Once again the Americana Music Festival took over most of the well-known clubs in Nashville for the third week in September. As always it was anchored by the Americana Music Awards show at the fabulous Ryman Auditorium. We’ll post our full coverage of the event over the next few days, and to kick it off, here are some of the highlights of the awards show.
Things started off with a bang, literally, from Old Crow Medicine Show. They added a couple of marching band drums and threaded their way through the crowd doing a version of Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 that would have made John Phillips Sousa proud. Jim Lauderdale then jumped in to do his usual hosting gig, with Larry Campbell fronting the always amazing house band.
A few performances and awards later, the first of the evening lifetime achievement awards went to Iris Dement. John Prine presented the award and gave support to his long-time friend and collaborator during her tearful acceptance. She then did an outstanding Morning Glory, followed up by a duet with Prine on In Spite Of Ourselves, and then Prine with the house band doing Lake Marie. Somehow those 15 minutes really captured a lifetime of music and friendship from two of the folk music greats.
A little while later the Milk Carton Kids walked out to present an award with their usual comic banter. It was sort of head-scratching why they were there (no new album, no performance at the show) until Graham Nash got his lifetime achievement award and brought them on stage to do a replica of a performance of So Sad he did in the sixties with the Everly Brothers. It was a pretty spectacular re-creation and the audience loved it.
The final award recipient was Van Morrison. Morrison was in his usual loquacious, elegant-speaking mood and I captured his entire acceptance speech: “thank you.” He then did his new single, Transformation, and, true to form, walked off the stage before the band finished the final notes. But hey, it’s Van Morrison for goodness sake, and if you expected anything different you haven’t been paying attention the last 5 decades.
The night wrapped up with virtually all the performers, except Van, doing Tulsa Time. Then it was on to the after-party at Robert’s Western World. Here’s the complete list of this year’s award winners.
Americana Music Honors & Awards 2017 Winners and Honorees:
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