September 18-20, I spent a lot of time rolling around town catching as many highlights of the Fourth Annual Americana Conference as I could. Truth be told, I only find the seminars and panels so interesting, I'm mostly about the music. But the seminars and panels are necessary to the growing business of Americana: airplay, retail exposure, television, and live performances.
I did greatly
enjoy the Awards show. There was a short film commemorating the lives of Johnny
and June Carter Cash that was breathtaking. Naturally, the very recent death
of Johnny Cash was a sobering
presence all weekend. Before that sad event, the votes had been tallied that
brought the man in black the awards for song, album, and artist of the year.
Kris Kristofferson was awarded the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award,
and the Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Sam Phillips and John Prine.