Allison Russell Wins Big at the 2022 International Folk Music Awards – Billboard
Allison Russell won both Artist of the Year and Album of the Year at the 2022 International Folk Music Awards, which were presented Wednesday, May 18, the opening night of the 34th International Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, Mo.
Russell won album of the year for his debut solo album, outdoor child, which has been attracting awards in recent months. Last November, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. On Saturday, it won a Juno Award in Russell’s native Canada for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. On Monday, it became an Americana Honors & Awards nominee for Album of the Year.
“I can’t tell you how much that means to me coming from this particular community,” Russell said. “…It was at Folk Alliance [International Conference in 2001] where I first met JT [Nero] and so many people who would become part of my chosen family… It’s a beautiful community. He is growing and I am very proud of the fact that we collectively understand and sincerely believe that tolerance is not enough. Tolerance is for mosquitoes. We tolerate mosquitoes. Humans need love… It’s like a family reunion. We know and understand, we believe that art and music are an essential service and a sacrament. He saves lifes. It saved my life. And it reduces the damage in the world. It bridges the gaps between the two. It turns fear into love. It is magic.”
Crys Matthews’ “Changemakers” won Song of the Year honors. Matthews starred on the show, as did fellow nominees John Smith and Diana Jones. The show opened with a song by gospel artist Isaac Cates & Ordained.
Accordionist Flaco Jiménez, late singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith, and Denver folk music center Swallow Hill Music were this year’s recipients of the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awards are presented annually to honor the cultural impact of legendary figures in folk music.
Jason Mraz, known for his attention to conservation, human rights and LGBTQIA+ issues, received The People’s Voice award, which is given to someone who “unapologetically embraces social and political commentary in their work creative and his public career”. Past recipients include Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ani DiFranco and Bruce Cockburn.
On receiving the award, Mraz said, “I was a bit shy at first, thinking that I’m too young for this award, that I haven’t done or said enough. Then I realized those thoughts and feelings never went away, that nagging thought that I hadn’t done enough. But it is this nagging thought that indicates that we still have energy to give, that we want and that we want.
Mali Obomsawin, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, Lula Wiles band member and journalist, received the Rising Tide Award. The award was launched in 2021 to celebrate a next-generation artist (under 30) who inspires others by embodying the values and ideals of the folk community.
The 2022 winners of the Spirit of Folk Awards included musician, educator and documentary producer Eugene Rodriguez of Los Cenzontles; composer, producer, performing artist and vice president of Louisiana Red Hot Records and A&R manager Lilli Lewis; NPR Tiny Desk contest winner, musician and disability rights activist Gaelynn Lea; Canadian Live Music Association President and CEO Erin Benjamin; Amado Espinoza, multi-instrumentalist, composer and Bolivian-American factor; and Sound Diplomacy founder Shain Shapiro. These awards are given to honor individuals and organizations actively involved in the promotion and preservation of folk music.
Colorado-based Planet Bluegrass received the Clearwater Award, which is given to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in producing sustainable events.
Angela Page and Dr. Jonathan Øverby have been inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame, which was established to recognize radio DJs who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation, promotion and presentation of folk music. The page hosted Folk More since the early 1990s on WJFF 90.5 FM Radio Catskill in Jeffersonville, NY, Dr. Øverby has been a Wisconsin Public Radio DJ and host and a noted ethnomusicologist and scholar.
Folk Alliance International was founded in 1989. Its more than 3,000 members form a global community of artists, agents, managers, labels, publicists, arts administrators, venues, festivals and broadcasters. concert series.
Folk Alliance International produces the world’s largest conference for the folk music industry, the Folk Alliance International Conference; international folk music awards; an artist-in-residence program; the Folk Exchange Market Development Program; the Ethno USA gathering (in the name of JM International); community outreach; and a Finest Folk concert series.
Folk Alliance International defines folk broadly as “the music of the people” (reflecting any community they come from) and programs a wide range of subgenres including Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Global Roots, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Traditional, Zydeco and various fusions.
Executive director Aengus Finnan, who is stepping down next month after eight years, said: ‘If folk music is the music of the people and we have to look at that and we have to be a Folk Alliance International, that means we have to be aligned internationally and look at the big picture and the many sounds and the many voices and the many people. He later said: “It has been the personal and professional honor of my life to serve this community and this organization.
Here are the nominees and winners:
Artist of the year
The longest pants
WINNER: Allison Russell
John Francis Flynn
album of the year
They call me homeRhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
Suspicious + StrangeAmythyst Kiah
A Song for Mexico, Vol. 2Natalia Lafourcade
WINNER: outdoor child, Allison Russell
The frayJohn Smith
song of the year
“On Solid Ground”, Reggie Harris
“Painted Blue”, Sarah Jarosz
“We Believe You”, Diana Jones
“Call Me A Fool”, Valerie June
WINNER: “Changemakers”, Crys Matthews