The big winner at Wednesday night’s Americana Music Awards was Sturgill Simpson, nabbing "Artist of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” But the show had to do without the Kentucky-born honky-tonk jammer.
Simpson was described at last year's show as “the hero of outlaw country.” Instead of being at the Ryman Auditorium to accept this year's awards, Simpson was on the road touring.
The only award Simpson was nominated for but didn’t win was “Album of the Year,” which went to Lucinda Williams for "Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone."
A band formed 25 years ago was a first-time nominee and won "Group of the Year" — the Mavericks.
"I think we're all in shock," lead singer Raul Malo said. "Holy [expletive], we won something."
A young man from Austin, Texas, who goes by the name Shakey Graves won “Emerging Artist of the Year” honors.
“This is just a massive, continuous semi-religious experience for me," he told the crowd. "Thank you for letting me learn and grow.”
Last year, it was Sturgill Simpson accepting the “Emerging Artist” prize.
The big winner from 2014 was Jason Isbell. While he performed Wednesday night, he was up for just one award, despite spending weeks atop the country album charts with "Something More Than Free."
Americana Music Honors & Awards 2015 Winners
Album of the Year: Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, Lucinda Williams, Produced by Lucinda Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz
Artist of the Year: Sturgill Simpson
Duo Group of the Year: The Mavericks
Song of the Year: "Turtles All The Way Down" Written by Sturgill Simpson
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shakey Graves
Instrumentalist of the Year: John Leventhal
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Don Henley
The Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Lifetime Achievement Award, Instrumentalist: Ricky Skaggs
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Los Lobos
President's Award: BB King