In this afternoon’s announcement of the nominees for the 21st annual Americana Honors & Awards, presented by the Americana Music Association, we see that Billy Strings has been nominated for Artist of the Year.
While there is usually a limited amount of crossover in the AMA Awards, with a bluegrass artist or two earning a nomination, it is rare to see one receiving this top line notice, a bit like IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year award. Of course Billy draws an audience from well outside the bluegrass fan base, but his music remains decidedly bluegrass.
The uniqueness of this honor is underscored by a listing of the others nominated in this category.
- Brandi Carlile
- Jason Isbell
- Allison Russell
Two other grassers received an AMA nod, with both Justin Moses and Shelby Means nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year. Justin plays every instrument in the book, records widely as a session player in Nashville, and occasionally tours with his wife, Sierra Hull. Shelby has been the bass player with the recent Molly Tuttle bluegrass tour, and worked for several years with Della Mae.
Winners will be announced on September 14 during the Americana Honors & Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium, in the midst of the annual AmericanaFest.
Best of luck to all the nominees, but go Billy!