The Americana Music Association, in a ceremony held May 15 at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and hosted by The Milk Carton Kids, announced the nominees for the six Americana Music Awards. The list of nominees includes some of Americana's biggest names as well as their brightest young talent. Heading up the list of nominees, with four, is multi-time award winner Jason Isbell, who pulled off the unprecedented feat of being nominated both as a solo artist and in the Duo/Group category with his band The 400 Unit. Garnering three nominations each were Brandi Carlile and Margo Price.
Isbell, Price, and Carlile are all up for the night's three biggest prizes, Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year, but in each, they face some stiff competition. Joining them as a nominee for Album of the Year is Mary Gauthier, whose co-write with veterans and their spouses, Rifles and Rosary Beads, has the kind of weight that often makes for an upset. For Artists of the Year, the trio will have to try to wrest the title away from the defending champion, 2017 Artist of the Year John Prine. For Song of the Year, their competition is another Americana superstar, Lee Ann Womack.
The Americana Duo/Group of the Year competition is a young one this time around. Isbell and his band The 400 Unit, which includes 2017 Emerging Act of the Year winner Amanda Shires, will compete with supergroup I'm With Her, which consists of past Americana Award nominees Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins, and Aoife O'Donovan, as well as Southern rockers Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
The Emerging Act of the Year category has often served as a springboard for future Awards and the nominees for 2018 look to keep that trend intact. This year's Emerging Artist nominees include Anderson East, Courtney Marie Andrews, Tyler Childers, and Lilly Hiatt.
The final category, Instrumentalist of the Year, has often gone to longtime veterans of the business who have played on numerous recordings but the 2018 slate is the youngest in Americana Award history. Drummer Jerry Pentecost, who serves as drummer for Amanda Shires, is joined by guitar wizard Daniel Donato, 2017 IBMA Guitarist of the Year Molly Tuttle, and fiddler Brittany Haas of the band Hawktail.
Here is the full list of 2018 Americana Music Award nominees:
Album of the Year: (click for our AXS review of each album)
All American Made- Margo Price
By The Way, I Forgive You- Brandi Carlile
The Nashville Sound- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Rifles & Rosary Beads- Mary Gauthier
Artist of the Year:
Duo/Group of the Year:
I'm With Her
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Emerging Act of the Year:
Courtney Marie Andrews
Song of the Year:
“A Little Pain”- Margo Price
“All The Trouble”- Lee Ann Womack
“If We Were Vampires,”- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
“The Joke”- Brandi Carlile
Instrumentalist of the Year:
The Americana Music Awards will be held Sept. 12, 2018, at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium as part of the Americana Music Festival and Conference.