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Simpson takes two AMA honors

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 – Sturgill Simpson won the biggest award of the night at the Americana Music Association awards show - Artist of the Year - on Wednesday.

Simpson, who was on tour, won a second award as well, Song of the Year for "Turtles All the way Down."

Simpson could not attend the show because he was on tour. He won over songs by Shakey Graves, Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt and Steve Earle & the Dukes.

Lucinda Williams took the final award of the night, Album of the Year, for "Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone." "This is such an honor, it's really really moving," Williams said, wiping tears away.

The Mavericks won Duo/Group award. "I think everybody's in shock," said lead singer Raul Malo. "Holy shit, we won something....this means a lot to us...we're proud to support Americana."

Shakey Graves took home Emerging Artist Award at the 14th annual awards show. The Texas artist told the crowd, "This is just too much I got to say...This is just a continuous, massive semi-religious experience for me. Thank you for allowing me to learn and grow and continuing challenged."

John Leventhal won the first award of the evening ,the Instrumentalist of the Year.

Leventhal said he if was asked decades ago to consider the likelihood of a new genre emerging and that he would be on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium winning such an award "I would have thought that person had problems with their powers of prognostication or sobriety issues," Leventhal said when considering the idea decades ago of whether a new genre like Americana would sprout up.

Leventhal said he was influenced by the likes of Ricky Skaggs and Ry Cooder, among others, who would play later in the night. He said the greatest honor would be a musician down the road who might utilize his licks.

Leventhal also thanked Rosanne Cash for letting him play "a whole lot of instruments" on her records. She also happens to be his wife and presented him with the award."

Earlier in the evening, Buffy Saint-Marie won the Free Speech Award and played "Universal Soldier." Don Henley of The Eagles won a Lifetime Achievement award and sang "Praying for Rain." Ricky Skaggs also took home an achievement award before playing "Glory Land" with Ry Cooder and The Whites, which includes his wife Sharon.

Robert Randolph started the evening off musically with help from the Fairfield Four and the McCrary sisters. Houndmouth, a band from Indiana, played "My Cousin Greg." Blues singer Keb Mo' paid tribute to the late BB King.

Other performers included The Lone Bellow's "Then Came the Morning" and Rhiannon Giddens with "Water Boy."

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