Winners Revealed for the 2023 Ameripolitan Awards
Find a full list of winners and a picture gallery below.
It all started back in 2013 when Blake Shelton though he’d twist off on the fans of classic country music by calling them “Old Farts & Jackasses” and insulted the idea that the roots of country music should be preserved. Dale Watson took it personally, and instead of complaining about it, decided to do something.
Under the maxim of “When opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door,” the Ameripolitan Awards were born to promote music with a prominent roots influence often ignored by the rest of the music industry. First held in Austin for a few years before moving to Memphis—and then in dry dock for the last couple of years due to the pandemic—the Ameripolitan Awards returned on Sunday, February 19th at the Guesthouse at Graceland theater in Memphis in arguably the best presentation yet.
Big winners on the night included Sierra Ferrell, who won the first award on the night for Western Swing Female, with Wild Earp and The Lucky Stars also winning in the category. Many-time nominee Scott H. Biram finally won for Outlaw Male, Jenny Don’t and the Spurs won for Outlaw Group, and Rachel Brooke won for Outlaw Female.
“I’ve never won anything before,” Rachel Brooke said. “They won’t even give me a gold card at the bank … I won’t let you down.”
Jeremy Pinnell took Honky Tonk Male, with Summer Dean winning the Female Award, and giving the acceptance speech of the night, saying he was proud to win an award with the terms “Honky Tonk” and “Female” in the title, and thanked farmers for keeping us fed and clothed. “God bless Texas, and God bless country music!” she said. Austin mainstays Croy and the Boys won Honky Tonk Group.
Ameripolitan is all about awarding the people who deserve awards, but never won them, and that was a theme for the night. Musician of the Year Katie Shore also won her first award ever. “I never played with Johnny Rodriguez before either,” Katie said in her acceptance speech.
Other winners in non performer awards were DJ Jimi Palacios, Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance won for Festival of the Year, and a venue in Munich, Germany called the Rattlesnake Saloon won for Venue of the Year.
For years it was customary for country legend James Hand to open the show. James passed away in 2020, so that honor fell to Brennen Leigh, Melissa Carper, and Katie Shore formerly of Asleep at the Wheel singing “Tell Him I’m Dead.”
Throwback country artist Jake Penrod, Georgia Parker, rockabilly group the Hi-Jivers, the “King of Juke Joint Swing” Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Chuck Mead and Joey Simeone of BR549 and the Bellfuries respectively, Eleanor and Bonnie Whitmore aka The Whitmore Sisters, and others also performed during the awards show.
Along with the annual winners, there were also the Lifetime Achievement recipients. This included the 71-year-old country music legend Johnny Rodriguez receiving the Master Award. Rodriguez received no less than four standing ovations during his speech and performances. Rodriguez performed with his daughter Aubry.
Old school rock and rockabilly legend Nick Curran received the Keeper of the Key Award marking the 10th Anniversary of his passing.
Also, The Adams Brothers out of Ohio who helped form the backing bands for folks such as Johnny Paycheck and George Jones were honored with the Founder of the Sound Award. Gary H. Adams passed away in 2022, but brothers Don and Arnie were on hand to accept the award. Saving Country Music contributor and commenter Kevin Smith was key to making the accolade happen.
The awards were hosted by Big Sandy and Grey DeLisle, who everyone in attendance will attest did a stellar job, and created many hilarious moments. Celine Lee and Dale Watson also deserve big credit for a successful year.
The awards are a culmination of a whole weekend of festivities that transpired in Memphis. A full recap of all the happenings and performances from the 2023 Ameripolitan weekend is forthcoming. In the meantime, you can check out SCM on Instagram where many top performances were highlighted.
