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Women and Black Artists Dominate 2022 Americana Nominations

The diversity of the trio of superstar singer-songwriters that lead nominations for the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards was apropos for the nomination ceremony’s setting at Nashville’s National Museum of African American Music.

On Sunday, May 14, the AMA released its top 2022 nominees with three artists earning three selections each: Brandi Carlile as the Americana Awards’ defending Artist of the Year, challengers Allison Russell, an evocative Canadian folk storyteller, and Yola, a boundary-breaking torchbearer for old school. The trio of women is each up for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year.

Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile performing in Minneapolis in 2018
Brandi Carlile

“Here I am travelling around the UK totally lost track of time and space and here I am with a whole host of noms from @americanafest!” Yola tweeted. “Big thanks to everyone that contributed to Stand For Myself, Diamond Studded Shoes and kept me alive long enough to earn another AOTY nom!!”

Here I am travelling around the UK totally lost track of time and space and here I am with a whole host of noms from @americanafest! Big thanks to everyone that contributed to Stand For Myself, Diamond Studded Shoes and kept me alive long enough to earn another AOTY nom!! pic.twitter.com/hcxvXJaIk2

— Yola (@iamyola) May 16, 2022

Yola’s “Diamond Studded Shoes” is an old-school Americana foot-stomper and hip-shaker, characteristic of Ike and Tina Turner era R&B burners. Up against Yola’s new tune will be stiff competition, however.

Allison Russell, a veteran folk singer and social activist, lets her rootsy pipes roar on “Persephone,” a symbolic story of an aching, hidden love. And in “Right on Time,” Carlile lays out a piano-led ballad that allows her emotive, soulful depth to fully express itself.

Singer-songwriter and activist Allison Russell
Allison Russell

Additional artists earning multiple nods include blues singer-songwriter Adia Victoria, who’s up for Emerging Act of the Year as well as Album of the Year for “A Southern Gothic.” Victoria’s new album will be up against “Raise the Roof” from the reunited Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. The pair’s celebrated reunion also earned Plant and Krauss a nomination for Duo/Group of the Year.

The racial and gender diversity emerging in contrast to the Americana genre’s one-time reputation as a bastion of white men was indicative not only in nominations, but at Nashville’s Museum of African American Music. The AMA was happy to acknowledge this inclusion.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the National Museum of African American Music as we unveil this year’s Americana Awards nominees,” AMA’s Executive Director, Jed Hilly, said in a statement. “Thanks to our hosts, Tanya and Michael Trotter of The War and Treaty, Fisk Jubilee Singers, and Adia Victoria for making the event so special. Congratulations to all the member-selected nominees!”

The May fest preceded what will be another stellar autumn show for the AMA Awards.

On Americana’s biggest night, the AMA will honor distinguished members of the Americana music community with six member-voted annual awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards. The winners of each category will be announced during the Americana Honors & Awards on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The celebrated program is the hallmark event of Americana Fest, which returns for its 22nd year from September 13 to 17.

For more than two decades, the prestigious ceremony has celebrated pioneering mainstays and trailblazing newcomers, while featuring unforgettable moments in musical history, including Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s last live performance together, as well as offering show-stopping appearances by k.d. lang, Van Morrison, Mavis Staples, the late John Prine with Bonnie Raitt, Gregg Allman, The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, and many, many more.

Described by Emmylou Harris as “the shining star of Nashville and music everywhere,” the Americana Honors & Awards has been broadcast in years past on CMT, Austin City Limits (on PBS), BBC2, and via SiriusXM Radio.

If you can make it to the show, tickets to the Americana Honors & Awards are on sale now.

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Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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