|Type||not-for-profit music organization|
The Americana Music Association (AMA) is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American Roots Music around the world.Toward these ends the organization works with Americana artists, radio stations, record labels, publishers, and others to create networking opportunities and to develop an infrastructure that will assure visibility and economic viability. Additionally, the organization works to increase brand recognition of Americana music and its artists. The Association produces events throughout the year including the annual Americana Music Festival and Conference and the Americana Music Honors & Awards typically held together in the fall. The AMA also manages and publishes radio airplay charts. It publishes newsletters, conducts market research, and disseminates information about important events in the Americana community.
Americana is an amalgam of American music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the musical ethos of the United States, specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel, and other external influences. Americana, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is "contemporary music that incorporates elements of various mostly acoustic American roots music styles, including country, roots rock, folk, gospel and bluegrass resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band."
Since 1999, the Americana Music Association has helped American roots music assume an elevated and secure place in the artistic and commercial life of the nation. What began as an informal gathering of dedicated colleagues has grown into a movement endorsed by major media and iconic artists. The Recording Academy added the category of “Best Americana Album” in 2009,and Merriam-Webster included the musical term into the dictionary in 2011.
Merriam-Webster, Inc., is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries.
The AMA has not only been a refuge for artistry in a time of tumult for popular music, but also, a resource for hundreds of upcoming artists, songwriters, musicians, and producers. Today, Americana is one of the best selling music genres according to Billboard’s Top 20 album charts - with artists like Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars, The Lumineers and more, becoming the mainstream and not the exception.
The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.
Mumford & Sons are a British band formed in 2007. The band consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane.
The Avett Brothers are an American folk rock band from Concord, North Carolina. The band is made up of two brothers, Scott Avett and Seth Avett along with Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon. Mike Marsh (drums) and Bonnie Avett-Rini (piano) are touring members of the band.
In the late 1990s, a group of about 30 volunteers from radio, record labels and media met informally at the South by Southwest music industry conference in Austin, Texas, to discuss collective action that could help the Americana community, including the possibility of a trade association. A facilitated retreat in October 1999 galvanized the idea, and the Americana Music Association was born. Early the following year, the Association hosted its first annual Americana Night at South by Southwest, and then in September 2000, the AMA held its first convention at the Hilton Suites in downtown Nashville, featuring showcase performances by Sam Bush, Rhonda Vincent, Rodney Crowell, and Jim Lauderdale. The Americana Honors and Awards were added to the convention in year three, and the evening proved moving and historic. Americana icons Emmylou Harris, Billy Joe Shaver, and T-Bone Burnett were given lifetime achievement awards for performing, songwriting, and executive achievement, respectively. After much behind-the-scenes planning, the audience was treated to a surprise performance by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash with members of the Cash family. Johnny accepted the AMA’s first-ever “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award with a stunning recitation of his song-poem “Ragged Old Flag,” and then, despite his failing health, he and June led their family band through a set of songs that reached back through time. It turned out to be the last public performance the Cash’s would ever give together.
South by Southwest is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. In 2017, the conference lasted for 10 days with SXSW interactive lasting for five days, music for seven days and film running concurrently for nine days.
Charles Samuel Bush is an American mandolinist who is considered an originator of progressive bluegrass music.
Rhonda Lea Vincent is an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
Over time, the fall event attracted larger groups of fans and industry conferees. In response, the organization formally changed the name of its event to the Americana Music Festival and Conference, welcoming not just those in the business, but anyone with a passion for music. By 2008, the event had expanded to four days, moved its Awards Show to the historic Ryman Auditorium, and attracted nearly 1,000 industry professionals, plus a cumulative total of over 12,000 visitors for the nighttime showcases.
Ryman Auditorium is a 2,362-seat live-performance venue located at 116 5th Avenue North, in Nashville, Tennessee. It is best known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974 and is owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
Each year’s emotionally charged musical performances have been as varied as Americana itself: Levon Helm’s Ramble at the Ryman; John Fogerty in a packed Mercy Lounge; Grace Potter with the Waybacks channeling the Grateful Dead at the Cannery Ballroom; then newcomers, The Avett Brothers at the Station Inn with an audience of 150. The Civil Wars performed a breathtaking rendition of “Barton Hollow” at the Gibson Showroom which streamed live on Music City Roots where the world took notice. An unannounced duet by Robert Plant and Buddy Miller drove noted acerbic music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz to gush, “Their passion was palpable. My only desire was to get closer. My only hope was that the music would never end.”
Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm was an American musician and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and one of the vocalists for the Band. Helm was known for his deeply soulful, country-accented voice, multi-instrumental ability, and creative drumming style, highlighted on many of the Band's recordings, such as "The Weight", "Up on Cripple Creek", and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".
Ramble at the Ryman is a 2011 live album recorded by American rock multi-instrumentalist Levon Helm during his September 17, 2008 performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. The performance kicked off the beginning of the Americana Music Festival & Conference. The album features six songs by The Band and other cover material, including songs from previous Helm solo releases. Helm's band is led by multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell and Helm's daughter, vocalist and mandolinist Amy Helm.
