The 2016 Americana Music Awards Announce Nominees
Early Wednesday evening (5/11), the nominees for the 2016 Americana Music Awards were announced via NPR’s live stream from the historic Mansion on O Street in Washington, DC. The event was hosted by the Milk Carton Kids, and featured performances from multiple Americana artists, including Margo Price, Sierra Hull, the Milk Carton Kids, and Lucinda Williams.
Jason Isbell walked away with the most nominations, scoring consideration for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year for “24 Frames.” Chris Stapleton picked up two nominations, as did Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and Lucinda Williams. Stapleton wasn’t the only major label artists to receive consideration. Kacey Musgraves’ “Dime Store Cowgirl” was nominated for Song of the Year.
The Americana Honors & Awards will transpire on September 21st at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville as part of the greater Americana Music Conference happening between September 20th and 25th. Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be announced leading up to the awards.
Artist of the Year
- Jason Isbell
- Bonnie Raitt
- Chris Stapleton
- Lucinda Williams
Album of the Year
- Lucinda Williams – Ghosts of Highway 20
- Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
- Chris Stapleton – Traveller
- Parker Millsap – The Very Last Day
Song of the Year
- “24 Frames” – Jason Isbell
- “Dime Store Cowgirl” – Kacey Musgraves
- “Hands of Time” – Margo Price
- “S.O.B.” – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Duo/Group of the Year
- Alabama Shakes
- Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
- Lake Street Dive
- The Milk Carton Kids
- Tedeschi Trucks Band
Emerging Artist of the Year
- Leon Bridges
- John Moreland
- Margo Price
- Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Instrumentalist of the Year
- Cindy Cashdollar
- Stuart Duncan
- Jedd Hughes
- Sara Watkins
May 11, 2016 @ 4:43 pm
Yes, but what does FuzzyTwo Shirts think?
May 11, 2016 @ 5:15 pm
I think this will boil down to a grudge match between Isbell and Stapleton… for Album and Artist… 24 Frames will probably walk away with Song…If Isbell walks away with Song, then Stapleton will probably take Album… If a third party takes Song (unlikely) then either Stapleton sweeps and Isbell gets burned or vice versa. So the most likely outcome will be that either Stapleton or Isbell get two of three, leaving the other to get only one award.
Either way, who can complain???
the ONLY song I think that can take Song away from Isbell is Margo Price’s “Hands of time.” it’s a bit of a long shot, but IF that happens then either Stapleton or Isbell will be shut out by the other…
I just don’t see them each taking one if Isbell doesn’t get Song.
The scary part is how strong Kacey Musgraves could perform… with her being such a socio-political media darling, she could turn out to be the Miranda Lambert of roots music, winning awards on sheer fame regardless of the fact that the music doesn’t deserve it.
Is “Dime Store” the song that could make her that type of an awards show presence? I doubt it. If “Follow your Arrow” couldn’t, then “Dime Store” won’t.
But I have a strong feeling that she’ll become a perennial award winner before too long.
Emmylou and Rodney are probably the strongest contender for duo, but Alabama Shakes and Milk Carton Kids have a real good shot too.
If I had to count my chickens before they crossed the street, it would be that Margo Price takes Emerging Artist. If not her, then John Moreland, but she’s probably got the best shot, with Leon Bridges in a distant third…
Instrumentalist is a bit tricky… I loooooove Cindy Cashdollar, but this is really Stuart Duncan’s to lose. He could blow Sara Watkins away as a fiddler, and he’s got a lot more serious musician cred from playing the fiddle on practically every album since Mark O’Connor left Nashville over a decade ago… Sara Watkins, meanwhile, is best known for Nickel Creek…
Cindy Cashdollar is less a household name, so unless Prairie Home Companion counts for a lot, I think it’s a two fiddle race, and Sara Watkins, being primarily known for her singing, is going to be hard pressed to compare to Stuart Duncan’s huuuuuge discography of material.
May 11, 2016 @ 7:06 pm
I’ll add that O’Connor’s new album “Coming Home” with his family band will be released August 5th – old-fashioned family type music,I expect.
May 11, 2016 @ 7:14 pm
I haven’t heard about this! thank you!
I love me some Mark O’Connor…
May 11, 2016 @ 4:54 pm
Great to see Moreland get a nod. Saw him a few months ago and it was stunning. One of the best shows I have seen — ever. And I see a lot of shows. In a town where people talk over every artist at every show, the place was stone cold quiet the entire set. Guy is unbelievable.
May 11, 2016 @ 5:03 pm
Ill go ahead and ask about the elephant….
Was SGTE included in this cycle (thus being excluded) or will it be next cycle.
