Brandi Carlile and Sturgill Simpson were two of the night’s big winners at the 2021 Americana Honors and Awards, held Wednesday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Carlile won the Artist of the Year honor for a second time (she previously won the same award in 2019), while Simpson won Album of the Year for radically reworking his old material on Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 1 (The Butcher Shoppe Sessions).
Carlile’s been on a white-hot streak since releasing By the Way, I Forgive You in 2018. In the last year, her artistry not only consisted of recording a new album — In These Silent Days is out October 1st — but also producing peer artists, activism, and writing her memoir, Broken Horses. For his part, Simpson demonstrated the breadth of both his musicianship and songwriting by enlisting some A-list bluegrass pickers to recast his country and rock songs into acoustic form.
Black Pumas, who won the Emerging Act of the Year award at 2020’s virtual ceremony, were named the 2021 Duo/Group of the Year. Another perennial winner, the late John Prine, shared the Song of the Year prize with Pat McLaughlin for the standalone release “I Remember Everything.” Hyper-prolific singer-songwriter Charley Crockett, who just released the Music City USA album, took home the Emerging Act of the Year prize, while veteran fiddler Kristin Weber was named Instrumentalist of the Year.
Here is the full list of winners from the 2021 Americana Honors and Awards, including special recognitions for Carla Thomas, the Mavericks, Trina Shoemaker, Keb’ Mo’, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Album of the Year: Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (The Butcher Shoppe Sessions), Sturgill Simpson, Produced by David Ferguson and Sturgill Simpson
Artist of the Year: Brandi Carlile
Song of the Year: “I Remember Everything” John Prine, written by Pat McLaughlin and John Prine
Duo/Group of the Year: Black Pumas
Emerging Act of the Year: Charley Crockett
Instrumentalist of the Year: Kristin Weber
Legacy of Americana Award, presented in partnership with the National Museum of African American Music: Fisk Jubilee Singers
Trailblazer Award: The Mavericks
Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance: Keb’ Mo’
Lifetime Achievement Award for Producer/Engineer: Trina Shoemaker
Inspiration Award: Carla Thomas