Robert Plant, Mike Scott, Judy Collins and more triumph at this year’s UK Americana Awards

Plus full details of the winners

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The eighth UK Americana Awards returned to the gilt-and-red splendour of London’s Hackney Empire on Thursday, after two Covid-enforced years away. Winning attendees included Robert Plant, Judy Collins and Mike Scott, alongside rising names of the UK and international Americana scenes.

A relaxed Robert Plant beamed as he accepted the International Album of the Year for his second collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raise The Roof. Reflecting that “it’s been 14 years since our last confession”, he paid tribute to the project’s “polestar”, producer T Bone Burnett, for enabling him to go “from Wolverhampton to Nashville, a whole new world, and a whole new place to rest my voice”.

The awards were at least as much about the boost given to lesser-known talent, as Hannah White, winner of UK Song of the Year for “Car Crash”, demonstrated. “Someone said to me when I got nominated, I hope now you start believing in yourself as much as others people do,” she mused, plainly moved. “Now I bloody do!”


Pedal-steel player Holly Carter, the UK Instrumentalist of the Year, thanked “everyone who has welcomed me into this community”, and community was the night’s abiding theme. It was invoked most potently by Alison Russell, International Artist of the Year and International Song of the Year winner for “You’re Not Alone”. Speaking as an African-American woman in a genre the likes of Adia Victoria have called out for woefully underplaying its black practitioners and roots, she dedicated her success to “everyone who has been not welcomed, marginalised, fetishised, waiting on tables”. She also celebrated the Americana community as “a global affair…coming together in this melting pot from Canada to the Caribbean”. “It’s not, ‘What is Americana?’” she pointedly concluded. “It’s, ‘Who is Americana?’”

The all-female house band led by the Magic NumbersMichele Stodart and a preponderance of young female winners meanwhile refuted one historic bias. Married couple Ferris and Sylvester took home UK Album of the Year for Superhuman, and Elles Bailey was UK Live Act of the Year. Both performed, as did blues-rockers The Heavy Heavy, Simeon Hammond Dallas, playing a glam guitar solo in silver glitter and high heels, and Frank Turner, Best Selling UK Americana Album winner for FTHC, who sang his tribute to late Frightened Rabbit singer-songwriter Scott Hutchison, “A Wave Across A Bay”. Allison Russell played banjo on “You’re Not Alone” with Lady Nade, and was joined by Bailey and Miko Marks for an acoustic take on “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Songwriter Legacy Award winner Loretta Lynn.

Acoustically swinging Californian bluegrass band Nickel Creek were Trailblazer winners. Bob Harris Emerging Artist went to The Hanging Stars’ Byrds-indebted jangle was accompanied by the first of several David Crosby tributes, and Ralph McLean, Grassroots Award-winner for his Radio Ulster show, finished by quoting him: “Music is life. Keep on making music, and let your freak flag fly.”


The biggest musical highs were saved for last. Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Mike Scott [pictured] was dressed in cowboy hat and green suit, striking a stand-and-deliver guitar pose to blast out “Fisherman’s Blues”. International Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Judy Collins, wearing pink glitter jacket and heels and with a voice still finely honed at 83, sang the Joni Mitchell song she popularised in 1967, “Both Sides Now”, caressing its nostalgic phrases.

Collins returned to lead many of the night’s winners in another signature hit, “Amazing Grace”, with the help of the Hackney Empire Community Choir, singing out from the balcony. “I once was lost, but now I’m found,” they sang together, in an 18th century hymn embodying the spiritually transformative power of community invoked so often tonight. Allison Russell leaned in to duet, bringing gospel spirit. When Collins hit the final, heaven-piercing high notes, Russell bowed down to this last moving moment from a true Americana great.

Here’s the UK Americana Awards in full:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Mike Scott of The Waterboys

International Lifetime Achievement Award
Judy Collins.

International Trailblazer Award
Nickel Creek

Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award
The Hanging Stars

Best Selling Americana Album
Frank Turner.

Grassroots Award
Ralph McLean, BBC Radio Ulster

Songwriter Legacy Award
Loretta Lynn

UK Album of the Year
Superhuman by Ferris and Sylvester

International Album of the Year
Raise The Roof by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

UK Song of the Year
“Car Crash” by Hannah White

International Song of the Year
“You’re Not Alone” by Allison Russell feat. Brandi Carlile

UK Artist of the Year
Elles Bailey

International Artist of the Year
Allison Russell

UK Instrumentalist of the Year
Holly Carter

UK Live Act of the Year
Elles Bailey


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