May 11, 2016 @ 5:59 pm
Yes, Sailor’s Guide to Earth has been released too recently to be considered for this cycle. That would be next year that it will be eligible.
May 11, 2016 @ 6:51 pm
Lotta talent in there this year and glad to see so many great artists nominated but I can say for sure that John Moreland deserves Emerging Artist, hands down.
Country Music Archive Brazil
May 11, 2016 @ 7:17 pm
AWESOME! The list of albums of the year is amazing.
May 11, 2016 @ 10:44 pm
How can Dave Rawlings not get a single nomination? It’s all great stuff in these nominations but Nashville Obsolete deserves at least a nomination!!!
May 12, 2016 @ 8:33 am
For some reason, most of the categories this year only have four names. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t stretch it out and get a few more important names out there to engage those fan bases and expand interest in the awards. I’m sure it has something to do with how the rules are written, but if I were them, I would require five names.
June 3, 2016 @ 8:12 pm
I agree, that is my favorite album of the year. They are recognized for a lifetime achievement in song writing, and have written a wonderful and cohesive album and yet no nominations. Is it not country enough??
May 12, 2016 @ 9:26 am
May 11, 2016 @ 11:51 pm
What, no FGL?!?!!
May 12, 2016 @ 5:16 am
Lucinda all the way!
May 12, 2016 @ 7:58 am
Yup. Loved ‘Ghosts of Highway 20.’ 🙂
Bigfoot is Real (lonesome, on'ry, and mean)
May 12, 2016 @ 6:52 am
I was kinda shocked that James McMurtry is missing and yet, for some weird reason I am okay with it too. I suppose its because in my distorted world view I imagine that he could care less about awards.
May 12, 2016 @ 7:12 am
I believe the AMA year is 4/1 through 3/31. Complicated Game came out in Feb 2015. So he didn’t get overlooked this year. He got overlooked last year.
May 12, 2016 @ 9:31 am
Yeah. It may be a case where the record was overlooked at the time it was released, and the “word of mouth” didn’t really pick up until it started placing so well on various end-of-the-year lists.
It’s a shame, though.
May 12, 2016 @ 9:55 am
Yeah, but this is James McMurtry. I just checked and he won song and album of the year in 2006 (We Can’t Make It Here Anymore, Childish Things) and was nominated for song, album and artist of the year in 2008 when Just Us Kids came out. He draws what I would call an “Americana-big” crowd at live events in the DC area (about 500). There was roots music blogosphere excitement about the upcoming album. Nothing overtly politicial on the album last the previous two, though. Just great songs. Oh, well.
May 12, 2016 @ 10:40 am
Good point. Yeah, his exclusion makes no sense, then.
The more I actually think about these nominations, the more confused I get, to be honest.
One thing that seems clear, though, is that Isbell is currently at the top of the heap in the official Americana world. He gets multiple nominations while guys like Rawlings and McMurtry get none.
May 13, 2016 @ 7:43 am
And I think that’s exactly where Isbell belongs. As a long time fan, I am very happy to see it. In the larger Americana world, I think both Rawlings and McMurtry have gotten recognition. For example, in the No Depression reader’s poll, McMurtry’s album was #3 and the DRM album was #4 (Isbell and Stapleton were #1 and #2, respectively. Moreland was #5).
OK, a little more on Rawlings and then I’ll stop. Dave Rawlings Machine is basically Gillian & Dave with Rawlings out front. When it’s Gillian out front, name on the album and marque is simply Gillian Welch. They are among the pioneers of Alt-Country/Americana or whatever you want to call it and I think they belong on the Mt. Rushmore of Americana artists. And they’re among the biggest draws on the road. I think when it’s Dave Rawlings Machine, they draw a little less, but I saw them play to a packed 1250 capacity theatre in DC in November. That is huge for independent artists. The album and live shows have gotten great reviews. Hell, Dave would have been a good nominee for musician of the year, given his prowess as a guitar player and bandleader. I don’t get it.
May 12, 2016 @ 7:42 am
I like the song 24 Frames, but it’s not the best song on the album for me. Speed Trap Town and Something More Than Free are much better songs, in my opinion. Why is 24 Frames the one that gets the awards and nominations? That song also won a Grammy.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:26 am
It’s because that was the song that was decided on. It’s the “single” so to speak. All these awards shows do this. I’m not sure why. There really are songs out there that are timeless and impacting beyond the name of the artist or album. But to find them, you have to broaden your search.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:44 am
Given the nominations, I’m rooting for another Isbell hat trick. I really like Stapleton (seeing him and Isbell next month), but I don’t want to see him win an “Americana” award over Isbell. I just don’t. Lucinda might be a sentimental favorite, but I think The Ghosts of Highway 20 is a bit uneven. Some great stuff and some overly artsy/indulgent stuff, IMO. I think “Dust” would have made a great song of the year nomination.
