Black Music Matters Festival

Isbell takes Americana awards

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 – Jason Isbell won two awards - Album of the Year and Song of the Year - at the Americana Music Association Awards on Wednesday at the Ryman in Nashville.

"Well this one's huge," Isbell said. "This community has given us a place that is a lot bigger than it used to be. I was not part of the first generation or the second generation or really the third generation of Americana performers. 15, 16 years ago, playing with the Drive-By Truckers, our place was the Starr Bar in Atlanta...places like the Mohawk in Buffalo, N.Y. and Schuba's in Chicago, Ill. We never expected to get out of those places...We never let on that those places made us unhappy because people don't come to see you sad."

"I feel I can go any place in the world and play this kind of music now," he said.

Isbell also won the Song of the Year for "24 Frames." I didn't expect this," he said, adding that "the record came out a long time ago, and I didn't know if anyone would like this."

"My wife helps me edit songs, and there were songs in the song that didn't need to be there," he said. "If you can, keep people around you if you've done something awful." He was referring to his wife, Amanda Shires Isbell, who plays in his band and has her own career as well.

Chris Stapleton won the Artist of the Year Awards. "I don't know what to say," Stapleton said. "Everybody probably says that when they win an award."

He acknowledged others in the Ryman including Dwight Yoakam and Wynonna Judd. "We begged and begged and begged to do something, but they didn't let us in," Stapleton said. "Standing here (what this) means a lot."

"I really appreciate it," Stapleton said before leaving the stage.

Margo Price won the Emerging Artist Award. "I didn't prepare speech, but I didn't quite forsee this. I'm very thankful for the Americana Music association for recognizing honest music...I'm really happy this exists."

She also thanked "some of the people out there, who might have passed on my record."

She thanked her husband, Jeremy Ivey, "Who believed me and sold our car to be able to do this record." Ivey also plays in her band.

Grateful Dead member Bob Weir appeared to win a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance honor. He said America took music from other regions and countries over the centuries to meld it into something new. "That could only happen here," he said.

Shawn Colvin took the Trailblazer Award, while Woody Guthrie won the President's Award, which was accepted by Lucinda Williams. Soul singer William Bell took home the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting.

Jim Lauderdale was this year's WagonMaster recipient, only the second time the honor has been handed out. George Strait, who has cut many of his songs, gave Lauderdale the honor.

"This means so much to me," Lauderdale said.

Lauderdale reminisced about meeting musicians like Roland White, Buddy Miller and Larry Campbell, who helped him along the way. Mentioning Dwight Yoakam and Marty Stuart, Lauderdale said they "gave me something to aspire to."

Lauderdale talked for awhile about going on the road to support his career and thanking George Strait for recording his songs. Strait soon sang "The King of Broken Hearts" with Lauderdale on acoustic guitar.

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