Rhiannon Giddens, Frank Johnson Named Inaugural Legacy of Americana Award Honorees
On Wednesday (Aug. 7), the Americana Music Association announced a new partnership with the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), as well the institution of the Legacy of Americana Award. According to a press release, the new award was creating to honor those who have either made a lasting musical contribution or inspired art that adds to the legacy of the Americana tradition.
The award's inaugural recipients will be Rhiannon Giddens and Frank Johnson. Johnson, who will receive the distinction posthumously, was a pioneering folk musician composer. Giddens, a lauded roots musician known for her solo work as well as her role in Americana group the Carolina Chocolate Drops, will receive the award on Sept. 11, during the annual Americana Honors & Awards Ceremony that takes place each year during AmericanaFest.
"African American artists play pivotal roles in the tapestry of Americana music," the CEO and President of NMAAM, H. Beecher Hicks III, stated in a press release. "Through the Legacy of Americana Awards and our new partnership with the association, we hope to shine a light on forgotten artists like Frank Johnson, whose stories may have been lost to history, and on innovators like Rhiannon Giddens, who is pushing Americana and American music forward by exploring the past."
Jed Hilly, the Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, also added that the partnership will help both organizations in their mission to preserve the legacy of critically important artists.
"Without a legacy, art would not outlive its creator," Hilly pointed out. "These two exemplary artists embody the spirit of this award. Furthermore, it is imperative to continue celebrating those who have made lasting impressions or have inspired art that recognizes the legacy of Americana music traditions, and this honor is a rightful step in the direction of preserving that history."
During AmericanaFest, Giddens is also scheduled to speak on a panel addressing the erasure of American music history, alongside writer John Jeremiah Sullivan.
PICTURES: A Look Back at the 2018 Americana Honors & Awards