The UK Americana Awards returned to the Hackney Empire tonight and reminded us all of the huge value and reward of a supportive community and uplifting live music.
The evening kicked off at Empire 2 with pre-show drinks, which I attended with MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl and photographer Jonathan Stewart. Lovely to meet organiser and UK Americana chief Stevie Smith, broadcaster Robert Elms, Martyn Joseph, Holly Carter, CJ Hillman, the Northern Cowboys, Elles Bailey, Howard Mills, and Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue fame.
The Awards show itself was hosted by Baylen Leonard and Bob Harris and the guest presenters included: Martyn Joseph, Ward Thomas, Robert Elms, Shaun Keaveny, Katherine Priddy, Tim Dowling, Lauren Down and Bev Whitrick, Ben Earle, Patrick Kielty, Ricky Ross, Belinda O’Hooley & Heidi Tidow, Paul Gambaccini, Andy Facer (of sponsors Sweet Home Alabama), and Becca Monahan (of The Official Chart Company).
The event boasted live performances by Judy Collins, Mike Scott, Frank Turner, Allison Russell, Lady Nade, Nickel Creek, The Hanging Stars, The Heavy Heavy, Ferris and Sylvester, Simeon Hammond Dallas, Elles Bailey and Miko Marks.
The evening was brought to a memorable close with all the artists, led by Judy Collins, delivering ‘Amazing Grace’, backed by an all-female house band boasting MD and bassist Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers, guitarist and pedal steel supremo Holly Carter, drummer Sian Monaghan (a former Instrumentalist of the Year), and the Hackney Empire Community Choir.
The Awards ceremony is the culmination of a week in Hackney featuring an industry conference, which was attended by 300 delegates, plus two nights of showcase gigs with 80 artists across six local venues.
The main event was followed by a spirited after show party at Oslo, with more live music and guest vocalists. My thanks and congratulations to all!
The UK Americana Awards 2023 award winners are:
Lifetime Achievement Award
Mike Scott of The Waterboys
International Lifetime Achievement Award
International Trailblazer Award
Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award
The Hanging Stars
Best Selling Americana Album
Ralph McLean, BBC Radio Ulster
Songwriter Legacy Award
UK Album of the Year
Superhuman by Ferris and Sylvester
International Album of the Year
Raise The Roof by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
UK Song of the Year
Car Crash by Hannah White
International Song of the Year
You’re Not Alone by Allison Russell feat. Brandi Carlile
UK Artist of the Year
International Artist of the Year
UK Instrumentalist of the Year
UK Live Act of the Year