2023 Ameripolitan Awards Winners
HONKY TONK FEMALES:
Summer Dean – WINNER
HONKY TONK MALES:
Garrett T. Capps
Jeremy Pinnell – WINNER
HONKY TONK GROUPS:
Cory Grinder & The Playboy Scouts
Croy and the Boys – WINNER
Rachel Brooke – WINNER
IV and the Strange Band
Scott H. Biram – WINNER
Vincent Neil Emerson
Dallas Moore Band
Jenny Don’t And The Spurs – WINNER
The Rhyolite Sound
The Whitmore Sisters
WESTERN SWING FEMALE:
Sierra Ferrell – WINNER
WESTERN SWING MALE:
A Jay Wade
Wild Earp – WINNER
WESTERN SWING GROUP
The Southwest Biscuit Company
West Of Texas
Western Swing Authority
The Lucky Stars – WINNER
Amy Griffin on Guitar
Jane Rose – WINNER
Nick Roulette – WINNER
Sean K. Preston
The Hi-Jivers – WINNER
The Phantom Shakers
Daniel Mason – Banjo
Katie Shore – Fiddle – WINNER
Kullen Fox – Trumpet + Piano
Mike Bernal – Drums
T Jarrod Bonta – Piano
Celia Villagran – Texas Hellkitten Radio
Jimi Palacios – Country Du Monde – WINNER
Kevin Martinez – COLONEL PACO CHAOS PACOBILLY HOUR
MARIVI YUBERO GARCIA – Marivipolitan
Del Villarreal Go Kat, GO! The Rock-A-Billy Show!
Knuckleheads, Kansas City, Missouri
Rattlesnake Saloon – Munich, Germany – WINNER
Roosters Country – Mesa, AZ
The Southgate House Revival – Newport, KY
Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance – Taos, NM – WINNER
Western Swing Out – Tehachapi, CA
Vintage Torque Fest – Dubuque, IA
Zoofest – Lincoln, NE
February 19, 2023 @ 10:12 pm
What are the requirements to be considered for Western Swing? Seems like Sierra is outside the traditional structures of Bob Wills, Asleep ATW, etc.
February 20, 2023 @ 5:24 am
She’s kinda hard to classify, but whatever genre you put her in, she’s definitely making a splash and selling out shows all over the country (and world)!
February 20, 2023 @ 7:32 am
I agree. Seems Brennen Leigh really owned that award with her great Western Swing album.
Robert's Country Blog
February 20, 2023 @ 8:41 am
I enjoyed seeing Brennen last month. I found that she’s also very familiar with early country music like Roy Acuff and the Louvin Brothers and first generation bluegrass. I liked her show so much that I bought a ticket to see her again in a couple of months.
February 20, 2023 @ 12:58 pm
Melissa/Brennan/Kelly together, there are a number of related videos.
February 19, 2023 @ 11:46 pm
The whole week was smooth
February 20, 2023 @ 1:23 am
calling Georgia “rockabilly”’ lol
February 20, 2023 @ 4:27 am
Happy for Jeremy Pinnell and Summer Dean, i love them!
A solid line up indeed and a cool way of discovering new artists.
February 20, 2023 @ 5:24 am
Unreleated but Tyler showed up last night in Lexington to do Jersey Giant with Elle King
February 20, 2023 @ 5:52 am
I like Croy and the Boys a lot, but I always get the feeling he’s just LARPing, even down to becoming a landscaper in Austin after graduating from Bowling Green U. The outfit in the photos does nothing to dispel that suspicion.
February 20, 2023 @ 9:27 am
Had a conversation last night with Croy. He told me he’s been working an electrician’s apprenticeship for two years that he took during COVID because he couldn’t play music and doesn’t have a college degree. Also, there is a big Western fashion aspect to Ameripolitan, with a fashion show and designers on site. Those weren’t Croy’s clothes, but something he was lent. You may not like Croy’s music for some reason and that’s fine. But I think you’ve got your info wrong about him.
February 20, 2023 @ 11:24 am
Oh no, I love his music, actually. He’s just always struck me as a guy who is putting on an image. Happy to be wrong about it though.
February 22, 2023 @ 12:06 pm
Croy is as real as they get.
February 20, 2023 @ 7:42 am
I’m so happy to see the return of the Ameripolitan awards! What Dale Watson has accomplish in such a brief time is nothing short of incredible. What people may not realize as of yet is how much significance this may ultimately bring to the landscape of American music. This is akin to creating a lasting subgenre like how Bill Monroe did for Bluegrass and allowed it to grow, develop and evolve into a completely distinct music as what is it today. My hope is that future performers will embrace this and other form of TRUE country music and keep the flames of traditions burning forever brightly.
