Blues singer-guitarist Robert Cray, singer-songwriter Iris Dement and rock legend Graham Nash will receive special honors during the Americana Music Association’s 16th annual Honors & Awards ceremony taking place Sept. 13 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
The event kicks off the 18th annual Americana Music Festival & Conference which runs through Sept. 17 at venues throughout the city.
Cray, recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance, emerged on the national scene in 1974 with a distinctive style that combines blues, soul and R&B. Influencing a new generation of musicians, Cray has performed with a wide array of artists, including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and the Chuck Berry.
DeMent will receive Americana Trailblazer Award for exemplifying what it means to forge your own path in the music industry. Since the release of her 1992 debut album, Infamous Angel, the Arkansas native has made her mark with an introspective musical approach and a willingness to write about a variety of topics ranging from religion to politics.
Nash was selected for the Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award co-presented by the First Amendment Center. One of rock music’s renaissance men, Nash gained prominence as a member of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but he’s been an outspoken advocate in support of world peace and environmental justice.
Additionally, other awards will be presented to the Hi Rhythm Section and the founders of HighTone Records.
The Hi Rhythm Section, the house band at producer Willie Mitchell’s studio in Memphis, will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist. Originally formed in the late ’60s, they later served as the studio musicians backing the Hi Records roster of artists including Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and many more.
HighTone Records founders Larry Sloven and Bruce Bromberg are this year’s recipients of the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive. In the mid-’80s, Sloven and Bromberg created a record label that served as home for roots music acts such as the Blasters, Big Sandy, Buddy Miller and Joe Ely, among others.
As previously announced, Van Morrison will receive the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting.