Americana Music Association Announces Lifetime Achievement Honorees

The Americana Music Association has announced its 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees. The five honorees, Robert Cray, the Hi Rhythm section, Iris DeMent, Graham Nash, Larry Sloven, and Bruce Bromberg will be celebrated at Americana’s 16th Annual Honors & Awards held at the Ryman Auditorium on September 13. The event serves as the official kick-off for the 18th annual AMERICANAFEST: The Americana Music Festival & Conference. As previously announced, Van Morrison will be receiving the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at the event as well.

Robert Cray will receive the AMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for over four decades and has five Grammy wins. After bursting onto the scene as band leader for the Robert Cray Band in 1974, he and his band became responsible for bringing the timeless soul sound of their mentors John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Albert Collins to a younger audience. Throughout his career, he has performed with Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, BB King, Bonnie Raitt and the late Chuck Berry, among others.

The Hi Rhythm section will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist. During the ’70s, they served as the late producer Willie Mitchell’s secret weapon for his vision of Memphis soul, providing their incomparable musicianship for hit Hi Records albums by artists like Al Green and Ann Peebles at the historic Royal Studios in Memphis, Tenn. Originally formed in the late ’60s, members include the late Mabon “Teenie” Hodges (guitar), Rev. Charles Hodges (organ), LeRoy “Flick” Hodges (bass), Howard Grimes (drums), the late Al Jackson, Jr. (drums) and Archie “Hubbie” Turner (keyboard).

Iris DeMent is receiving the Americana Association’s 2017 Trailblazer Award. Her independent 1992 debut Infamous Angel landed her a deal with Warner Bros. in 1993 without any support from mainstream radio. Over the next two decades, DeMent never shied away from using her voice and songwriting craft to address topics such as sexual abuse, religion and government policy throughout her work.

Graham Nash is the recipient of the Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award, co-presented by the First Amendment Center. A two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his roles as a member of the Hollies and supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (and later Young), the Grammy award-winning singer’s passionate voice continues to be heard in support of peace and social and environmental justice. The No Nukes/Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts he organized with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in 1979 remain seminal benefit events. In 2011, Nash was instrumental in bringing MUSE back to the forefront with a concert to benefit Japan disaster relief and groups promoting non-nuclear energy worldwide.

HighTone Records founders Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg are the recipients of the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive. In the mid-’80s, they  bonded over their wide-ranging roots music tastes and sought out an opportunity to create a label home for the melting pot of influences that is now Americana music. For 25 years, HighTone Records produced 300 album releases and a number of landmark projects including the release of the first and longest running #1 Americana Radio Airplay album, Tulare Dust: A Songwriter’s Tribute to Merle Haggard, and even a Grammy award for Dale Alvin’s King of California.

The Americana Honors & Awards Show will take place at the Ryman Auditorium on September 13. Tickets for the 16th annual Americana Honors & Awards are made available for purchase with an AMERICANAFEST conference registration, which can be purchased here.

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About the Author

Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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