Good to see Parker Millsap get a nomination for The Very Last Day. I would put that one in my top three 2016 releases so far, along with Robbie Fulks and Dori Freeman, with the Sturgmeister and Hayes Carll to follow.
I’m with commenter Luke Hodges. No nominations AT ALL for Dave Rawlings Machine? To me, Nashville Obsolete should have been an album of the year nominee, The Weekend should have been a song of the year nominee, and at the very least, they should have gotten a nomination for group/duo of the year. It almost feels like a betrayal for them to be shut out.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:47 am
Personally I love music from so many of these nominees, but I’m particularly glad to see John Moreland get some shine! He’s one of my favorite songwriters of all time.
I didn’t know mainstream label artists could be nominated, I kind of thought of the Americana Music Awards as an indie label promotional event in a way. Not complaining or anything though, I love Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:49 am
I’m rooting for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, I love that group. Of course, I’m a big southern rock guy, but they deserve it.
May 12, 2016 @ 8:51 am
Trigger, sorry to comment off-topic and rehash an old issue but I need your help. When I’m using my iPhone on your site, I am being bombarded with spam popups that fill the screen. The only way out is to close Safari. Why does this problem happen on your site only? How do I fix it? Awhile ago you had mentioned ad blockers for phones but I can’t find anything.
May 12, 2016 @ 9:09 am
Reader (and everyone else),
There is a very specific piece of Malware that is circulating once again on people’s iPhones that ONLY populates when you go to mid-sized websites like Saving Country Music. It is a KNOWN issue, and there is absolutely positively nothing I can do about it, and it absolutely positively has nothing to do with the website whatsoever. The site has been redundantly checked over and over, and has redundant protocals and firewalls in place to make sure it never gets infected. Or if the site does get infected, it shuts itself down. Even so, if Saving Country Music was either displaying or spreading Malware, Goggle and other search engines would shut down the site immediately, which despite all the complaints of popups on the site has NEVER happened, and never will happen, because Google knows about the issue. The reason it ONLY populates on mid-sized site is so that you blame the site, and not your device. So your device helps spread the Malware to all of your other devices and contacts, and all of a sudden everyone coming to SCM sees popups, blames the site, can’t see the content, and never comes back because they think the site is infected.
The way to solve it is to make sure you have the latest version of your software, or to download the Malwarebytes app. Usually what happens is the latest software updates will include fixes, but sometimes the Malware writers are one step ahead. AD BLOCKERS WILL NOT HELP. In fact ad blockers are killing independent websites like Saving Country Music by gutting revenue sources.
I wish there was something I could do, but this situation is completely out of my control. I am a victim of this as much as anyone, and if this virus continues to spread, it could spell the doom for Saving Country Music as much as anything else.
Sorry for the issue.
May 12, 2016 @ 1:03 pm
Ok, I’ll update to iOS 9.3.1 tonight. I tried malwarebytes but the app appears to do nothing – I can’t even find any settings for it.
Do you do Amazon referrals? If so, show me the links and moving forward I will always start my shopping from SCM.
May 12, 2016 @ 3:32 pm
go to settings in your iphone and then go to safari. From there should be towards the bottom its clear history and website data. Click on that and should get the issues taken care of. Also can clear cookies too. It will work for awhile anyways until it starts doing it again. Then repeat. I’ve had the same issue previously and always browse on phone here. Has worked for me numerous times.
May 12, 2016 @ 9:03 am
JOHN MORELAND. I had on a Moreland shirt yesterday as I read this on Twitter. I felt like it was the music gods giving me a sign that he will win. The guy is nothing short of an amazing songwriter. You can actually feel his music in your soul. In the day of shitty song writing with catchy hooks, Moreland is a breath of fresh air.
May 12, 2016 @ 10:27 am
Man, I love Chris Stapleton, but it almost feels unfair for him to be nominated for Americana Awards when he’s already got multiple CMAs and ACMs under his belt. Is there a precedent for an artist on a major Nashville label being nominated for these awards? I know Lee Ann Womack was nominated last year, but that was after she had left MCA Nashville for Sugar Hill. Also, the AMAs haven’t chosen to include artists like Brandy Clark or Ashley Monroe up to this point, and I always figured it was because they were considered to be part of the “mainstream” country scene in some capacity. Now I’m even more confused. I guess you could say that Stapleton’s musicical style is a little more eclectic, which is more in keeping with Americana ethos (and obviously Dave Cobb is now on the AMA Board of Directors or whatever), but then what do you make of Kacey Musgraves also getting nominated here?
