Last night, in a glittering ceremony at Hackney Empire in London, the winners of 2023’s UK Americana Awards, powered by Sweet Home Alabama, were revealed.
During a remarkable evening celebrating the best in UK and international Americana music, acclaimed US singer-songwriter Allison Russell and English roots singer-songwriter and pianist Elles Bailey received two awards each; Russell for International Artist of the Year and International Song of the Year and Bailey for UK Artist of the Year and the newly-established UK Live Act of the Year.
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant won International Album of the Year for Raise The Roof (produced by T Bone Burnett) and its UK counterpart was awarded to Superhuman by Ferris and Sylvester (produced by Ryan Hadlock and Michael Rendall).
London-based singer-songwriter Hannah White triumphed in the UK Song of the Year category for her self-penned “Car Crash”. Finger-style guitartist and one of the UK’s only female professional pedal steel players Holly Carter took home the award for UK Instrumentalist of the Year.
The award for the best-selling Americana album of the year, in association with the Official Charts Company, was scooped by Frank Turner for FTHC.
A heartfelt rendition of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Allison Russell, Elles Bailey and Miko Marks paid tribute to the ground-breaking contribution to the genre of the late Loretta Lynn, who was given a special Songwriter Legacy Award in honour of her life and work. Her granddaughter Emmy Rose Russell accepted the award via video from the USA.
Other prestigious awards, conferred by the AMA-UK Board, were presented to: Judy Collins (International Lifetime Achievement Award), Mike Scott of The Waterboys (UK Lifetime Achievement Award), Nickel Creek (International Trailblazer Award), BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McLean (Grassroots Award) and The Hanging Stars (Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award).
The UK Americana Music Awards show was hosted by broadcasters Baylen Leonard and Bob Harris and special guest award presenters on the night included: Martyn Joseph, Ward Thomas, Robert Elms, Shaun Keaveny, Katherine Priddy, Tim Dowling, Lauren Down and Bev Whitrick, Ben Earle, Patrick Kielty, Ricky Ross, Belinda O’Hooley & Heidi Tidow, Paul Gambaccini, Andy Facer from Sweet Home Alabama and Becca Monahan from The Official Chart Company.
The audience of music industry delegates, artists and fans were treated to wonderful performances from Judy Collins, Mike Scott of The Waterboys, Frank Turner, Allison Russell, Lady Nade, Nickel Creek, The Hanging Stars, The Heavy Heavy, Ferris and Sylvester, Simeon Hammond Dallas, Elles Bailey and Miko Marks. The evening was brought to an emotional close as the assembled artists, led by Judy Collins, sang “Amazing Grace”, backed by the all female house band led by Michele Stodart (The Magic Numbers), and Hackney Empire Community Choir.
The Awards ceremony rounded off an exceptional UK Americana Music Week which took place from Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th January in Hackney, London and also featured a 4 day industry conference attended by 300 delegates and 2 nights of exclusive showcases from 80 artists in 6 venues.
Marking its 10th anniversary in 2023, UK Americana Music Week and Awards has gone from strength to strength since its inception with huge increases in delegate numbers, artists involved and Americana Music Association UK (AMA-UK) members. Its impact has been widespread, raising the profile of the genre, providing a platform for new and established talent, including opportunities for UK artists at festivals here and abroad, and establishing the Official UK Americana Chart in conjunction with The Official Chart Company.
The Americana Music Association UK continues to focus on its PRS Foundation Keychange pledge to deliver a minimum 50:50 gender balance in female participants at 2023’s UK Americana Music Week, alongside working hard to ensure an inclusive and diverse line-up across the whole event, including showcases from indigenous Canadian artists William Prince and Digging Roots.