Carlile was named Artist Of The Year. Simpson earned Album Of The Year for his 2020 release, Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (The Butcher Shoppe Sessions), which Simpson produced with David Ferguson. Prine, who died in April 2020 due to COVID-19 complications, was given the Song Of The Year award for his final recording, “I Remember Everything,” which was co-written with Pat McLaughlin. Prine’s widow, Fiona Prine, and their children accepted the award on Prine’s behalf.
The Duo/Group Of The Year award was given to Black Pumas and the Instrumentalist Of The Year award went to Kristin Weber. Charley Crockett was named Emerging Act of the Year, the singer-songwriter humbly accepted the award, noting he was already 11 albums into his career and saluting his fellow nominees while recognizing he was the only male musician nominated.
Lifetime Achievement honors were given to The Fisk Jubilee Singers (Legacy of Americana Award, co-presented with the National Museum of African American Music [NMAAM]), The Mavericks (Trailblazer), Keb’ Mo’ (Performance), Trina Shoemaker (Producer/Engineer) and Carla Thomas (Inspiration).
The evening featured several performances, many backed by a house band led by Buddy Miller with Don Was, Jen Gunderman, Jim Hoke, David Mansfield, Jerry Pentecost, Aaron Lee Tasjan and The McCrary Sisters. Carlile performed several times, singing her latest single “Right On Time,” as well as Prine’s “I Remember Everything” with Margo Price and Amanda Shires. Carlile also joined the supergroup The Highwomen, with Shires, Maren Morris, Yola, Natalie Hemby and others. Valerie June performed with Carla Thomas, and Steve Earle honored his late son Justin Townes Earle. Additional performers included Amythyst Kiah, Sarah Jarosz and Jason Isbell, as well as Allison Russell, The Mavericks, Charley Crockett, Keb’ Mo’, The Fisk Jubille Singers, Carla Thomas and more.
The evening began with the house band paying tribute to The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts with Tasjan leading a cover of “Can’t You Hear My Knocking.” Miller also paid tribute to Nashville songwriting legend Tom T. Hall with a performance of “How I Got To Memphis.” The night ended with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell making a surprise appearance in honor of The Everly Brothers.
Watch the Americana Honors & Awards 2021 ceremony below: