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2014 Americana Music Awards

Operating as a not-for-profit trade organization, the Americana Music Association (AMA) promoted authentic American Roots Music all over the world. In addition to collaborating with Americana artists, record labels and publishers, the AMA carries out market research projects, publishes newsletters, and distributes information to the Americana community. The AMA also produces a number of events and festivals each year, the most recent being the Americana Music Honors and Awards that took place this week (September 17), kicking off the four day annual Americana Music Festival and Conference.

Jason Isbell was one of the big winners on Wednesday night, receiving awards for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year for Cover Me Up, and Album of the Year for Southeastern - a collaborative album with Dave Cobb. Emerging Artist of the Year went to Sturgill Simpson, and Instrumentalist of the Year was awarded to Buddy Miller. The Milk Carton Kids received the award for Duo or Group of the Year. Jackson Browne received the Spirit of Americana Award, Free Speech in Music presented to him by long-time friend JD Souther.

Born in Green Hill, Alabama, Jason Isbell was raised in a rural setting. With many of his extended family members being musicians, Isbell recalls getting together once or twice a week to play music together, and acknowledges that this had a huge influence on his musical choices. His grandfather and uncle taught him to play a number of different musical instruments, and at the age of 6 his preferred instrument was the mandolin. He started playing in a country cover band at the age of 14 and in high school played the French horn and the trumpet.

Isbell played with the rock band Drive-By Truckers from 2001 through to April 2007, during which time they release three albums - Decoration Day (2003; The Dirty South (2004); amd Blessing and a Curse (2006). Isbell’s first solo album Sirens of the Ditch was released in July 2007. His band, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, released two albums - Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit (2009) and Here We Rest (2011). Jason Isbell’s latest solo album Southeastern was produced by David Cobb.

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Spotlight On: Chuck Berry

Widely considered to be one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Chuck Berry was recently honored with Sweden's 2014 Polar Music Prize at a ceremony in the city of Stockholm's Concert Hall. Unable to attend the ceremony due to ill health, Berry's acceptance speech, in which he thanked the King and the Royal Family of Sweden for the honor, was delivered by Dave Edmunds. Berry joins the ranks of Polar Music Prize recipients which include Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Ravi Shankar, Joni Mitchel, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen and Miriam Makeba.

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Mega-Party at Reading & Leeds Festivals

Crowds of music lovers are flocking to the Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend, many camping out for the entire three-day bank holiday weekend event. Running simultaneously at Little John's Farm in central Reading and two hundred miles away at Bramham Park near Wetherby, the venues have multiple stages and feature the same lineup. Started in 1961, the Reading Festival is the older of the two events, and is considered to be the world's longest running music festival, even though it has changed its format from time to time over the years. Weather forecasters are predicting sunshine for the weekend, although rain has never been known to dampen the party atmosphere and many festival-goers are well prepared for all weather, with shorts, t-shirts and wellington boots being a common sight.

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