I also thought it was interesting that the Alabama Shakes were included in the “Best Group” category, but their big, Grammy-nominated album didn’t make the cut. Maybe you could say their current music is too funky for Americana, but if that were the case, why would they be nominated at all?
I’m not trying to complain. I’m a supporter of the Americana movement, and this looks like it will be a really fun night, especially considering all the great artists who I presume will be in the building. I’m just trying to make sense of the nomination process. As Trigger stated previously, it seems like expanding the categories to include at least five nominations each would have helped.
When it comes down to awards night, I personally predict Jason Isbell will sweep the awards again.
May 13, 2016 @ 7:54 am
Ashley took part in some “official” events at last year’s conference. Kacey has been featured there before as well. She also introduced Loretta Lynn (with Angaleena Presley) for her Lifetime Achievement award a couple of years ago. Chris has been there before with the Steeldrivers, and I’ve heard was asked to attend last year as well but had some scheduling conflicts.
The Alabama Shakes won Emering Artist in 2012, and brought the house down at the Ryman in a performance with Booker T.
I know the public mostly only sees the nominations and awards shows… but many of these artists have been involved for some time. It’s also fairly common to see a few Nashville “stars” in the audience at the Awards show too. Heck… I sat next to Lee Ann Womack at a showcase for Tift Merritt & Buddy Miller at the Mercy Lounge back in 2007(?) when she was still a “major label” artist. She sang with Buddy that night too.
I should state that I do have a few problems with the nominees this year as well. It seems the nomination process does not work the way I always thought it did. There is input (votes) from the members at-large of the Association, but those at the top have more influence on the final nominees list that I previously thought.
May 13, 2016 @ 8:16 am
I had similar feelings about Stapleton and Alabama Shakes, although I’m a big fan of both and they sit comfortably in my personal roots music world. Also, hard to say that Traveller doesn’t deserve at least a nomination as best “Americana” album. As for Alabama Shakes, I was late picking up their Sound and Color, but I have to say I think it is a killer album. I think it’s a huge leap forward from Boys and Girls, which I liked quite a bit. I remember Trigger’s review on Boys and Girls where he talked about how you could hear great potential when listening to that album. I personally think they proved him right with Sound and Color.
Maybe they’ll both play at the awards ceremony. A power duet with Chris and Brittany, maybe?
May 13, 2016 @ 9:45 am
Oh yeah, I agree. I’m absolutely in favor of the Alabama Shakes being included. I was just trying to figure out the internal logic the AMA voters were following when they cast their votes. If the Alabama Shakes are indeed “Americana,” which apparently they are, then surely Sound and Color was a blockbuster release for the genre, and deserves a Best Album nomination.
Same goes for Stapleton. I completely understand why the Americana folks would want to have him involved in any way possible, even if only to walk onstage and perform an instructional music interlude about the locations of the fire exits. All I’m saying is, given Stapleton’s success in the mainstream country realm, I would feel a little bad for the little guys if he were also rake in the major Americana awards, that’s all.
Speaking of Stapleton, the duet with Brittany Howard absolutely needs to happen. I had the same thought while watching the Grammy Awards last time. That’s the kind of collaboration the Americana Awards would be perfectly set up to facilitate, I would think.
May 13, 2016 @ 10:11 am
All I’m saying is, given Stapleton’s success in the mainstream country realm, I would feel a little bad for the little guys if he were also rake in the major Americana awards, that’s all.
Oh, I completely agree. I do NOT want to see Stapleton win over Isbell in any category where they’re both nominated. Isbell is the heavyweight champion of Americana and I think he has defended the title, if you will, with SMTF. I hope he wins all three again, as that would be historic. At a minimum, I hope he winds song and album of the year. Given the nominees, he really should. No knock on the nominees, it’s just that I think his efforts are considerably stronger. I could see them maybe giving artist of the year to Lucinda. For one thing, her work is probably the artsiest (if that’s a word) of the bunch. Still, rooting for the hat trick.
May 12, 2016 @ 10:47 pm
i have yet to hear the new Chris Stapleton so I’m going to buy it and give it a listen. i swear to god if it sucks and sounds like some Jamey Johnson knock off bullshit i’m gonna be pissed.
May 12, 2016 @ 11:20 pm
Cindy Cashdollar?!!!! I am super excited about this! Love me some great female players.
May 12, 2016 @ 11:33 pm
Really surprised to see her name, but 100% deserved.