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Miller, Earle, Gauthier Among Top Nominees for Annual Americana Music Awards

Musicians Steve Earle, Mary Gauthier, and Tift Merritt lead the list of nominees for the 4th Annual Americana Honors and Awards. The nominations for the awards are decided by the international membership of the Americana Music Association.

Buddy Miller's "Worry Too Much" has been nominated for the Americana Song of the Year, with his album United House of Prayer also nominated for Album of the Year. This is the third time that Miller has been nominated for the album honor, an honor he won in 2003 for Midnight and Lonesome. Buddy Miller is now the most-nominated artist in the organization's short history, having received six in the four years the honors have been handed out.

The other nominees for "Album of the Year" are: Mary Gauthier's Mercy Now, Tift Merritt's Tambourine and Steve Earle's The Revolution Starts Now.

Steve Earle is also nominated for Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year. His three nominations this year are his first for Americana Music Honors and Awards. At the Nashville award ceremony last year, he was presented with the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center's Spirit of Americana Free Speech award.

In addition to handing out Free Speech and Album of the Year Awards, the Americana Music Association will also present trophies for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and New or Emerging Artist of the Year, during their September 9 ceremony. Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be given out in the songwriting and performer and executive categories.

John Prine received the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting in 2003. This year he's vying against Steve Earle, Buddy Miller and Tift Merritt for Artist of the Year honors. Prine's new CD, Fair And Square is receiving strong reviews from critics worldwide. He'll be hard to beat.