Isbbell received the album honor for "Southeastern," which was well received by many critics. His song "Cover Me Up," written for and performed with his wife, singer-fiddler Amanda Shires, took home song honors.
The remaining awards went to Sturgill Simpson for emerging artist, Milk Carton Kids for group/duo of the year and Buddy Miller for instrumentalist of the year.
Loretta Lynn, Taj Mahal and Flaco Jimenez received lifetime achievement awards. Lynn took theh Lifetime Achievement Honor for Songwriting, receiving it from two of her contemporary devotees, Angaleena Presley, a fellow coal miner's daughter, and Kacey Musgraves. Lynn followed with a performance of "Coal Miner's Daughter." Browne won the Spirit of Americana Award/Free Speech in Music honor co-presented by the First Amendment Center.
Jimenez took the lifetime achievement award as an instrumentalist, while Mahal was honored with the lifetime achievement award in performance.
The President's Award went to the late Jimmie Rodgers with the award presented to Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Miss.
Performers included Lynn, Jimenez, Mahal and Browne, Cassandra Wilson, Flaco Jimenez, Hard Working Americans, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Jim Lauderdale, Marty Stuart, Parker Millsap, Robert Ellis, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Ry Cooder, The Devil Makes Three, The McCrary Sisters, Valerie June, Simpson and Isbell.
Robert Plant, a previous Americana Award winner, joined Patti Griffin for "Ohio;" Hard Working Americans featuring Elizabeth Cook sang Colin Linden and Kevin Gordon's "Down to The Well;" Sarah Jarosz played "Fuel the Fire," The Milk Carton Kids offered "Snake Eyes" in their two guitar style, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, introduced by John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars, took on "Grass is Greener."
The all-star finale included Cash, Joe Henry, Ry Cooder and more joining the house band for the Johnny Cash classic "Get Rhythm."