The Americana Music Association celebrated with the 22nd Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Nashville, Tenn.’s Ryman Auditorium, bestowing accolades upon renowned figures. Over the night, the audience was treated to captivating performances by a star-studded lineup of artists, including 49 Winchester, Adeem the Artist, Allison Russell, Angel Olsen, Bettye LaVette, Bonnie Raitt, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Hermanos Gutiérrez, Logan Ledger, Margo Price, The Milk Carton Kids, Nickel Creek, Noah Kahan, Patty Griffin, Rufus Wainwright, S.G. Goodman, Sunny War, The War and Treaty, and William Prince.

As for awards and honors, Billy Strings was crowned Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year, further solidifying his status as a central figure in the Americana scene. Tyler Childers won the Album of the Year award for his critically acclaimed self-produced record, Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?. Legendary singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt was honored with the Song of the Year award for her song “Just Like That.”

The War and Treaty, comprised of Michael and Tanya Trotter, clinched the Duo/Group of the Year title for the second year in a row. S.G. Goodman was named the Emerging Act of the Year, while SistaStrings, the dynamic sister duo Chauntee and Monique Ross, were honored with the Instrumentalist of the Year award.

The evening also featured the presentation of Trailblazer Awards to The Avett Brothers and Nickel Creek by two-time Artist of the Year Brandi Carlile and surprise presenter Kacey Musgraves, respectively. Patty Griffin received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, a well-deserved honor presented by first-time presenter Sarah Silverman.

A poignant moment occurred as First Amendment Center’s John Seigenthaler and the Tennessee Three, consisting of Democratic lawmakers Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson, presented Allison Russell, the 2022 Album of the Year winner for Outside Child, with the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award.

Americana stalwart and 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Buddy Miller returned as musical director for the Americana All-Star Band, which featured Brady Blade, Catherine Popper, Fred Eltringham, Jen Gunderman, Jim Hoke, Larry Campbell, and The McCrary Sisters. Miller also presented George Fontaine Sr. with the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement for Executive award.

The event also celebrated the 50th anniversary of two iconic and beloved albums, with Rufus Wainwright paying tribute to Tom Waits’ Closing Time and Milk Carton Kids and Noah Kahan offering a heartfelt homage to Paul Simon’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.

LaVette graciously accepted the Legacy of Americana Award (in partnership with the National Museum of African American Music [NMAAM]), presented by Noelle Taylor and Steve Jordan.

Enjoy some photos from the evening and find more information on the Honors & Awards and AMERICANAFEST here.

2023 Honors & Awards Winners:

Album of the Year: Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?, Tyler Childers; Produced by Tyler Childers

Artist of the Year: Billy Strings

Duo/Group of the Year: The War and Treaty

Emerging Act of the Year: S.G. Goodman

Song of the Year: “Just Like That,” Bonnie Raitt; Written by Bonnie Raitt

Instrumentalist of the Year: SistaStrings

The 22nd Annual Americana Honors & Awards is the hallmark event of AMERICANAFEST week, which continues through this Saturday, September 23.