Folk Music Awards Announce Nominees, Honor Those Carrying Folk’s Flame
Nanci Griffith, shown here at the Cambridge Festival in 2007, will posthumously receive a lifetime achievement award at this year's International Folk Music Awards. (Photo by Bryan Ledgard)
Folk Alliance International announced its International Folk Music Awards Best of 2021 nominees and lifetime achievement awards this afternoon in a YouTube broadcast.
Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards, named for Folk Alliance’s co-founder, will be presented to accordionist Flaco Jiménez, the late Nanci Griffith, and Denver folk music center Swallow Hill Music. Jason Mraz will receive The People’s Voice Award, an honor for an individual who has embraced political and social commentary in their careers.
Spirit of Folk awards, which honor people and organizations working to promote and preserve folk music, will go to Eugene Rodriguez of Los Cenzontles, artist and Red Hot Records vice president Lilli Lewis, NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner and disability rights activist Gaelynn Lea, Canadian Live Music Association leader Erin Benjamin, Bolivian-American artist and instrument maker Amado Espinoza, and Sound Diplomacy Founder Shain Shapiro.
Lula Wiles member and executive director of the Bomazeen Land Trust nonprofit Mali Obomsawin will receive the Rising Tide Award, launched in 2021 to recognize artists under 30 advancing folk music and ideals.
Planet Bluegrass, which presents the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, RockyGrass, and the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, will receive the Clearwater Award, which recognizes festivals that model environmental stewardship.
Here are the finalists for the Best of 2021 awards. All of the awards will be presented on May 18, opening night of the 34th annual Folk Alliance International Conference taking place in Kansas City.
Album of the Year
They’re Calling Me Home by Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
Wary + Strange by Amythyst Kiah
Un Canto por México, Vol. 2 by Natalia Lafourcade
Outside Child by Allison Russell
The Fray by John Smith
Song of the Year
“On Solid Ground” by Reggie Harris
“Painted Blue” by Sarah Jarosz
“We Believe You” by Diana Jones
“Call Me a Fool” by Valerie June
“Changemakers” by Crys Matthews
Artist of the Year
The Longest Johns
John Francis Flynn