Winners Announced at the 2024 Ameripolitan Awards

Les Greene/Dale Watson/Kelsey Waldon/Kyle Eldridge

See full list of winners and photo gallery below.

After multiple years of calling Memphis home and bisected by two years of the pandemic, the Ameripolitan Awards dreamed up by Dale Watson returned to its original home of Austin, Texas on Sunday, February 18th for its 2024 presentation. It happened at the Moody Theater in downtown Austin—also known as the home of Austin City Limits—resulting in yet another step up for the awards over its tenure.

In fact, everything was bigger at the 2024 Ameripolitan Awards. The crowd was bigger, the production was bigger, the entire everything for a grassroots organization trying to offer an alternative to other awards was bigger, and it was far and away the best Ameripolitan awards yet.

The Ameripolitan awards started in Austin’s Wyndham Garden Inn in 2014 and transpired in a ballroom at the hotel. This year, the Wyndham hosted showcases during the week and was the home base for the the Ameripolitan gathering. But moving to the Moody was the way for this awards show to reach an entirely new level. Also, since the Moody is set up for television production, the hope is the awards can come to TV or streaming.

Dale Watson came out at the beginning of the awards and explained the evolution and growth of an awards show that started after Blake Shelton referred to classic country music fans as “Old farts” and “Jackasses.” “I thought it would be a one shot deal. But it ain’t.”

The entire floor of the Moody Theater filled up, as did the 2nd level and parts of the balcony. But no matter how big the awards get, it still feels like one of the most tight knit communities in roots music. As Western Swing Male winner Kyle Eldridge said while accepting his award, “Community is so important, and I’m proud to be part of this community.”

Western Swing legend Ray Benson was awarded the “Master Award” by steel guitar legend and producer Lloyd Maines, who recalled seeing Asleep at the Wheel at Austin’s famed Armadillo World Headquarters back in the ’70s. “They were playing Western Swing, but if Bob Wills was on acid,” Maines said.

Ray Benson talked about the importance of Ameripolitan recognizing Western Swing music, and the genre and other roots forms don’t always get the same recognition from other awards organizations. He also recalled that he’d hosted The Ameripolitan Awards a couple of times previously. “Yeah, I got fired,” he said to laughter.

Ray Benson

Ray had replaced Mojo Nixon, who was the host for the first two years of the awards. He was remembered numerous times over the night, but not with moments of silence. Dale Watson declared that raucous cheers was how to remember Mojo.

Speaking of passed-on greats, Monte Warden told a story of how his 4-year-old son was once saved by Charlie Robison who jumped a the pool, boots, jeans and grabbed the drowning child. Warden, Lloyd Maines, and Jamie Lin Wilson then performed Charlie Robison’s “My Hometown” in tribute to the Texas legend who passed away in 2023.

Monte Warden / Jamie Lin Wilson

There was also a tribute to James White of The Broken Spoke, featuring Alvin Crow, Dale Watson, and an actual old wagon wheel from The Spoke itself.

Original members of the Texas Tornados Augie Myers and Flaco Jimenez received the Founder of the Sound award. Flaco had to be wheeled out on stage in a wheelchair, but stood up triumphantly as the crowd came to its feet.

“Happy Holidays!” Jimenez said. Then laughed, “What am I saying?” Augie and Flaco remained on stage, running through numerous Texas Tornados songs, including, of course, “(Hey Baby), Que Paso.”

Augie Myers and Flaco Jiminez

Rockabilly 2023 winner Tammi Savoy turned in perhaps the performance of the night. A long-time Ameripolitan community member, she only continues to become more of a phenomenon. Then Ameripolitan Best Rockabilly Male Les Greene took the stage, and blew the doors off, going out into the crowd, dancing all around the stage, and stealing the show Jerry Lee Lewis style.

Tammi Savoy

Kaitlin Butts won the Ameripolitan Award for Honky Tonk Female, but she deserves a second award for the incredible speech she gave afterwards. Fighting back tears, she talked about the struggles women in country music face, both perceived and real, and dedicated her win to all the honky tonk women out there trying to make it in country music (partial video on Instagram).

The house band for the awards consisted of band leader Jason Roberts, fiddle player Katie Shore, Dave Biller on lead guitar, Danny Levin on piano, Don Pawlak on pedal steel guitar, Josh Hoag on bass, and Mike Bernal on drums.

If the Ameripolitan Awards continue to take such leaps forward as they have in the last two years, they are going to be a very serious alternative to the bigger awards shows in the years to come. What started out as a big idea became a big reality in 2024.

