re wondering why an Englishmen is receiving an Americana Awards, one of the first things that Nash says is, “When I first heard, I was wondering why an Englishman was getting an Americana Award.”

7:59 – Ken Paulson comes out to dole out the Spirit of Americana / Free Speech in Music award to Graham Nash. “This is an artist that we smoke dope to,” Paulson jokes.

7:55 – Joe Henry & Billy Bragg come out to tribute Glen Campbell by playing “Gentle On My Mind.”


7:52 – Amanda Shires:


7:49 – Shires is playing “Harmless.” She is an “Emerging Artist of the Year” nominee, which feels weird for someone who has been playing since she was 12, and has five solo records. But I get the spirit behind the nomination.

7:47 – Amanda Shires comes out in a red dress, playing a red electric guitar.

7:46 – Jim Lauderdale takes time to show respect to all the Americana artists who have passed away in the last year, including Jessi Zazu of Those Darlins, who just passed away today

7:45 – Rhiannon Giddens gets a standing ovation. The song was “Julie.”

7:44 – Rhiannon Giddens and the Milk Carton Kids



7:40 – Rhiannon Giddens comes out to perform, red accents in her hair and a fiddle accompaniment.

7:39 – Milk Carton Kids doing a bit where they’re taking up time for a commercial break. “What the fuck is going on man?” You’d have to be here.

7:37 – That was Molly Jenson performing with Sam Outlaw. Here come the Milk Carton Kids. Expect some shtick.

7:35 – Sam Outlaw:


7:34 – Sam Outlaw, introduced as carrying on the California country tradition, comes out to perform “Diamond Ring.” Great song.

7:32 – Rodney Crowell is not able to be here due to illness.

7:31 – The 2017 Americana Music Award’s Song of the Year is Rodney Crowell’s “It Ain’t Over Yet”

7:30 – Lee Ann Womack and John Oats come out to give out the Song of the Year award.

7:29 – There’s just nothing better than Marty Stuart.

7:28 – Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives performing “Time Don’t Wait.”


7:25 – So cool to see Chris Scruggs playing in the Fabulous Superlatives. That guy deserves more recognition.

7:24 – Jim Lauderdale introduces Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives to the stage for some well-needed energy. They start off with an a capella intro.

7:22 – Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg of Hi-Tone Records


7:18 – Joe Henry comes out to present theLifetime Achievement Award, Executive to Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg of Hi-Tone Records.

7:13 – John Prine and band:


7:09 – John Prine and Iris Dement get a standing ovation from The Ryman crowd. John’s now playing a solo song.


7:05 – Now John Prine and Iris Dement come out to perform together. “In Spite of Ourselves.”

7:04 – Iris Dement:


7:00 – Wow! The acoustics of the Ryman are amazing enough, and so is Iris Dement’s voice. But you combine them, and they’re angelic. Soaring.

6:59 – Iris Dement and John Prine. Iris, still teary, now gets behind the piano to sing Morning Glory.”


6:58 – John Prine cannonizing Iris Dement


6:56 – Iris Dement is sincerely emotional as she receives the Lifetime Achevement award from John Prine. Very emotional in here.

6:55 – John Prine bestows the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer to Iris Dement.

6:54 – As Jack Young pointed out in the comments, that is Jerry Pentacost on drums, who has played with JP Harris, Amanda Shires, Caitlin Rose, Jonny Corndawg, and many others.

6:53 – Awesome moment as John Prine comes out to present something, and the crowd raises to their feet, not letting him talk. “I was going to come out and tell you who is was…” Prine says.

6:52 – Lori McKenna:


6:49 – Jim Lauderdale introducing Lorrie McKenna to the stage, “She has raised five kids while making ten extraordinary albums.”

6:47 – The 2017 Americana Music Awards Instrumentalist of the Year is Charlie Sexton !

6:46 – Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne come out to present Instrumentalist of the Year.

6:45 – Brent Cobb, with Larry Campbell behind him.


6:44 – Brent Cobb sounds even better with the amazing McCrary Sisters singing behind him. Then again, that goes for just about any artist.

6:43 – Looks like there might bee a good amount of latency between live and the live feed, so you may be seeing stuff here before it happens!

6:42 – Emerging Artist nominee Brent Cobb comes out to perform his new song “Ain’t A Road Too Long.”

6:37 – Host Jim Lauderdale comes out to welcome everyone to the show and to perform a song.


6:32 – Old Crow Medicine Show comes out busking style from behind the crowd to open up the festivities with a bang, singing Bob Dylan.

6:25 – The big news of the night so far is that bandleader Buddy Miller is apparently very sick and had to pass off duties last minute to Larry Campbell. Understand the house band is expected to play probably two dozen songs from many different artists, from various genres and influences. It’s a huge task under normal circumstances, and Larry is having to do it on the fly.

6:15: Some pictures from the red carpet, moved inside after remnants of Irma made for a watery Nashville.

Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Aaron Lee Tasjan and Elizabeth Cook
Aaron Lee Tasjan and Elizabeth Cook
Brandy Clark
Brandy Clark
The McCrary Sisters singing "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"
The McCrary Sisters singing “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”
Connie Connie Connie Smith!
Connie Connie Connie Smith!
Chris Scruggs
Chris Scruggs
Angaleena Presley
Angaleena Presley


Sam Outlaw with Americana Music Association director Jed Hilly
Sam Outlaw with Americana Music Association director Jed Hilly
Valerie June
Valerie June
Lori McKenna
Lori McKenna
Americana Awards host Jim Lauderdale
Americana Awards host Jim Lauderdale

6:11 – Jason Isbell during sound check.


6:05 – Outside of the Ryman is an old tour bus painted up to promote the new Mike Judge-produced animated series Tales From The Tour Bus.


6:00 – For the first time in a very long time, you can behold the front of the Ryman Auditorium in all of its full glory after a large building on the adjacent corner was removed. Unfortunately that view won’t last long with a new building going up, but it’s nice to see while you can.