Graham Nash won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual UK Americana Awards, staged last night (31 January) at London’s Hackney Empire by the Americana Music Association UK.
The evening, hosted by broadcaster Bob Harris, culminated in the presentation of Nash’s flagship award by his former colleague in the Hollies, Allan Clarke. It was an emotional reunion for the lifetime friends who, as Clarke said in his speech, have known each other since early schooldays, more than 70 years ago.
Nash, in turn, surprised and moved by Clarke’s appearance, said that he might never have had his music career if the friends hadn’t started singing together as youngsters, and could have been “a good plumber” instead. He then performed his Crosby, Stills & Nash classic ‘Teach Your Children’ with the show’s house band, which included music director Ethan Johns and C.J. Hillman, earlier again named Instrumentalist of the Year.
The Trailblazer Award was won by esteemed producer and longtime Anglophile Joe Boyd, who recalled his first visit to the UK, 55 years ago. Ben Glover won the UK Album of the Year title with Shorebound, with the International category taken by Courtney Marie Andrews’ May Your Kindness Remain. Bennett Wilson Poole were UK Artists of the Year, with Mary Gauthier winning in the international category.
Scottish singer-songwriter Dean Owens’ ‘Southern Wind’ was named UK Song of the Year; Brandi Carlile’s ‘The Joke,’ which has four nomimations at the upcoming Grammy Awards, won International Song of the Year. The Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award, previous recipients of which have been Robert Vincent, Wildwood Kin and the Wandering Hearts, was won by Curse of Lono. Frank Turner’s Be More Kind was named Best Selling Americana Album, while the Grass Roots Award went to the popular Camden, north London venue the Green Note.
Each of the winners received a unique ‘Woody,’ hand-crafted representations of 7” singles turned in a variety of woods, with Nash winning a special 12” edition. There were also live performances by Johns (with a guest appearance by Seth Lakeman), Glover, Jade Bird, Yola, Curse of Lono and Rhiannon Giddens, who was a keynote speaker at the three-day AMA UK Conference that preceded the awards.