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Levon Helm, Krauss/Plant take key Americana honors

Thursday, September 18, 2008 – Levon Helm and Alison Krauss and Robert Plant were the big winners at Thursday's Americana Music Association's seventh Annual Honors & Awards show in Nashville. Helm won artist of the year, while Krauss and Plant took home album of the year for "Raising Sand" and duo/group of the year.

Helm was clearly happy to get the award which came in the wake of his "Dirt Farmer" CD.

Plant and Krauss talked about their experiences after winning each award. Plant said after taking the duo/group honor, "I was never in a band where anybody else could sing. I like it better like this."

"Thank you very much," said Krauss. "I know you want to hear Robert talk some more."

Plant readily spoke up. "She said when we started working together, we can't both be stupid. We have such a ball. We really do. It's a great natural thing. I never could imagine it coming around the corner."

Plant had more comments after taking the album honor. "How did I get here?" he asked rhetorically.

In a homespun style, Krauss said to laughter, "Thanks so much everybody. This is really really nice."

Plant continued, "I came to Nashville 30 or 40 years ago with the other band. We get the keys to the city, and then half-way through (the concert), we were (under) house arrest for inciting something."

"Well, I don't have a story like that," said Krauss.

Other winners:

Instrumentalist of the Year: Buddy Miller

New Emerging Artist of the Year: Mike Farris

Song of the Year: She Left Me for Jesus by Hayes Carll and Brian Keane

Additional Lifetime Achievement Honors were given to:

Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music - Joan Baez

Lifetime Achievement / Songwriting - John Hiatt

Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement / Executive - Terry Lickona of Austin City Limits

Lifetime Achievement / Performance - Jason & The Scorchers

Presidents Award - Jerry Garcia

Lifetime Achievement / Instrumentalist - Larry Campbell

Trailblazer / Nanci Griffith

Lifetime Achievement / Producer / Engineer - Tony Brown

Brown, former head of MCA and an ace producer for the likes of George Strait and Reba McEntire, praised Griffith in giving her an award. When Griffith came up,she started telling information about Brown, who then surprisingly received his own honor.

"I just feel like I get away with murder," said Miller after winning his award.

The 3-hour, 20-minute program was hosted by two-time Americana Honors & Awards and Grammy recipient Jim Lauderdale. Miller also returned as the band leader. Musical guests included Ryan Bingham and Joe Ely, The Sam Bush Band, Kane, Welch and Kaplan, The SteelDrivers, Tift Merritt, Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer, Justin Townes Earle, James McMurtry, Miller and Robert Plant, and Steve Earle and Alison Moorer.

Farris was energized after winning the emerging afrtist award over Justin Townes Earle, Bingham and The SteelDrivers. He later sang during the show with help from a sisters trio on Oh Mary, Don't You Weep No More, a gospel-based song, a very spirited rendition in what proved to be the musical highlight of the night.

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