The 2020 Ameripolitan Awards were celebrated this weekend in Memphis, TN, with numerous showcases and performances happening all across the city, from the famous clubs on Beale Street, to Dale Watson’s newly-opened historic music venue, Hernando’s Hideaway, to the stately Guesthouse at Graceland where the awards show proper was help Monday night, February 24th. See all the winners below.
Meant to recognize American music with a strong roots influence that often gets lost in the realm of popular music, as Nick 13 of Tiger Army said when presenting an award during the show, “The music that the mainstream has forgotten, that’s the music we remember.”
Earlier in the week, Tanya Tucker helped provide one of the coolest moments of the event as she showed up to Hernando’s unexpectedly Thursday night to sing a couple of songs at the pre-party. Other events helped lead up to the awards, including Junior Brown performing Friday night, a fashion show and musical showcase at the Circuit Playhouse in midtown Memphis Saturday night with Farmer & Adele, Johnny Falstaff, and Charley Crockett all performing, the “Godfathers” of Ameripolitan—The Reverend Horton Heat, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, and Wayne “The Train” Hancock—all performing Sunday night at Hernando’s, and a tribute to the Bakersfield Sound during the day on Monday.
It all led to Monday night when the respective artists in the Rockabilly, Western Swing, and Honky Tonk categories showed up dressed to the 9’s, and an awards show broke out. Announced by Dallas Wayne and hosted by Big Sandy and Doris Mayday, it saw performances by Big Cedar Fever, Whitney Rose, Two Tons of Steel, Tami Savoy, Summer Dean, James “Slim” Hand opened the show (like he’s done all 7 years) performing “Baby, Baby Don’t Tell Me That,” along with other performances.
As Western Swing Male winner Dave Stuckey said, the Ameripolitan Awards are like artists that are from an island of misfit toys that don’t fit in Americana. Honky Tonk Male winner Charley Crockett told the storywhile accepting his award about hearing a street performer in New Orleans, Louisiana playing “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It” by Hank Williams, and knowing that’s what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
This was the first year there was not an “Outlaw” category. Instead, those acts were considered in the Honky Tonk category. Special awards included drummer J.M. Van Eaton who was one of the original Sun Studios players who performed on tracks from Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. He was awarded the Founder of the Sound award, while Duane Eddy was honored with The Master Award.
Thanks to Kevin Smith for select photos. For more photos and coverage of the 2020 Ameripolitan Awards, check out Saving Country Music On Instagram.
Honky Tonk Male
Charley Crockett – WINNER
Honky Tonk Female
Sarah Gayle Meech
Sarah Vista – WINNER
Honky Tonk Group
The Country Side of Harmonica Sam – WINNER
Casey James Prestwood Band
Bloodshot Bill – WINNER
Laura Palmer – WINNER
Linda Gail Lewis
Modern Don Juans
Bebo & The Good Time Boys
Mark Gamsjager and the The Lustre Kings – WINNER
Trix O Treat Band
Western Swing Male
Keenan Wade (Farmer & Adele)
Dave Stuckey – WINNER
Western Swing Female
Georgia Parker – WINNER
Western Swing Group
The Farmer and Adele – WINNER
The Urban Pioneers
Bill and the Belles
50 Shades of Hay
American Legion Post 82 – Nashville
Southgate House Revival – Newport, KY
Luckenbach, TX – WINNER
Skinny Dennis – Brooklyn, NY
Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge – Nashville
Duke’s Indy – Indianapolis, IN
Sean Mencher – WINNER
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion – WINNER
High Rockabilly- Spain
Western Swingout Weekender -Tehachapi, California
SYMCO Weekender – Symco, Wisconsin
Marivi Yubero García
Eddie White – WINNER