The 2016 Ameripolitan Awards in Words and Pictures

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According to Blake Shelton, nobody wants to listen to grandpa’s music anymore. But somebody forgot to tell the throng that assembled at Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre on Tuesday evening (2-16) and filled the venue to capacity for the 3rd installment of the Dale Watson-helmed Ameripolitan Awards.

The Western fashion was at its finest, and so was the talent, including country legend Charley Pride who headlined the event, as well as a great duet performance between Dale Watson and Georgette Jones, and performances by James Hand, Whitey Morgan, Unknown Hinson who the 3rd time was the charm making it to the awards, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Doyle & Debbie,

The Country Side of Harmonica Sam who traveled all the way from Sweden, Roger Alan Wade, Rosie Flores, and surprise last-minute performer Bill Kirchen.

Unfortunately the evening’s two “Founder of the Sound” recipients couldn’t make the festivities. Wanda Jackson was hindered by snow, and Red Simpson passed away in January, though his son was in attendance to accept the award. Red was given a proper tribute by Bill Kirchen, with Dale Watson and others joining in for the evening’s final song “Highway Patrol,” and Rosie Flores, Kim Lenz, and Marti Brom came out on stage to perform a medley of Wanda Jackson songs on her behalf.

But Charley Pride was there, and performed three songs, including his signature “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,”  and finished up with a Ray Price song in tribute to his former friend and neighbor. Charley received five standing ovations when he took the stage, yet when he was telling the story of his career, you could hear a pin drop in the Paramount.

This year’s festivities were hosted by Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel fame, who took over admirably for Mojo Nixon who hosted the two previous years. Ray’s steady hand at the rudder, yet insightful and timely humor made him a perfect selection for the spot, and was one of the highlights of the show. Unlike the 2nd year that had some starts and stops in the presentation, everything ran smooth this year, and Ray was always ready with a quippy story about the next performer or presenter, and filled whatever time was necessary for stage turnovers without the crowd being any wiser.

The presentation slightly plateaued this year after growing leaps and bounds for the first and second year, but this was to be expected. The effort on video presentations was a little less from previous years, but there was a good one for Red Simpson near the end of the night. Nearing four hours may be a little too long for some people for an awards show, but there wasn’t a dull moment during the event. Celebrity presenters included Mike Wolfe of American Pickers, Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s Barbecue PBS show, and Johnny Knoxville.

The big winner of the night was Western Swing fiddler Jason Roberts who took home both the award for Western Swing Male and the Ralph Mooney Ameripolitan Musician trophy. It was also good to see Ameripolitan branching out some to include Jason Boland and The Stragglers in the winners and try to help grow the Ameripolitan tent, which has seen many of the same faces the first few years.

Other winners include:

  • Honky Tonk GroupJeff Woolsey and the Dancehall Kings
  • Honky Tonk FemaleMargo Price
  • Honk Tonk MaleCharlie Thompson
  • Western Swing GroupBilly Mata and the Texas Tradition
  • Western Swing FemaleCarolyn Martin
  • Western Swing MaleJason Roberts
  • Rockabilly GroupThe Bellfuries
  • Rockabilly FemaleMarti Brom
  • Rockabilly MaleWayne Hancock
  • Outlaw GroupJason Boland & The Stragglers
  • Outlaw FemaleBonnie Montgomery
  • Outlaw MaleWhitey Morgan
  • VenueThe White Horse, Austin TX
  • FestivalSan Angelo Cowboy Gathering
  • DJTed Branson, KOOP 91.7FM Austin, TX
  • MusicianJason Roberts

Quotes of the evening:

“I feel like a munchkin up here.” –Johnny Knoxville standing between Ray Benson and the Freightshakers. They promptly picked him up and elevated Knoxville to their airspace.

“I like to keep abreast of that band.” –Ray Benson about the busty side of Doyle & Debbie.

“I’m a traditionalist and glad of it.” — Charley Pride.

“I don’t have a wife to thank. They all left me.” –Billy Mata of Western Swing Group of the Year “Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition.”

NOTE: Please understand nobody was “omitted” from coverage on purpose. There were tons of nominees and attendees, and Saving Country Music did what it could to cover as much of the event as possible.

Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay
Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay
Big Sandy
Big Sandy
Charlie Thompson
Charlie Thompson
Big 'G' Gordon Ames & son
Big ‘G’ Gordon Ames & son
Dallas Moore Band
Dallas Moore Band
Darci Carlson
Darci Carlson
Doyle & Debbie
Doyle & Debbie
Freight Shakers
Freightshakers
J.P. Harris
J.P. Harris
Jake Penrod
Jake Penrod
Jason James and mother
Jason James and mother
Jason Galaz of Muddy Roots
Jason Galaz of Muddy Roots
Jesse Dayton
Jesse Dayton
Roger Alan Wade and Johnny Knoxville
Roger Alan Wade and Johnny Knoxville
Sarah Gayle Meech and hubby
Sarah Gayle Meech and hubby
Scott H. Biram and date
Scott H. Biram and date
Wayne "The Train" Hancock
Wayne “The Train” Hancock
Vintage cars help deliver dignitaries to the event
Vintage cars help deliver dignitaries to the event
Woody Adkins
Woody Adkins
Drummer Lisa Pankratz and ?
Bassist Brad Fordham and Drummer Lisa Pankratz
Rita Ballou
Rita Ballou
The Country Side of Harmonica Sam
The Country Side of Harmonica Sam
Ted Branson - Ameripolitan DJ of the Year
Ted Branson – Ameripolitan DJ of the Year

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Inside the Paramount
Inside the Paramount
Dale Watson and Rosie Flores
Dale Watson and Rosie Flores
James Hand
James Hand
Dale Watson and Georgette Jones
Dale Watson and Georgette Jones
Justin Trevino
Justin Trevino
Charlie Thomspon accepting Honky Tonk Male award
Charlie Thomspon accepting Honky Tonk Male award
Charlie Thompson
Charlie Thompson
Charley Pride
Charley Pride

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Charley Pride accepting his 2016 Master Award
Charley Pride accepting his 2016 Master Award
Jason Boland accepting the award for Outlaw Group
Jason Boland accepting the award for Outlaw Group
Jason Roberts - Mike Wolfe from American Pickers and Dale Watson in the background
Jason Roberts – Mike Wolfe from American Pickers and Dale Watson in the background
Unknown Hinson with Jim Heath (Revered Horton Heat) and Ray Benson
Unknown Hinson with Jim Heath (Revered Horton Heat) and Ray Benson
Whitey Morgan
Whitey Morgan
Howdy Darrell and White Horse Crew accepting award for Ameripolitan Venue
Howdy Darrell and White Horse Crew accepting award for Ameripolitan Venue
The KANG Unknown Hinson
The KANG Unknown Hinson