February 20, 2023 @ 7:47 am
Georgia Parker is a rockabilly artist? She’s mentioned twice here as ‘rockabilly’. What did I miss??
February 20, 2023 @ 9:23 am
Folks, I’m not the one who decides which genre folks get up in when it comes to Ameripolitan. I’m not sure if Ameripolitan does either. It’s where folks get nominated by voters, who are fans. Just edited out “rockabilly” in regards to Georgia Parker.
February 22, 2023 @ 11:38 pm
Georgia Parker is a past winner of Western swing group and female in 2020.
February 20, 2023 @ 7:49 am
About time Rachel got some recognition!
February 20, 2023 @ 8:08 am
Hell yeah, she’s awesome! Any word on the release date for your new album, or directions for a preorder?
February 20, 2023 @ 11:27 am
Not trying to steal anyone’s thunder, but I will have all physical media in hand in June. Looking at a release date of 6/23 with pre-order opening next month on bandcamp.
February 20, 2023 @ 12:08 pm
Thanks for the update! The video for ‘Everything Follows This’ has some really cool animation and the song has me excited for the rest of the album. Really looking forward to it!
February 20, 2023 @ 9:27 am
I guess too that I should also “thank” Blake Shelton for helping to create Ameripolitan. He will forever be remembered as one of its founding fathers, albeit not in the way he would have intended, 😆.
Wilson Pick It
February 20, 2023 @ 6:11 pm
Looks like a fun party.
February 20, 2023 @ 6:56 pm
Want to explore more Ameripolitan artists including people who didn’t get nominations this time around,? Our Ameripolitan subreddit helped put a playlist together:
This is mostly the country, not rockabilly side of ameripolitan. A few neotraditional folks snuck in. The r/ameripolitan sub address is linked in my commenter name if I want to explore more.
February 21, 2023 @ 1:30 am
thank you for this!
February 21, 2023 @ 2:10 am
there are a few other Ameripolitan playlists on that same youtube channel (i don’t have any videos, only playlists). I’m particularly fond of the Ameripolitan Women one- there are some real gems in the songs there. I’m going to make more- I never got a chance to put together one of just the nominees from this year yet. I think playlists are a major way that people find this music.
February 20, 2023 @ 8:57 pm
Dale is a badass, I’m in Austin. If Blake could eat those words I’m sure he would with a little salsa maybe. Amazing to see the success of Ameriolitan in such short order yes. 🎸🇺🇸
February 21, 2023 @ 7:55 am
Completely unrelated, I love that Blake Shelton is running tour ads on this website, like anyone that reads this blog would go to his show. They keep talking about how smart AI is, but this looks pretty dumb to me.
February 21, 2023 @ 8:40 am
The buyers of the ads have more control of where they end up than I do. You’re probably right, they don’t have their demographics straight if they are advertising on this site, and ironically, it’s probably because I mentioned Blake Shelton in this article that AI thought “Ooh! This is a good place.”
February 21, 2023 @ 9:03 am
Contextual display ads, they are placed when the content of the page matches the ad key phrases. Oh Blake. I clicked it just to see if I wanted to go and decided I didn’t. 😂
This is my go to site for music, thank you for doing this.
February 21, 2023 @ 10:09 am
Just got back from Memphis. Another awesome weekend put on by Dale and Celine. The line up was excellent and the Ameripolitan movement is picking up a lot of steam after taking it on the chin by the covid shut downs.
I can’t think of another event that people can go to with their heroes, and those heroes hang out and talk with the attendees. As usual, Dale made everyone there feel like family.
Discovered several artists that weren’t on my radar before( Jeremy Pinnell, West of Texas and the Hi-Jivers in particular). Kaitlin Butts was particularly impressive, her talent jumps off the stage. Wow!!
Thank you to Dale and Celine.
If youve never been to the Ameripolitan Weekend, it needs to be on your list.