This past September at the 16th annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony in Nashville, the Americana Music Association handed out a number of prestigious awards for Album of the Year (A Sailor's Guide To Earth by Sturgill Simpson), Artist of the Year (John Prine), Emerging Artist of the Year (Amanda Shires), and others. Four lifetime achievement awards were also presented to country/folk singer-songwriter Iris DeMent, blues and R&B guitarist Robert Cray, Graham Nash, and the legendary Hi Rhythm Section — veterans of producer Willie Mitchell's house band at Royal Studios in Memphis.
The very first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting was given to Billy Joe Shaver in 2002, and over the years the award has gone to Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams, Loretta Lynn, John Fogerty and others. This year the award was given to Van Morrison, who performed a new song, "Transformation." Awards ceremony host Jim Lauderdale introduced Morrison as a "brilliant artist who has deeply moved and influenced a generation."
This weekend, Austin City Limits will broadcast a celebration of highlights from the awards ceremony billed as ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2017, featuring performances by Old Crow Medicine Show, John Prine, Iris DeMent, Rhiannon Giddens, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Amanda Shires, The Lumineers, Drive-By Truckers, Graham Nash, The Milk Carton Kids, Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Van Morrison and Robert Cray & The Hi Rhythm Section.
Watch Morrison's performance of "Transformation" above.