The third annual UK Americana Awards took place at London’s Hackney Empire on Thursday 1 February, thereby rounding off two days of activities surrounding this year’s AmericanaFest UK.

A unique evening celebrating the thriving UK and international Americana music scene unfolded as an audience of guests, AMA-UK delegates, members of the music industry and the public were treated to performances from Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, a stripped back acoustic performance from the front of the stage by Mumford & Sons, winners of The Trailblazer Award, plus a unique, surprise collaboration between Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters and Mumford & Sons on the Leadbelly inspired Led Zeppelin classic “Gallows Pole”.

This flourishing, but defiantly niche musical movement, raised it’s game this year at a sardine-packed Hackney Empire as legendary presenter, and host, Bob Harris OBE compered the evening’s festivities. The calibre of luminaries handing out this year’s awards ranged from Squeeze’s Chris Difford, Billy Bragg, Frank Turner, Simon Mayo and surprise guest of the evening Sir Patrick Stewart, who professionally handled his microphone failing as his booming natural voice held the stage.

This remarkable evening also showcased performances from a stable of very promising artists as well as the more established performers. This included International Artist of the Year 2018 Courtney Marie-Andrews and fellow nominees Imelda May and Angaleena Presley and UK Artist of the Year 2018 Emily Barker as well as UK Album of the Year winner Robert Vincent, Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award recipients The Wandering Hearts and Award nominees Aaron Lee Tasjan and Worry Dolls.

The evening’s finale was a fine tribute to Tom Petty, as all of the artists and award winners assembled onstage for a heartfelt performance of Petty’s “Wildflowers”.

Whisper it loud, Americana is on the up and the UK has some of its best emerging and established talent.

Winners of the seven membership-voted Awards were as follows:

UK Album of The Year presented by Simon Mayo

I’ll Make The Most Of My Sins by Robert Vincent (produced by Robert Vincent, Michael Gay and Etienne Girard)

International Album of the Year presented by Sir Patrick Stewart & Sunny Ozell

The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (produced by Dave Cobb)

UK Artist of the Year presented by Frank Turner

Emily Barker

International Artist of the Year presented by Mary Gauthier

Courtney Marie Andrews

UK Song of the Year presented by Chris Difford

Home by Yola Carter (written by Yola Carter)

International Song of the Year presented by Sam Baker & Stevie Freeman

Tenderheart by Sam Outlaw (written by Sam Outlaw)

UK Instrumentalist of the Year presented by Jesse Buckley

Thomas Collison 

Recipients of Awards from the AMA-UK Board:

Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Bob Harris

Selected by the board members, their highest honour is awarded to a UK artist, duo or group in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the Americana genre over the span of their career and life in music.

Recipient 2018: Robert Plant

The Trailblazer Award presented by Billy Bragg & Jed Hilly

Selected by the AMA-UK board and celebrating a UK artist, duo or group that has taken an exceptional path, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps in developing the Americana genre.

Recipient 2018 – Mumford & Sons

Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award

Selected by Bob Harris OBE, this special award celebrates the breakthrough artist, duo or group that has particularly impressed the legendary music broadcaster throughout the year.

Recipient 2018: The Wandering Hearts

The Grassroots Award presented by Danny George Wilson & Ralph McLean

A newly-established award selected by the board members, this special award celebrates the sometimes unsung heroes of the UK Americana scene. It is presented to people working in the industry (in a capacity other than as artists) who have made outstanding efforts to support Americana music from the grassroots up.

Recipient 2018 – Come Down & Meet The Folks

The Best-Selling Americana Album of 2017 presented by Martin Talbot and Steve Bull

The AMA-UK works with the Official Charts Company to create the UK Americana Chart. This Award is given to the best-selling Americana Album of the year, by a UK Artist.

Recipient 2018 – Robert Plant for Carry Fire

Words: Paul Davies / Photos: Richard Young Photography / Chris Difford image by Chris Harvey

The Americana Association UK
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Event Date: 01-Feb-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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