Welch, Civil Wars, Shakes win at Americana Awards

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gillian Welch and her partner Dave Rawlings, The Civil Wars and Alabama Shakes took home trophies, but Music City was the big winner at Wednesday night’s Americana Honors & Awards.

Five of six winners at the Ryman Auditorium event are based in Nashville, further cementing the city’s growing reputation as a roots music destination.

Welch won artist of the year and Rawlings broke Buddy Miller’s stranglehold on the instrumentalist of the year category. And The Civil Wars, fresh from learning that debut album “Barton Hollow” has gone gold, won duo/group of the year.

The only non-Nashville act to win was the Shakes, which took home the new/emerging artist award. Though they’re from Athens, Ala., they have a Nashville connection of their own — they recorded their breakthrough album “Boys and Girls” in town.

Lead nominee and recent Nashville emigre Jason Isbell won song of the year for “Alabama Pines,” a melancholy salute to his former north Alabama home that he wrote while feeling homesick.

Bonnie Raitt, Booker T. Jones and Richard Thompson were honored with lifetime achievement awards — Raitt as a performer, Jones as an instrumentalist and Thompson as a songwriter.

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