Emerging Artist Nominees For Americana Honors and Awards

links_ama.jpgAMERICANA HONORS & AWARDS NEW/EMERGING ARTIST NOMINEES COMPRISE ROOTS MUSIC TORCHBEARERS Ryan Bingham, Justin Townes Earle, The SteelDrivers and Mike Farris Populate Invigorating List






NASHVILLE, July 29, 2008 – The Americana genre houses a mighty share of music’s most provocative new artists, and each year, the Americana Music Association delivers due recognition to these auspicious newcomers with nominations in the New/Emerging Artist category. All four of this year’s nominees will perform live at the Americana Honors & Awards ceremony September 18, during which the winner shall also be named. The New/Emerging class of 2008 features a nomadic storyteller, a vintage-inspired original, a virtuosic dream team, and a soul-saving singer’s singer.

Autobiographical tales stemming from wistful wandering propelled troubadour Ryan Bingham’s gritty swagger to new heights on his 2007 debut for Lost Highway, Mescalito; American Songwriter praised the album, calling it "compelling listening to the highest sense," while Texas Music Magazine compared the 26 year-old storyteller to Tom Waits.

Justin Townes Earle faced high expectations seemingly without breaking a sweat: The son of roots rock royalty Steve Earle and the namesake of legend Townes Van Zandt, the younger Earle’s 2008 release The Good Life introduces a disarmingly sincere songwriter whose vintage-inspired honky tonk prompted praise from Pitchfork, The New York Times and more.

Individually, the members of The SteelDrivers have garnered Grammy nominations and penned country chart-toppers, but together, the soul-dipped bluegrassers form one of the most inspiring roots music troupes to emerge in years; their debut album released in early 2008 helped word spread, clearing
a path for cross-country touring and a gig on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

The buzz surrounding gospel/soul synergist Mike Farris may now officially be dubbed a deafening roar: The former frontman of the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, Farris’ 2007 release Salvation In Lights and Stax-inspired live throw-downs prompted widespread endorsements from trusted sources including
Buddy Miller, who proclaimed, "Mike Farris has enough heart, soul, and power to light up a city."

The 9th Annual Americana Festival and Conference will offer seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Nashville Convention Center by day, while each evening brings stacked Americana showcases. Legend Levon Helm will officially jump start the festivities Wednesday, September 17 with his Ramble at the Ryman, and the capstone of the festival will take the form of the annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards, scheduled for September 18 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featuring a band led by Buddy Miller, the ceremony will toast winners in six member-voted categories and also bestow Lifetime Achievement Awards on John Hiatt, Jason and the Scorchers and longtime Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona in the categories of Songwriting, Performance and Executive, respectively. The AMA will also present the unique "Spirit of Americana"
Free Speech award to Joan Baez.

Tickets are now available for the Levon Helm Ramble at the Ryman and the Americana Honors & Awards show at Ticketmaster and the Ryman box office for $65 or $45 and $45, respectively.

Showcase wristbands granting admission to all four evenings of live music showcases are also available for only $35 via www.americanamusic.org and Grimey’s New and Preloved Music (1604 8th Ave. South, Nashville). Registration for the Americana Music Festival & Conference is $350 for AMA members and $450 for non-members until August 13. Fees will increase after that date.

For the latest additions to showcase lineups, ticket purchasing and more information about the Americana Music Festival and Conference, please visit www.americanamusic.org.

About the Americana Music Association

The Americana Music Association is a professional trade organization whose mission is to provide a forum for the advocacy of Americana music and to promote public awareness of the genre to support the creative and economic viability of professionals in this field. Dedicated to building and promoting the Americana genre and the individuals who participate in that industry, the Americana Music Association works closely with artists, labels, radio stations, retailers, print media, festivals, agents, publishers and more to help organize and build the infrastructure necessary for the Americana genre to achieve success both creatively and financially.

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