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Jackson Browne, Loretta Lynn, Flaco Jimenez and Taj Mahal will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Americana Music Association. The winners will be feted at its 13th Annual Honors and Awards ceremony presented by Nissan on Wednesday, September 17, at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The show will be taped for air on PBS later this year in the Austin City Limits time slot and titled ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014.
Browne will receive the “Spirit of Americana Award, Free Speech in Music” co-presented with the First Amendment Center. His social activism has been almost as widely heard and appreciated as his era-shaping songs and performances on behalf of Farm Aid, Amnesty International, MoveOn.org‘s Vote For Change and as a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy and nukefree.org. Browne’s music helped stamp the template for the fully-formed songwriter-artist during a golden age, and he’s in the Rock and Roll and Songwriter’s Halls of Fame as a result.
“On a night when I was singing my most personal reflections on life,” Browne wrote in an op-ed piece for the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “I wanted to bring up the life of the planet.”
Loretta Lynn will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting. As her famous song says, she was a coal miner’s daughter from Johnson County, Kentucky, who became one of the most pivotal and admired women in the history of American music because of the way she challenged convention, sang her mind and achieved stunning success in the process. Her songwriting was unprecedented for its candor among women in country music, and a string of hits such as “The Pill,” “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” and “Rated ‘X'” forced country music and its fans to confront sexism and double standards. She’s received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Flaco Jimenez will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award as an instrumentalist, the most accomplished and in-demand conjunto tejano accordion player of all time. The San Antonio,Texas-born musician has collaborated with dozens of legends. His father was a major conjunto pioneer, but Flaco quickly found a crossover path working with country rocker Doug Sahm and then Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. He’s won several Grammy Awards, including one with supergroup Los Super Seven. And those are his joyful accordion lines you hear lending vigor to “Streets of Bakersfield” by Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens.
Taj Mahal, who says he plays “for the goddess of music,” is being honored in the category of lifetime achievement in performance. Raised in a musical family and steeped in jazz and R&B, his unique take on traditional music has always had a spiritual element. His first career path was as a dairy farmer in Massachusetts, but he followed his musical interests to Los Angeles in the early ’60s, where he formed the Rising Sons with Ry Cooder. He took his stage name around 1960 and pursued folk and blues, eventually embracing its Caribbean and African roots. He’d go on to work with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Etta James, Ali Farka Toure and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among many others.
“These artists have not only influenced the Americana community, but the musical landscape as a whole,” said Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association. “They all have been an inspiration to our community, and we are humbled they will honor us in song at the Ryman this fall.”
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