John Cameron Fogerty is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Together with Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and his brother Tom Fogerty, he founded the band Creedence Clearwater Revival, for which he was the lead singer, lead guitarist and principal songwriter. The group had nine top-ten singles and eight gold albums between 1968 and 1972, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Indeed, the annual fall festival and conference has attracted some of the most important figures in the history of Americana Roots Music, including Mavis Staples, Gregg Allman, Judy Collins, John Prine, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Solomon Burke and Lyle Lovett.
International medias have taken notice as well, including Paste journalist Geoffrey Himes to declare the Americana Honors, “the best awards show in the world,”and noted author Ann Patchett, writing for The New York Times , proclaimed the Americana movement as “the coolest music scene today.”
Fueled by musical legends Bonnie Raitt, Booker T. Jones and Richard Thompson, the next generation of stars including Alabama Shakes, Punch Brothers and John Fullbright, along with music industry heavyweights, the 2012 Americana Music Festival and Conference saw over 15,000 fans, 300 artists and more than 1,200 music industry professionals, experiencing the unparalleled five-day celebration of American Roots inspired music.
The Association’s capstone event, the Americana Music Honors & Awards aired live nationally on September 12 via AXS TV, broadcast via SiriusXM, WSM radio, and streamed by NPR.org. Musical segments of the Americana Honors & Awards show appeared on PBS nationwide during a special presentation: "ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2012" beginning November 10, 2012, in the Austin City Limits time slot. Additional international radio broadcasts via BBC2 and Voice of America began airing September 23.
Founding Council of The Americana Music Association:
Al Moss, Beverly Paul, Bill Wence, Brad Paul, Brad Hunt, Chris Marino, Dan Einstein, Dan Herrington, Dennis Lord, Grant Alden, Greg Hils (RIP), J.D. May, Jack Emerson (RIP), Jeff Weiss, Jessie Scott, Jim Caligiuri, Jon Grimson, Leslie Rouffé, Marie Arsenault, Mike Hays (RIP), Paul Schatzkin, Renee Grace McIntosh, Rod Seagram, Scott Robinson, Stephen Bond Garvan, Steve Wilkison, Sue Fawver, Tiffany Suiters Rizzo, Traci Thomas, Van Tucker
Steven Paul "Buddy" Miller is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist and producer, currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. Miller is married to and has recorded with singer-songwriter Julie Miller.
Emmylou Harris is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She has released dozens of albums and singles over the course of her career and won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, and numerous other honors, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2018 she was presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rosanne Cash is an American singer-songwriter and author. She is the eldest daughter of country musician Johnny Cash and Vivian Liberto Cash Distin, Johnny Cash's first wife.
Old Crow Medicine Show is an Americana string band based in Nashville, Tennessee, that has been recording since 1998. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on September 17, 2013. Their ninth album, Remedy, released in 2014, won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. The group's music has been called old-time, folk, and alternative country. Along with original songs, the band performs many pre-World War II blues and folk songs.
Rodney Crowell is an American musician, known primarily for his work as a singer and songwriter in country music. Crowell has had five number one singles on Hot Country Songs, all from his 1988 album Diamonds & Dirt. He has also written songs and produced for other artists.
CityFolk Festival is a folk music festival held annually in Ottawa, Canada.
MerleFest is an annual "traditional plus" music festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina on the campus of Wilkes Community College. The festival, which is held the last weekend in April, was hosted by Grammy Award winner Doc Watson prior to his death and is named in memory and honor of his son, Eddy Merle Watson, who died in a farm tractor accident in 1985.
John Leventhal is a five time Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, songwriter, and recording engineer who has produced albums for William Bell, Michelle Branch, Rosanne Cash, Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, Joan Osborne, Loudon Wainwright III, The Wreckers and many others.
The American singer Emmylou Harris has released 26 studio albums, three live albums, 11 compilation albums, three video albums, and 70 singles. After releasing a debut folk album on the Jubilee label in 1969 and recording with Gram Parsons, Harris signed with Reprise Records in 1974.
Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons are an Americana, folk rock band that started in Appleton, Wisconsin. The band consists of Cory Chisel and Adriel Denae. Past members include Rick Setser, Paul Mannone, Miles Nielsen, Daniel McMahon, Adam Plamann, Noah Harris, and Charles Koltak. The band gets its name from the wandering, fluid nature of the musicians that work with Chisel and Denae.
The Black Lillies are an Americana band from Knoxville, Tennessee that was founded in early 2009 by Cruz Contreras. Their present lineup includes Contreras, Sam Quinn on bass, Bowman Townsend on percussion, and Dustin Schaefer on electric guitar and vocals.
The Grammy Award for Best Americana Album is an honor presented to recording artists for quality albums in the Americana music genre at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".
The Steel Wheels are an American roots music, Americana group of folk musicians, based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. They released Wild As We Came Here in 2017.
The Americana Music Honors & Awards is the marquee event for the Americana Music Association. Beginning in 2002, the Americana Music Association honors distinguished members of the music community. Six member-voted awards and several Lifetime Achievement Awards are handed out while over 2000 artists, music-loving fans and entertainment industry executives look on.
The Americana Music Festival & Conference is a music festival and music industry conference that takes place every year. The first was held in 2000. It has since grown into a five-day multi-venue production. It is run by the Americana Music Association which is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to promote awareness, provide a forum, and advocate for the creative and economic vitality of the Americana music genre.
Jed Hilly is the current Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. Hilly was formerly the vice-president of Digital Asset Management and Marketing Services at Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.