February 3, 2016
St. John at Hackney, London
Awards shows – insular, self-indulgent back-slapping affairs, right? Not this one. The UK Americana Awards show was clearly created by and for people who love this genre and its artists.
Testament to The Americana Music Association UK‘s efforts to support the scene – such as the recently launched Americana albums chart – established stars such as Bonnie Raitt and Gretchen Peters were in attendance and rightly honoured. Winners that couldn’t attend the inaugural event, like Jason Isbell, took the time to send video messages.
Yet the night belonged to the rising local talent. Host ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris set the tone with touching words about emerging and breakthrough acts like Robert Vincent, Emily Barker and deserved triple AMAUK award winners Danny and the Champions of The World.
These were music awards so the speeches were kept short and sweet, interspersed with performances. Celebrating a genre known for social commentary and protest, The Dreaming Spires were the perfect choice to open-up the night, in light of their much-lauded cutting appearance on The Andrew Marr Show. This was quickly followed by a tender performance of Anywhere Away by Emily Barker with Gill Sandell and Danny and The Champs’ Paul Lush. Then came The Champs’ own performance of award-winning (doesn’t that sound good!) Clear Water.
Bear’s Den, Gretchen Peters and many more followed but the highlight of the show was, undoubtedly, when all of the performers joined AMAUK Trailblazer award winner Billy Bragg on stage for a spellbinding and rousing rendition of Will The Circle Be Unbroken.
Can’t wait to see how they manage to top that night in 2017! Here are a selection of photos from the awards. Check and follow on Flickr for many more #AMAUK16 shots!