Jason Isbell wins big, Billy Bragg draws laughs, praise at Americana Awards

Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell won album of the year and song of the year at the 2016 Americana Honors and Awards show on Wednesday night, extending his legacy as a star of Americana music.

Chris Stapleton, Margo Price also win contemporary honours

Jason Isbell, left, is applauded by John Prine, as he accepts the album of the year award for Something More Than Free at the Americana Music Association Honors & Awards Show on Wednesday. (Mark Zaleski/The Associated Press)

Singer songwriter Jason Isbell won album of the year and song of the year at the 2016 Americana Honors and Awards show, extending his legacy as the star of Americana music. 

Since launching his solo career after years with the Drive-By Truckers, Isbell has been racking up both critical acclaim as well as Americana and Grammy awards with his Southern rock albums. He won Wednesday night for his album Something More Than Free, and his song, 24 Frames.

"This community has given us a place that was a lot bigger than it used to be," Isbell said during the show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

"I am not a part of the first generation or the second generation or even the third generation of Americana performers." 

Country singer and songwriter Chris Stapleton, whose 2015 album Traveller became a breakaway platinum hit, took home artist of the year.

Country singer Chris Stapleton won artist of the year during the awards show held Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn., at the Ryman Auditorium.

Stapleton said that before his successful solo country career took off, he wished he could play the Americana award show.

"I used to play in a little bluegrass band called the SteelDrivers," he said "We were just starting out and we would beg and beg and beg to do something. So to be here tonight means a great deal to me."

The emerging artist of the year award went to Margo Price, who sounds like rock version of Loretta Lynn with her hard livin' lyrics on her critically acclaimed debut album Midwest Farmer's Daughter.

Bragg works in Hiddleswift reference

Price spent years trying to shop her music to Music City's major labels and finally found a home at rocker Jack White's label, Third Man Records. She thanked her family, "my in-laws, my outlaws, some of the people that passed on my record, who may be here."

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell won for duo/group of the year and fiddler Sara Watkins won the instrumentalist of the year.

Billy Bragg performed Woody Guthrie's I Ain't Got No Home in This at the Ryman in Nashville during Wednesday's show. (Mark Zaleski/The Associated Press)

Billy Bragg was the first foreign recipient of the spirit of Americana free speech in music award, and he thanked Nashville for its generosity to "wayward Englishmen."

"Not only did you let Tom Hiddleston go out with Taylor Swift, you let him stand on this very stage and impersonate Hank Williams," Bragg joked of Hiddleston's role in the Williams biopic I Saw the Light.

Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir got a standing ovation after receiving the lifetime achievement award for performance, while soul songwriter William Bell received the lifetime achievement award for songwriting and sang a duet with Bonnie Raitt. 

Grammy-winning folk singer Shawn Colvin received the trailblazer award and the president's award went to the late folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie. 

Bragg in his speech honoured the man he, along with the band Wilco, paid tribute to in their Mermaid Avenue projects.

"All of us stand on the shoulders of a great American songwriter and activist, for we are all in debt to the great Woody Guthrie," he said.

Guthrie died in 1967 at 55 after suffering from Huntington's disease.

Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale, the longtime award show host, choked up after he was given the WagonMaster award by country legend George Strait, who has recorded several of Lauderdale's songs.

The two performed a rousing rendition of King of Broken Hearts.

With files from CBC News


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