John Prine, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, I'm With Her, and The War and Treaty among the 2019 Americana Fest award winners

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Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
Mavis Staples, Michael Trotter of The War and Treaty, and Elvis Costello, among others, onstage for the grand finale during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

It was a night of powerful performances and equally powerful speeches as the 2019 Americana Music Association's Honors and Awards ceremony took place Wednesday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

John Prine took home a pair of honors, with Song of the Year for "Summer's End" and Album of the Year for The Tree of Forgiveness, produced by Dave Cobb. "This album's been my album of the year for about a year and a half now," Prine said in his acceptance speech. "I loved making it."

Singer-songwriter and producer Brandi Carlile took home the Artist of the Year award, and in so doing, honored each of the other three nominees in her category: Rhiannon Giddens, Kacey Musgraves and Mavis Staples. And Staples, for her part, was honored with the Inspiration Award, presented by The First Amendment Center. Staples' award was given onstage by civil-rights activist Dr. Ernest "Rip" Patton, who delivered a moving speech while wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with a prisoner number he was given after being arrested as a Freedom Rider in Jackson, Miss., in 1961.

The ceremony, which clocked in at nearly four hours, was capped by Staples' rousing performance of "Change," followed by an ensemble performance of the standard, "I'll Fly Away."

The Milk Carton Kids, Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, once again hosted the program with poise and wit. A particular highlight for the Milk Carton Kids came when they introduced and played the music of the President's Award recipients, songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who published more than 1,500 songs that have been performed in every decade since the 1950s.

The night was not without its occasional glitches, however. There were numerous mics that didn't go live right when then were supposed to, and a handful of presenters struggled with the pronunciation of J.S. Ondara's surname. The evening's most obvious error came when Rhiannon Giddens — co-recipient, with (posthumously) Frank Johnson, of the new Legacy of Americana Award — had to repeat her performance of "Wayfaring Stranger" after a portion of the song was not recorded. Giddens also asked that her accordion accompanist, Francesco Turrisi (with whom she collaborated on the recent album, There Is No Other), be properly introduced. When Ryan and Pattengale confessed they didn't know how to pronounce Turrisi, Giddens made his introduction. Both performances of the song, however, absolutely captivated the audience.

Other performance highlights of the evening included Bonnie Raitt and John Prine duetting on Prine's song (famously covered by Raitt), "Angel From Montgomery," Amanda Shires' performance of "Parking Lot Pirouette," J.S. Ondara's performance of "American Dream," and Brandi Carlile's performance of "The Mother."

The complete list of winners appears below.

2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Award Winners

Album of the Year
The Tree of Forgiveness, John Prine, produced by Dave Cobb

Artist of the Year
Brandi Carlile

Duo/Group of the Year
I'm With Her

Emerging Act of the Year
The War and Treaty

Instrumentalist of the Year
Chris Eldridge

Song of the Year
"Summer's End," John Prine, Written by Pat McLaughlin and John Prine

Legacy of Americana Award
Rhiannon Giddens and Frank Johnson

President's Award
Felice and Boudleaux Bryant

Lifetime Achievement for Songwriter
Elvis Costello

Lifetime Achievement for Performance
Delbert McClinton

Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award
Maria Muldaur

Inspiration Award
Mavis Staples

External Link

Americana Music Association - official site

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12 Photos

  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    Brandi Carlile is seen onstage after winning Artist of the Year during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    (L-R) Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids speak onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • Milk Carton Kids at 2018 Americana Music Honors and Awards
    Joey Ryan (L) and Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids hosting the 2018 Americana Music Honors and Awards; the duo returned as hosts in 2019. (Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    Mavis Staples onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville
    Ryman Auditorium at night (courtesy Ryman Auditorium)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    Elvis Costello performs onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    John C. Reilly onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    J.S. Ondara and Lori McKenna speak onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    (L-R) Bonnie Raitt and John Prine perform onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    Bonnie Raitt and John Prine perform a duet of Prine's song, 'Angel From Montgomery,' at the 2019 Americana Music Association's Honors and Awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. (NPR)
  • Photo from the 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    (L-R) Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan and Sara Watkins of I'm With Her speak onstage after winning Duo/Group of the Year during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)
  • 2019 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards
    Brandi Carlile speaks at the podium during the Americana Music Association's Honors and Awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (NPR)