2021 Americana Awards: Brandi Carlile Artist of The Year, Sturgill Simpson Album of The Year


Grammy-winnisongwriter Brandi Carlile added another trophy to her shelf as she won artist of the year at the 2021 Americana Honors and Awards show,while country singer Sturgill Simpson took home the album of the year award.

The annual awards show returned in-person on Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, after it was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

“To be artist of the year after a year like we have all had as a community, there’s a weight to it and I know it’s profound,” said Carlile. “Because it was hard to be an artist this year.”

Simpson won for “Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 - The Butcher Shoppe Sessions,” in which he recorded bluegrass versions of his songs. Simpson did not attend, so Shooter Jennings accepted the award on his behalf.

Carlile made the most of her pandemic year, releasing a memoir and working on a follow-up to her breakout 2018 record “By The Way, I Forgive You.” This is her second artist of the year trophy, after winning in 2019.

The late folk singer John Prine, who Carlile called “the godfather of Americana,” won song of the year for “I Remember Everything.” Prine died in 2020 due to COVID-19 complications. The song also won two Grammy Awards earlier this year.

“We are so grateful for this posthumous recognition, John’s last recorded song,” said Fiona Prine, his widow, who noted how Prine was a champion of women in the genre, often taking them out on tour with him.


After the win, Carlile, Amanda Shires and Margo Price performed Prine’s heartfelt ballad during the awards show that honored the genre’s origins, its present and future stars.

Many performances during the show honored artists who have passed away, including a tribute by Steve Earle to his son Justin Townes Earle, Buddy Miller singing one of Tom T. Hall’s songs and Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell singing an Everly Brothers’ classic “Let It Be Me.” Other performers included the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Jason Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires, Amythyst Kiah and Valerie June.

Several artists received lifetime achievement awards, including blues singer Keb’ Mo,′ the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the pioneering rock-country band The Mavericks, soul singer Carla Thomas and producer/engineer Trina Shoemaker.

Singer Allison Russell introduced Thomas, now 78, as “one of fiercest, most indomitable voices in recorded music” who was one of the original artists on the Memphis label Stax Records. Often called the Queen of Memphis Soul, Thomas performed one of her pop hits, “B-A-B-Y,” bringing the crowd to their feet for a standing ovation. “I am so grateful,” she said. “Thank you, Americana.” 

Congratulations to Brandi Carlile...

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