The Americana Music Association has announced the nominees for its fifth annual Americana Honors and Awards. Singer-songwriter James McMurtry leads with three nominations. McMurtry, son of prizewinning author Larry McMurtry, has been nominated for the organization's Song of the Year, Artist of the Year and Album of the Year awards.
James McMurtry is a natural born storyteller. His seventh CD, Childish Things, is filled with some of his best songs to date. So it's no wonder that the Texan could sweep the major musical categories when the Americana Honors and Awards are handed out September 22. But Childish Things has some tough competition in the Album of the Year category. The other three nominees are Soul's Chapel, by Marty Stuart, Delbert McClinton's Cost of Living, and The Outsider, from Rodney Crowell. That album features "Don't Get Me Started," also nominated for the AMA Song of the Year.
Rodney Crowell's "Don't Get Me Started" is one of the four nominees for the Americana Music Association's Song of the Year for 2006. It's a tough category this year. The other nominees are James McMurtry's "We Can't Make It Here," and the Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Make Nice." Rosanne Cash is also nominated in that category for her heartbreakingly sad song of loss "Black Cadillac."
Other award categories this year include Instrumentalist of the Year, Duo or Group of the Year, and New or Emerging Artist. The AMA also hands out several special achievement awards, including The Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award, given out in conjunction with The First Amendment Center. Last year, that honor went to Judy Collins. AMA's Executive Director, Jeff Green, explains the purpose of this award.
"It's to recognize, and celebrate free speech, he said. It doesn't lean right, or left. It's about people who have the ability to speak their mind," he said. "And we all know how important that is these days, as the media must remain free, and artist must be able to speak freely. And so the people who win it really personify that philosophy. Johnny Cash won it the first year, received it the first year. And then we gave it to Kris Kristofferson in 2003, and then to Steve Earle."
In all, 11 trophies, one more than last year, will be handed out when the winners of the fifth annual Americana Honors and Awards are announced during a September 22 ceremony in Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. The new category for 2006 is Duo or Group of the Year. The nominees are Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez, The Drive-By Truckers, Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockerell, and the trio of Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin.