The Americana Music Association (UK) Awards 2015
Square Roots Promotions Nominations
Nominating for any type of award is always a process fraught with agonising decision making at the best of times, but with this, the first annual AMA UK awards, it’s been doubly difficult, mainly because there is a staggeringly great depth of musical talent at loose, worldwide, within this growing genre of musical development. For what it’s worth, here are the Square Roots nominations in each category, and the reasons why we voted the way we did.
Uk Instrumentalist Of The Year
Phillip Henry – Little hesitation in nominating Phil. A master of anything stringed, his dobro work is often astounding and to boot he can make the harmonica (harp) sing. Literally. Sit back and enjoy a master craftsman at work.
Marion Fleetwood – Fiddle, mandolin, cello and acoustic guitar and the voice of an angel. Plays in The Jigantics, Trad Arrr and the Gerry Colvin Band amongst others. A true talent.
Fred Gregory – Plays acoustic guitar and mandolin (and sings too!) in Hatful Of Rain and Porchlight Smoker. A deft exponent of a number of different playing styles and also a great writer.
UK Artist Of The Year
The Jigantics – Their 2013 debut album Daisy Roots was a cracking mix of originals and covers, and their live shows crank everything up a further notch. A fabulous live band that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. Vastly underrated, but packed full of top banana musical talent.
The Black Feathers – Their new album “Soaked To The Bone” is, so far, our album of the year. Sadly the release date precluded it from being considered for this year’s awards. However, it really is a wonderful piece of work – and what’s more they are just the same live. We love ‘em!
Goat Roper Rodeo Band – 3 lads from the valleys who are totally unique. Think Everly Brothers on speed and you won’t be too far away. Great voices, great songs and great players. Dynamite live!
International Artist Of The Year
Dennis Ellsworth – World class. Simple as that.
Andrew Duhon – Ditto! World class. Both Andrew and Dennis have a depth of songwriting gravitas that is astounding. Surely not long before either are picked up by a major label.
Cale Tyson – A real find this year for us. 23 years old and named as one to watch by Rolling Stone magazine, and recently name checked by Don Henley too. Check out his debut album and you’ll see why. Old school.
UK Song Of The Year
Phil Jones – New Homes. Taken from the Union Music compilation “Land Of Hope & Fury”, in direct response to the tory victory in the General Election. A biting critique of the demise of the working class in his home town of Aberdare allied to a great tune. Stirring stuff.
Danny and the Champions Of The World – “Clear Water”. Danny and his band doing what they do better than most. Rocking the nuts off a great soul-infused slab of electric americana.
Marion Fleetwood – “Curve Of My Back”. Beautiful song with a lovely story.
International Song Of The Year
Sons Of Bill – Bad Dancer. Well to be honest it could have pretty much been any of the songs from the stunning Love & Logic album, but we opted for this one. Uplifting, high quality melodic electric Americana.
Jason Isbell – 24 Frames. Same as above really! Not a bad song on the “Something More Than Free” album and this particular song sets him apart in terms of depth of songwriting.
Dennis Ellsworth – Make It Alright. Err, same as above again! Taken from the “Romantic As It Gets” album, an album that delights at every turn and emphasises my previous point about him. Jason Isbell is really taking Americana to a wider world audience and Dennis should be up there with him. It’s surely only a matter of time.
UK Album Of The Year
Various Artists – Land Of Hope & Fury. Compiled and organised by Jamie and Steveie Freeman of the wonderful Union Music (record label and record shop!). So many great songs by so many great artists. The art of the protest song is alive and still trying to kick down the doors of the privileged ruling classes. All proceeds to a great cause, so check out the Union Music website!
Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin – Watershed. Long awaited album, and as expected from two fabulous musicians and songwriters, well worth that wait. Growing in stature all the time.
Danny & The Champions Of The World – What Kind Of Love. If you loved “Stay True” then this is more of the same with songs that just lift your heart and make you feel like a million dollars. Can’t put a foot wrong at the moment. Long may that continue!
International Album Of The Year
Blitzen Trapper – All Across This Land. A stunning travelogue. Enjoy loud. Press repeat. Start over again.
Sons Of Bill – Love and Logic. As we said earlier – there really isn’t a bad song on the album.
Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free. As we said earlier – there really isn’t…..you get the idea!
Ken and Lloyd Brown