Music

Traditional Country Honored at 2016 Ameripolitan Awards

Photo: Mandy Lea

Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre played host to traditional country musicians from around the world during the third annual Ameripolitan Awards on Tuesday night.

Texas music extraordinaire Ray Benson emceed the show, which honored the year’s best in Ameripolitan, a genre coined by the event’s founder, Dale Watson.

What is Ameripolitan? All the honky-tonk, Western swing, outlaw and rockabilly music that’s been edged out the country format by the mainstream industry over the years.

The crowd of more than 1,200 looked like a 1950s dancehall packed on a Saturday night. Vintage cars and trucks dropped off guests at the red carpet. Musicians sporting Nudie suits and Western dresses, adorned in cowboy hats and bolo ties filled the venue. Country legends strolled casually through the aisles, chatting with folks in the beer line.

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Photo: Jennifer M. Ramos
AmeripolitanPressWeb-4
Photo: Mandy Lea

Benson and Watson provided colorful banter throughout the evening, keeping the atmosphere loose and jovial. When a nominee’s name was read, cowboy whoops and hollers leaped out from the crowd. Between the awards, the all-star band, which included master picker Redd Volkaert and fiddler Jason Roberts, backed special guest performances.

One of the evening’s highlights was a performance by Charlie Pride, who accepted this year’s highest honor, the Master Award.

Photo: Mandy Lea
Photo: Mandy Lea

The Ameripolitan Awards was exactly what an awards show for traditional country music should be, and it was a refreshing juxtaposition to the vapid glamour of the Grammy Awards the night before.

As Benson mentioned at the opening of night, other country awards shows don’t showcase this side of country music. The CMAs? As far as Benson’s concerned, that stands for “Country My Ass”.

Here’s a list of the 2016 Ameripolitan Awards winners:

HONKY TONK FEMALE

Margo Price

HONKY TONK MALE

Charlie Thompson

HONKY TONK GROUP

Jeff Woolsey & Dancehall Kings

ROCKABILLY FEMALE

Marti Brom

ROCKABILLY MALE

Wayne Hancock

ROCKABILLY GROUP

The Bellfuries – Taylor Norwood, Sean Crooks

WESTERN SWING FEMALE

Carolyn Martin

WESTERN SWING MALE

Jason Roberts

WESTERN SWING GROUP

Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition

OUTLAW FEMALE

Bonnie Montgomery

OUTLAW MALE

Whitey Morgan

OUTLAW GROUP

Jason Boland & The Stragglers

AMERIPOLITAN VENUE

The White Horse, Austin, Texas

AMERIPOLITAN MUSICIAN

Jason Roberts

AMERIPOLITAN DJ

Ted Branson

AMERIPOLITAN FESTIVAL

San Angelo Cowboy Gathering

MASTER AWARD

Charlie Pride

FOUNDER OF THE SOUND 

Wanda Jackson, Red Simpson

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Traditional Country Honored at 2016 Ameripolitan Awards