Master producer, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader Buddy Miller led the way Wednesday night among nominees for the 8th annual Americana Honors & Awards show. Miller received five nominations in the six member-voted categories. Emerging star Justin Townes Earle, son of songwriting giant Steve Earle, received three bids, while Alejandro Escovedo, The Flatlanders and Australia’s Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson each garnered two.
Sam Bush and Phoebe Hunt from the Belleville Outfit announced the nominees Wednesday evening in a press conference at BMI’s Music Row lobby. The 2009 nominees were selected by members of the Americana Music Conference, with eligibility based on work released between June 1, 2008 and May 1, 2009.
The show will be held September 17 at the Ryman Auditorium, and will again be hosted by Jim Lauderdale, with Miller once more leading the house band for the occasion. The ceremony will also recognize Lifetime Achievements and present awards in Performance and Songwriting areas. In addition, the Spirit of Americana Award, a special citation honoring Free Speech in Music will be presented.
The show is part of the various festivities for the 10th annual Americana Festival and Special Conference that runs Sept. 16-19 at the Nashville Convention Center. More than 80 showcases will be held during those evenings at key locales throughout the city. Last year’s event attracted more than 12,000 fans and approximately 1,000 professionals.
Written in Chalk, the disc featuring Miller and his wife Julie, competes with Escovedo’s Real Animal, Earle’s Midnight at the Movies and the self-titled Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit for Album of the Year.
Raul Malo joins Miller, Escovdeo, and Earle as Artist of the Year nominees. Miller shares the Instrumentalist of the Year spotlight with Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Gurf Morlix. Band of Heathens, Belleville Outfit and Sarah Borges join Earle in the New & Emerging Artist category.
Buddy and Julie Miller compete with Reckless Kelly, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, and The Flatlanders for Duo Group of the Year. “Chalk,” a tune written by Julie Miller and performed by Buddy Miller & Patty Griffin is among the tunes vying for Song of the Year. The others are “Country Love” by the Gourds, “Homeland Refugee” by Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock and performed by the Flatlanders, “Rattlin’ Bones,” written and performed by Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, and “Sex and Gasoline,” written and performed by Rodney Crowell.
Additional honorees and performers will be announced later. A limited number of per-sale tickets for $55 are now available through the Americana online store (americanamusic.org) or by calling 386-6936. Wristbands granting admission to all four evenings of live music showcases are also now available online for $45 at the same address.
Full-conference registrations allowing access to all panels, presentations, trade shows, and other events are $400 for non-members and $300 for AMA members.