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UK Americana Awards 2020: The Highwomen, Brandi Carlile and Yola among winners

Now in its fifth year, the glittering event at London’s Troxy celebrated the very best of Americana and roots music.

The Highwomen
Credit: Atlantic

The Highwomen, Brandi Carlile and Yola were among the big winners at last night’s UK Americana Awards 2020.

Now in their fifth year and organised by the UK Americana Music Association, the glittering ceremony at the Troxy in east London welcomed artists from around the world to celebrate the very best of Americana and roots music. The evening was the culmination of the four-day AmericanaFest UK 2020, which has been taking place at venues across east London all week.

The legendary Bob Harris OBE was on hand to host once again, as well as being the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award – which was a complete surprise to him! During his acceptance speech, he spoke passionately about the ‘very beautiful world’ of Americana and the ‘innocence’ and ‘warmth’ of the community which has grown up around the genre here in the UK.

Among the main winners was Brandi Carlile, who scooped the International Artist of the Year Award, as well as winning the International Album of the Year Award with her band The Highwomen and their self-titled LP. Grammy nominee Yola also picked up two trophies – UK Album of the Year for her record Walk Through Fire and UK Artist of the Year.

The other winners on the night included Elles Bailey (UK Song of the Year for Little Piece of Heaven), Amy Speace (International Song of the Year for Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne) – who gave a very emotional speech about her music career and determination not to give up which inspired the track – and Jade Bird (Bestselling Americana Album of the Year).

Elsewhere, Ferris & Sylvester took home the Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award, whilst Nick Lowe picked up the Trailblazer Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Joan Armatrading, following a tribute speech from presenter Paul Giambaccini.

Among the presenters were Brandy Clark, Milk Carton Kids, The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ethan Johns, Paul Carrick, Baylen Leonard, Mark Hagan and Billy Bragg, who presented Lonnie Donegan’s Legend Award to his son Peter. Bragg and Peter then performed a barnstorming version of Lonnie’s ‘song that started it all’ Rock Island Line, which started off with a spoken word intro before launching into a rocky, fiery performance and ended with Peter leaping into the air!

Other performers on the night were Danni Nicholls – who opened the show with a bluesy, passionate rendition of her UK Song of the Year-nominated track Hear My Voice – award nominees Ida Mae and Jamie Freeman, and Shingai, who performed a funky, soulful version of Joan Armatrading’s classic Love And Affection. All the evening’s performers then returned to the stage to perform the classic Angel From Montgomery.

The full list of winners was:

  • UK Instrumentalist of the Year – Sian Monaghan
  • International Album of the Year – The Highwomen by The Highwomen (produced by Dave Cobb)
  • UK Song of the Year – Little Piece of Heaven by Elles Bailey (written by Elles Bailey, Bobby Wood and Dan Auerbach)
  • International Artist of the Year – Brandi Carlile
  • Grassroots Award – Mark Whitfield from Americana-uk.com
  • International Song of the Year – Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne by Amy Speace (written by Amy Speace)
  • UK Album of the Year – Walk Through Fire by Yola (produced by Dan Auerbach)
  • UK Artist of the Year – Yola
  • Bestselling Americana Album of the Year – Jade Bird by Jade Bird
  • Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award – Ferris & Sylvester
  • Outstanding Contribution Award – Bob Harris OBE
  • Legend Award – Lonnie Donegan
  • Trailblazer Award – Nick Lowe
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Joan Armatrading

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