|Last week was inevitably one to remember for roots music fans.
Bonnie Raitt and John Hiatt pose for a picture at the Americana Music Honors and Awards, held Sept. 12, 2012, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Stacie Huckeba)
On Sept. 12, the Americana Music Association kicked off their festivities with an awards show like no other at the Ryman Auditorium.
Opening the night, was a rousing performance of “Green Onions” by a house band lead by Buddy Miller and included Larry Campbell, Kenny Vaughan, Brady Blade, Rami Jaffee, Don Was and the man who made the song famous, Booker T. Jones.
Big winners for the night included Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch who took home awards for Instrumentalist of the Year and Artist of the Year respectively.
Rising stars, Alabama Shakes, beat out a handful of young nominees, which included Dawes, Deep Dark Woods and Robert Ellis for New/Emerging Artist of the Year.
The Civil Wars won in the Duo/Group of the Year category while Jason Isbell captured the award for Song of the Year with “Alabama Pines.”
With these three awards, there was a resurgence exemplified in the Muscle Shoals region as Isbell, Alabama Shakes and The Civil Wars’ John Paul White all hail from around this region.
The high moment of the awards came when Tamara Saviano and Shawn Camp accepted the award for Album of the year for “This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark.” Occurring not long after Clark performed “My Favorite Picture of You,” this showed a good idea of the respect and honor that went into the album.
Other awards for the evening included lifetime achievement awards for Bonnie Raitt in performance, Booker T. Jones for instrumentalist and Richard Thompson for songwriting.
Soon after the awards ended, the showcases began in venues across Nashville for the next four days. A few of the artists who performed were Brandi Carlile, John Hiatt, North Mississippi Allstars, Billy Joe Shaver, The Wallflowers, Rodney Crowell and many more.
There aren’t too many places you can see artists like Hayes Carll, Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell join forces in tribute to Levon Helm with “The Weight,” but the AMA has provided those opportunities and intends to do so for years to come.
This past weekend, the annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion paralleled the scene in Nashville with a loose vibe and three days of music.
The festival in the mountains has gained energy in recent years, attracting groups like Drive-By Truckers, Dawes, Justin Townes Earle along with veterans like Del McCoury, Jim Lauderdale, Ricky Skaggs and Sam Bush.
This year artists ranged from groups like City and Colour and Dr. Dog all the way to Robert Earl Keen and Billy Joe Shaver.
Nashville’s Kenny Vaughan and Sam Lewis provided a mix and match combo through the weekend playing several stages and venues during Friday and Saturday.
One of the most exciting groups to see over the weekend, was South Carolina’s Shovels and Rope. Its “sloppy-tonk” style was prevalent throughout the fest and left its mark on many.
The Black Lillies, Deep Dark Woods, Jonny Fritz and many others were joys to see over the weekend, just to name a few.
Over the past years, the festival has made great improvements as it has expanded its outdoor venues with more stages and tents along with visual enhancements on its website and social media.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed, as the festival is one of the hidden gems among music festivals in Tennessee, proving that it’s more than just roots music that holds it together.
It’s the branches, the limbs and other intangibles that keep it going strong.