Taking home the award for Album of the Year for The Nashville Sound, Song of the Year for “If We Were Vampires” and Duo/Group of the Year along with his band the 400 Unit, Jason Isbell was the big winner at the 2018 Americana Music Awards.
Legendary songwriter John Prine, who released his latest album The Tree of Forgiveness this year, won Artist of the Year.
Kentucky troubadour Tyler Childers was named Emerging Artist of the Year, while bluegrass artist Molly Tuttle took home the award for Instrumentalist of the Year.
Hosted by Americana duo The Milk Carton Kids, this year’s ceremony included performances from Lilly Hiatt, Margo Price, Tyler Childers, Anderson East, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, k.d. lang, Rosanne Cash, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Irma Thomas and more.
Read More: 10 Must-See Artists at AmericanaFest 2018
In addition to the general categories, there were special awards given to artists throughout the night. Rosanne Cash was awarded the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award. The honor comes 16 years after her father, Johnny Cash, won the inaugural “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech award.
The Americana Trailblazer award went to k.d. lang. The honor coincided with the 25th anniversary of lang’s groundbreaking album Ingenue.
Chris Williamson and Judy Dlugacz of trailblazing record label Oliva Records, which championed women artists, were awarded the Americana Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement for Executive award.
Irma Thomas, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans,” was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. Plagued by technical difficulties during her performance of her classic hit “Time is On My Side,” Thomas returned to the stage to perform the song a second time, which was met with a standing ovation from the audience.
The Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist went to blues legend Buddy Guy, who followed his acceptance speech with a rousing performance of his song “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues.”
The show closed with a tribute to Aretha Franklin, featuring Brandi Carlile, Irma Thomas, Courtney Marie Andrews, War and Treaty and the McCrary Sisters performing Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”
2018 Americana Music Award Nominees
Instrumentalist of the Year
Molly Tuttle — WINNER
Emerging Artist of the Year
Courtney Marie Andrews
Tyler Childers — WINNER
Duo/Group of the Year
I’m With Her
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit — WINNER
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Song of the Year
“A Little Pain,” Margo Price (written by Margo Price)
“All the Trouble,” Lee Ann Womack (written by Lee Ann Womack, Waylon Payne and Adam Wright)
“If We Were Vampires,” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (written by Jason Isbell) — WINNER
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile ( written by Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth)
Artist of the Year
John Prine — WINNER
Album of the Year
All American Made, Margo Price
By the Way I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
The Nashville Sound, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit — WINNER
Rifles and Rosary Beads, Mary Gauthier