Paula and I attended the third annual UK Americana Awards on Thursday 1 February 2018, at London’s Hackney Empire, which rounded off two days of activities at this year’s AmericanaFest UK, including an evening of artist showcases (including Billericay fave Lauren Housley) in venues around Hackney on Wednesday 31 January alongside daytime conferences.

The event was hosted by Bob Harris OBE and we were treated to performances by artists at the top of their game, accompanied by a ‘house band’ led by the legendary Ethan Johns, including: Robert Vincent; Courtney Marie-Andrews; Imelda May; Emily Barker (with a hauntingly beautiful solo rendition of ‘Over My Shoulder’ – you could hear a pin drop!); The Wandering Hearts (with a stunning acoustic version of ‘Burning Bridges’); Aaron Lee Tasjan (with a show-stopping ‘Ready To Die’ – my performance of the night) and the Worry Dolls.

We also enjoyed an ‘unplugged’ performance by Mumford & Sons. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters rounded off the night which included a surprise collaboration between Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Mumford & Sons with an unexpected appearance of Seth Lakeman!  The evening was capped by an all artist finale of ‘Wild Flowers’ in tribute to the late Tom Petty.

As a voting member of the AMA-UK, I was looking forward to finding out how successful my nominations were this year (I correctly nominated four winners in 2017).  Whilst not as successful as 2017, I was delighted with the success of two of my nominations and favourite artists: Robert Vincent and Sam Outlaw.

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 celebrates the sometimes un-sung 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