Sturgill Simpson walked out of the Ryman Auditorium a winner after the 14th annual Americana Music Awards and Honors last night (Sept. 16). The genre-bending artist, whose country throwback sound has won him critical acclaim, won Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “Turtles All the Way Down.”
Dave Cobb, who produced Simpson’s album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, recalled the emotion he felt when he first heard the award-winning track. “When he came up with the reptilian line, I couldn’t hold it in,” Cobb said. “It was really hard.”
Shakey Graves took the award for Emerging Artist of the Year, which was given to Simpson in 2014. Other winners included singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, who won Album of the Year for her double album, “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone.” The Mavericks were awarded the Duo/Group of the Year Award, while guitarist and producer John Leventhal walked away with the Instrumentalist of the Year Award.
Acclaimed singer-songwriters Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, rock icon Don Henley, latin rock group Los Lobos, and folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie were all awarded with specialized Lifetime Achievement Awards. The night also featured performances from Henley, Lee Ann Womack and Ricky Skaggs.
A condensed version of this year’s Americana Music Awards and Honors ceremony will be aired on PBS later this year.