Americana Music Association Awards & Honors

The Americana Music Association handed out its yearly awards and honors Thursday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. The evening, which is a part of a four-day festival and conference, was hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featured an All-Star Band led by Buddy Miller.

The following were the nominees, with the big winners of the evening in bold:

Album of the Year:
Trouble in Mind, Hayes Carll
Raising Sand, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant
Just Us Kids, James McMurtry
Dirt Farmer, Levon Helm

Duo/Group of the Year:
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

Drive By Truckers
Kane Welch Kaplin
The Avett Brothers

Artist of the Year:
Steve Earle
Levon Helm
Jim Lauderdale
James McMurtry

Instrumentalist of the Year:
Buddy Miller

Chris Thile
Gurf Morlix
Sam Bush

New Emerging Artist of the Year:
Justin Townes Earle
Mike Farris
Ryan Bingham
The SteelDrivers

Song of the Year:
“Broken,” Tift Merritt (written by Tift Merritt)
“Cheney’s Toy,” James McMurtry (written by James McMurtry)
“Gone Gone Gone,” Alison Krauss & Robert Plant (written by Don & Phil Everly)
“Poor Old Dirt Farmer,” Levon Helm (written by Tracy Schwarz)
“She Left Me for Jesus,” Hayes Carll (written by Hayes Carll & Brian Keane)

Lifetime Achievement Awards:
John Hiatt (songwriting)
Jason & the Scorchers (performance)
Tony Brown (producer/executive)
Larry Brown (instrumentalist)
Terry Lickona (executive (Austin City Limits))

Trailblazer Award: Nanci Griffith

“Spirit of Americana” Free Speech in Music: Joan Baez

President’s Award: Jerry Garcia

“She Left Me For Jesus,” Hayes Carll (keep watching until the end for Hayes Carll’s explanation of the future video for this song…)


  1. I guess I can agree with most of the winners. In my perfect world, “She Left Me For Jesus” would be up for Song of the Year at the CMAs, as well. I don’t know how CU’s doing Kevin’s traditional year-end countdowns this year (given that there are now five contributing writers), but if “She Left Me For Jesus” doesn’t make our best singles list, I quit.

  2. I completely understand that people enjoy the song “She Left Me For Jesus”. It’s creative, fresh, and completely different than what is on country radio today and what is considered part of the mainstream. I can’t help but enjoy the melody and even the idea of the song. However, I get uncomfortable with the lyrics of the song and my uneasiness would probably be shared by a good majority of people listening to the song. There is no way that this song would go up for Song of the Year at the CMAs and I’m actually quite appalled that it won in the Americana Awards. I an not well versed in the traditions and characteristics of Americana music, but am aware of its more politcal, populist, left-leaning tones of many of the artists. It is healthy that there is a place for these artists to thrive. However, claiming a song that speaks about kicking Jesus’ ass just does not send the right signal to me, a younger listener trying to branch away from mainstream country and feel out the Americana scene which puts out way more traditional country music than Nashville today.

  3. Well, Dan, look who has thrown down the gauntlet!

    Thanks for posting these, Lynn!
    I’ll have to admit that “She Left Me For Jesus” is the only song that I’ve really gotten into from Carll, but I have the album, so who knows what could happen in the future.

  4. The Krauss/Plant wins are deserved, of course. Congratulations to Helm as well. And yes, I know it’s irreverent, but the first time I heard “She Left Me for Jesus” I about died. Then I sent the link to my best friend and he did, too. Towards the end of the year I’ll be thinking about my favorite albums, and Trouble in Mind is one I plan on featuring.

  5. Corey said, “However, claiming a song that speaks about kicking Jesus’ ass just does not send the right signal to me …”

    I could not agree more.

  6. The song itself is tongue-in-cheek in its portrayal of a horribly ignorant man, but I understand how it could leave a bad impression. I encourage anyone to check out Carll’s other offerings. He’s incredibly talented as a songwriter and his singing is unique but appropriate to his songs.

  7. Sorry, I was not trying to “throw down the gauntlet”. I was simply trying to make a statement on how I receive the song.

    Like I said, I understand the attraction to the song. It’s well written and even the idea of the song, a girl leaving you for Jesus, is fresh and creative. I just think that a more appropriate song could represent the AMA for Song of the Year. I still intend on listening to Carll’s full album, as I have heard nothing but good things about it.

  8. Corey/Razor –

    I can definitely understand how the song would be received that way. I guess the thrill of the piece (and its potential for offense) lies in its audacity – kind of like with South Park. The first time I heard it, I felt like a horrible person for laughing so hard.

    But then I thought about it some more, and realized that the real humor of the song comes not from debasing Jesus himself, but from the mere idea that there could be someone so clueless that he has no idea who “Jesus” really is. When the narrator talks about kicking Jesus’ ass and mentions his disdain for Jews, you laugh because of how absurdly hopeless the narrator is. But, I certainly understand how some people won’t love the idea of juxtaposing Jesus with that sort of comedy. Different strokes.

  9. Dan – you articulate your point well and I think it speaks well for Carll that he can have people talking about his music in such a way.

  10. Corey,

    Matt’s right, I was joking with Dan, since he said that he’d quit Country Universe if the song didn’t make our Best Of List at the end of the year.:)

  11. Hmmmm, “She Left Me for Jesus” didn’t say anything that truly disrespected Jesus. The humor was just in the fact that it sounded like he was talking about someone stealing his girl when he was just making a point about how she chose religion over him. Its not really disrespecting Jesus or talking about “kicking his ass”, its just a humorous way of cracking about a sad situation where someone radically chooses religion over her boyfriend. If you were offended, you probably just didn’t understand or listen fully to the lyrics.

  12. Last post…I promise.

    Mark, it’s not that I don’t understand the song, I’m just uncomfortable with any phrase that comes out as kicking Jesus’ ass. I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking on that. Even if that is not the intent or purpose of the song (which it’s not) that is something that I feel uncomfortable hearing. That’s all.

  13. Hey Corey,

    It’s cool to post as many times as you’d like on a thread, as long as you’re not saying the same thing over and over again, which you’re not. So, you’re safe.:)

    While I think the song is funny, I respect your opinion on the Carll song. I know that kind of humor isn’t for everyone and that it will go against some people’s moral codes. As you say, you’re not the only one to feel that way and it’s definitely a legitimate perspective.

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