By Richard Skanse
(Aug/Sept 2012/vol. 5 – Issue 4)
The nominations for the Americana Music Association’s 11th annual Americana Honors & Awards were announced May 31, and as per usual, a handful of Texas artists made the cut. Steve Earle, Hayes Carll, Sarah Jarosz and Robert Ellis are all up for awards of their own, and This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark — the all-star salute to the Monahans-born songwriting legend — is one of the contenders for Album of the Year. The awards will be presented Sept. 12 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium as part of the 13th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference.
Earle, one of several Texas songwriters featured on This One’s for Him, is up against the tribute with his own Album of the Year nomination, for I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive. His “Waiting on the Sky to Fall” was also nominated for Song of the Year. The other Album nominees are Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s Here We Rest and Gillian Welch’s The Harrow & the Harvest, while Isbell’s “Alabama Pines,” Tom T. Hall’s “I Love” (performed by Patty Griffin), and Jarosz’s “Come Around” round out the Song of the Year category. Carll — another This One’s for Him contributor — received his second consecutive Artist of the Year nod; he’s in the running with Isbell and Justin Townes Earle. Ellis, Alabama Shakes, Dawes, and Deep Dark Woods are nominated for Emerging Artist of the year, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Civil Wars, Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are competing for Duo/Group of the Year honors. And even though he’s asked to be retired from competition, perennial winner Buddy Miller is again nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year, along with Rawlings, Chris Thile, and Darrell Scott. As they do every year, Miller will lead the awards-show house band and Jim Lauderdale will emcee. The AMA also will present Lifetime Achievement awards to Booker T. Jones for instrumentalist, Richard Thompson for songwriting, and Bonnie Raitt for performance.
Showcase artists for this year’s Americana Music Festival & Conference, which runs Sept. 12-15, include Brandi Carlisle, Rodney Crowell, Billy Joe Shaver, Kasey Chambers, John Hiatt and many more. For more information about the awards or festival, visit www.americanamusic.org.