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The awards capped off an entire week of festivities. To see more from this weeks Ameripolitan event, check out Saving Country Music on Instagram, and check back for a full report from the various showcases and performance from the weekend coming soon.

2024 Ameripolitan WINNERS:

Honky Tonk Female Nominees

  • Cristina Vane
  • Emily Nenni
  • Hannah Juanita
  • Kaitlin Butts – WINNER

Honky Tonk Male Nominees

  • Dylan Earl
  • Gabe Lee
  • Johnny Falstaff
  • Sterling Drake – Winner
  • Theo Lawrence

Honky Tonk Group Nominees

  • Teddy & the Rough Riders – WINNER
  • The Deslondes
  • The Golden Roses
  • The Shootouts

Western Swing Female Nominees

  • Brennen Leigh – WINNER
  • Meg Ferrell
  • Melissa Carper
  • Stacey Lee Guse

Western Swing Male Nominees

  • Cory Grinder
  • Kevin Mauzy Martin
  • Kyle Eldridge – WINNER
  • Mitch Polzak

Western Swing Group Nominees

  • Carolyn Sills Combo – WINNER
  • Lovesick Band
  • Sad Daddy
  • The Cowpokes

Rockabilly Female Nominees

  • Angie Monroy
  • Gizzelle Becerra DeAnda
  • Mozzy Dee – WINNER
  • Svetlana “Zombierella” Nagaeva

Rockabilly Male Nominees

  • Eddie Clendening
  • Les Greene – WINNER
  • Oleg “Guitaracula” Fomchenkov (aka Oleg Gitarkin)
  • Omar Romero

Rockabilly Group Nominees

  • Black Kat Boppers
  • Messer Chups – WINNER
  • Televisionaries
  • The McCharmlys

Outlaw Female Nominees

  • Kat Hasty
  • Kelsey Waldon – WINNER
  • Taylor Hunnicutt
  • Stefanie Joyce

Outlaw Male Nominees

  • Billy Don Burns – WINNER
  • Dallas Burrow
  • Jason Boland
  • Willy Tea Taylor

Outlaw Group Nominees

  • Banditos
  • Kyle Nix & the 38’s
  • Reckless Kelly – WINNER
  • Supersuckers

Musician Of The Year

  • Eleanor Whitmore – Fiddle
  • Floyd Domino – Piano
  • Jason D Williams – Piano – WINNER
  • Kullen Fox – Horn
  • Lisa Pankretz – Percussion

Ameripolitan Venue Of The Year

  • American Legion Post 82, Nashville TN
  • Gruene Hall, New Braunfels, TX – WINNER
  • Skinny Dennis, Brooklyn, NY
  • Southgate House revival, Newport KY

Ameripolitan DJ Of The Year

  • Ashli Dansby on KMHT RADIO 103.9, MARSHALL, TEXAS
  • The Morning Crew on KCWM, TEXAS
  • Tracy Pitcox on KNEL RADIO, BRADY TEXAS

Ameripolitan Festival Of The Year


All photos by Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos

Gary P. Nunn led off with “London Homesick Blues” that was the Austin City Limits theme song for many years.
The Wonder Women of Country (Brennen Leigh, Kelly Willis, Melissa Carper)
Western Swing Female Winner Brennen Leigh
The Reverend Horton Heat
Scott H. Biram dressed in a track suit and told the legendary fiddle player Alvin Crow, “I’m pretty sure you used to do my aunt Debbie in the ’70s.”
Reckless Kelly winning Outlaw Group
Rachel Brooke presenting the Outlaw Female award that she won in 2023
Rockabilly Male winner Les Greene
Kelsey Waldon wins Outlaw Female
Monte Warden and Jamie Lin Wilson tribute Charlie Robison
Charlie Robison tribute
Darci Carlson handing out an award
Billy Don Burns wins for Outlaw Male
Honky Tonk Group winners Teddy and the Rough Riders
Steel guitar legend and producer Lloyd Maines
Junior Brown
Guitarist Kyle Eldridge winning Western Swing Male
Jake Penrod, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, and Rachel Brooke sing “Thunderstorms and Neon Signs”
Carolyn Sills Combo Win Western Swing Group
Rockabilly Female winner Mozzy Dee
Rockabilly Group Winner Messer Chups
Ameripolitan Winner Jason D. Williams
Honky Tonk Male winner Sterling Drake
Celine Lee and Jake Penrod remember James Hand and Luke Bell
DJ of the Year Del Villareal
Legends of Ameripolitan past lined up at the Moody.
The Grand Finale singing “(Hey Baby), Que Paso?”
© 2023 Saving Country Music