The third annual UK Americana Awards took place at London’s Hackney Empire last night, rounding off two days of activities at this year’s AmericanaFest UK, including an evening of artist showcases in venues around Hackney on Wednesday 31 January and daytime conferences.
In the company of MU Assistant General Secretary Naomi Pohl, I joined the the audience of guests, AMA-UK delegates and members of the music industry who were treated to performances from Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, a stripped-down, unamplified performance by Mumford & Sons, winners of The Trailblazer Award, plus a surprise collaboration between Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters and Mumford & Sons.
Also taking to the stage were International Artist of the Year 2018 Courtney Marie-Andrews, nominees Imelda May and Angaleena Presley, plus UK Artist of the Year 2018 Emily Barker, as well as UK Album of the Year winner Robert Vincent, Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award recipients The Wandering Hearts, and Award nominees Aaron Lee Tasjan and Worry Dolls. The evening was capped by an all artist finale of ‘Wildflowers’ in tribute to Tom Petty.
Host Bob Harris OBE presented Robert Plant with the AMA-UK’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the genre and introduced a congratulatory video message from Rich Hall. Billy Bragg and Executive Director of the US Americana Music Association Jed Hilly presented the Trailblazer Award to Mumford & Sons. Danny George Wilson and BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McLean presented Come Down & Meet The Folks with the new Grassroots Award and London’s The Wandering Hearts received the prestigious Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award.
The event also saw seven AMA-UK membership-voted Awards presented by Sir Patrick Stewart and Sunny Ozell, Simon Mayo, Frank Turner, Mary Gauthier, Chris Difford, Sam Baker & Stevie Freeman, and Jesse Buckley.
UK Album of The Year
I’ll Make The Most Of My Sins by Robert Vincent
International Album of the Year
The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
UK Artist of the Year
International Artist of the Year
Courtney Marie Andrews
UK Song of the Year
Home by Yola Carter (written by Yola Carter)
International Song of the Year
Tenderheart by Sam Outlaw (written by Sam Outlaw)
UK Instrumentalist of the Year
The recipients of Awards from the AMA-UK Board were:
Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Bob Harris to Robert Plant.
(Selected by the board members, their highest honour is awarded to a UK artist, duo or group in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the Americana genre over the span of their career and life in music).
The Trailblazer Award presented by Billy Bragg & Jed Hilly to Mumford & Sons.
(Selected by the AMA-UK board and celebrating a UK artist, duo or group that has taken an exceptional path, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps in developing the Americana genre).
Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award presented by Bob to The Wandering Hearts.
(Selected by Bob Harris OBE, this special award celebrates the breakthrough artist, duo or group that has particularly impressed the legendary music broadcaster throughout the year).
The Grassroots Award presented by Danny George Wilson & Ralph McLean to Come Down & Meet The Folks.
(A newly-established award selected by the board members, this special award celebrates the sometimes un-sung heroes of the UK Americana scene. It is presented to people working in the industry (in a capacity other than as artists) who have made outstanding efforts to support Americana music from the grassroots).
The Best-Selling Americana Album of 2017 presented by Martin Talbot and footballer Steve Bull to Robert Plant for Carry Fire.
(The AMA-UK works with the Official Charts Company to create the UK Americana Chart. This Award is given to the best-selling Americana Album of the year, by a UK Artist).