Alison Russell won both artist of the year and album of the year at the 2022 International Folk Music Awards, presented on opening night of the 34th annual Folk Alliance International Conference on Wednesday (May 18) in Kansas City.
Russell took Album of the Year for his debut solo album, outside child, which has been an awards magnet in recent months Last November, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. On Saturday, it won a Juno Award in Russell’s native Canada for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. On Monday, it became an Americana Honors & Awards nominee for Album of the Year.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to me, especially coming from this community,” Russell said. “… it was in people’s alliances [International Conference in 2001] Where I first met JT [Nero] And the many people who will become a part of my chosen family… it’s a beautiful community. It is growing and I am very proud of the fact that we collectively understand and truly believe that tolerance is not enough. Tolerance is for mosquitoes. We tolerate mosquitoes. People need love… it’s like a family reunion. We know and understand, we strongly believe that art and music are an essential service and a sacrament. It saves lives. It saved my life. And it reduces the loss in the family. It bridges the intervening gulfs. Turns fear into love. It’s magic.”
Chris Matthews’ “Changemakers” won Song of the Year. Matthews performed on the show, as did fellow nominees John Smith and Diana Jones. The program started with a song by gospel artiste Isaac Cats and Ordained.
Accordionist Flaco Jimenez, the late songwriter and interpreter Nancy Griffiths and Denver-based folk music center Swallow Hill Music were this year’s Elaine Weisman Lifetime Achievement Award recipients. The award is given annually to honor the cultural influence of legendary folk music figures.
Jason Mraz, known for his attention to conservation, human rights and LGBTQIA+ issues, received The People’s Voice Award, which is presented to an individual who “quietly embraces social and political commentary in their creative work and public career.” Past recipients include Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Annie DiFranco and Bruce Cockburn.
About receiving the award, Mraz said, “At first I was a little shy, thinking that I was too young for this award, that I hadn’t done or said enough. Then I realized that these thoughts and feelings never go away, that nagging thought that I haven’t done enough. But it’s that nagging thought that’s an indication that we still have the power to give and want to give and want.”
Mali Obomsawin, a Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, Lula Wiles band member and journalist, received the Rising Tide Award. The award was launched in 2021 to celebrate a new generation (under the age of 30) of artists who inspire others by embodying the values and ideals of the folk community.
The 2022 recipients of the Spirit of Folk Award included musician, educator and documentary producer Eugene Rodriguez of Los Senjontales; composer, producer, performing artist and vice president of Louisiana Red Hot Records and head of A&R Lilly Lewis; NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner, musician and disability rights activist Gayleen Lea; Erin Benjamin, President and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association; Bolivian-American multi-instrumentalist, composer and instrument maker Amado Espinoza; and Shayne Shapiro, founder of Sound Diplomacy. The award honors individuals and organizations actively involved in the promotion and preservation of folk music.
Colorado-based Planet Bluegrass received the Clearwater Award, which is presented to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in sustainable event production.
Angela Page and Dr. Jonathan Overby was inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame, which was established to recognize radio DJs who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation, promotion and presentation of folk music. Page hosted Folk Plus Since the early 1990s at hydro-powered WJFF 90.5 FM Radio Catskill in Jeffersonville, NY Dr. Overby is a DJ and Wisconsin Public Radio host and a noted anthropologist and scholar.
Folk Alliance International was founded in 1989. Its more than 3,000 members form a global community of artists, agents, managers, labels, promoters, arts administrators, venues, festivals and concert series presenters.
Folk Alliance International produces the Folk Alliance International Conference, the world’s largest conference for the folk music industry; International Folk Music Awards; an artist-in-residence program; Folk Exchange Market Development Programme; Ethno USA Rally (on behalf of JM International); community outreach; and a quintessential folk concert series.
Folk Alliance International defines folk broadly as “music of the people” (they reflect any community) and programs a variety of subgenres, including Appalachian, Americana, blues, bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, global roots, hip. Hop, old time, singer-songwriter, spoken word, traditional, zydeco and various fusions.
Executive director Angus Finan, who is stepping down next month after eight years, said, “If folk music is people’s music and we examine that and we can be a Folk Alliance International, that means we’re internationally aligned and big picture and a lot of sounds and a lot of Look at the voice and many people.” He later said,It has been the personal and professional honor of my life to serve this community and this organization.”
Here are the nominees and winners:
Artist of the year
Winner: Alison Russell
John Francis Flynn
Album of the year
They are calling me homeRhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
Alert + StrangeAmethyst Kiah
Un Canto por México, Vol. 2Natalia Lafourcade
Winner: outside child, Alison Russell
the hustle and bustleJohn Smith
song of the year
“On Solid Ground,” Reggie Harris
“Painted Blue,” Sarah Jarosz
“We Believe in You,” Diana Jones
“Call Me Stupid,” Valerie June
Winner: “Changemakers,” Chris Matthews