Houston's own globe-trekking Robert Ellis received an Emerging Artist of the Year nomination from the Americana Music Association Thursday afternoon. The ceremony was officiated by actor and musician John C. Reilly and featured performances by Ellis and a few other big names like Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne.
In the new artist field with Ellis are Dawes, Alabama Shakes and Deep Dark Woods. Other Texas nominees include Hayes Carll for Artist of the Year. Steve Earle's "Waiting on the Sky to Fall" was nominated for Song of the Year.
Ellis has a busy itinerary for the rest of 2012, including Free Press Summer Fest Sunday, and playing the Bonnaroo Music Festival next weekend. On June 24 he plays Central Park supporting Alabama Shakes and Diamond Rugs, before opening a few dates with Lucero again.
The biggest news is a July 15 Hyde Park opening slot for Paul Simon in London, where Simon will be presenting his 1986 album Graceland in its entirety. Fans of Ellis will know that he is a huge Simon devotee.
The Americana Honors & Awards will be at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on September 12, as part of the Americana Music Festival that takes place at clubs all around Music City.
Here is the full list of the AMA nominees:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Here We Rest, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, Steve Earle The Harrow & the Harvest, Gillian Welch This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, Various Artists
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Gillian Welch Hayes Carll Jason Isbell Justin Townes Earle
EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Alabama Shakes Dawes Deep Dark Woods Robert Ellis
SONG OF THE YEAR
"Alabama Pines," Written by Jason Isbell and performed by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit "Come Around," Written and performed by Sarah Jarosz "I Love," Written by Tom T. Hall and performed by Patty Griffin "Waiting on the Sky to Fall," Written and performed by Steve Earle
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
Buddy Miller Chris Thile Darrell Scott Dave Rawlings
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DUO / GROUP OF THE YEAR
Carolina Chocolate Drops Civil Wars Gillian Welch and David Rawlings Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Punch Brothers