The Americana Music Association has announced its 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards recipients. Robert Cray, the Hi Rhythm section, Iris DeMent, Graham Nash, Larry Sloven, Bruce Bromberg and Van Morrison will all be honored during the Americana Honors & Awards ceremony, scheduled to take place in Nashville during the 2017 Americana Music Festival.

In 2017, Cray -- the bandleader of the Robert Cray Band and who has collaborated with everyone from Eric Clapton to Bonnie Raitt -- will earn the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist will go to the Hi Rhythm section, the group of musicians who played on Hi Records albums in the 1970s; the band includes the late Mabon "Teenie" Hodges (guitar), Rev. Charles Hodges (organ), LeRoy "Flick" Hodges (bass), Howard Grimes (drums), the late Al Jackson Jr. (drums) and Archie "Hubbie" Turner (keyboard).

DeMent is 2017's Americana Trailblazer Award recipient; a press release explains that she "exemplifies what it means to forge your own path in the music industry" and "[uses] her ethereal voice and songwriting craft to showcase introspection as well as to address more political topics such as sexual abuse, religion and government policy throughout her work." The Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award, co-presented by the First Amendment Center, is being presented in 2017 to Nash, part of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Crosby, Still, Nash & Young). Nash uses his status to support peace, social justice and environmental justice, specifically through the No Nukes / Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts.

Sloven and Bromberg, founders of HighTone Records, will receive the Americana Music Association's 2017 Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive. The two "bonded over their wide-ranging roots music tastes and sought out an opportunity to create a label home for the melting pot of influences that is now Americana music" in the 1980s, a press release explains. In its 25 years as a label, HighTone Records has released 300 albums and has offered "a liberating platform for artists who have paved the way in Americana."

As previously announced, Morrison is receiving 2017's Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting. A native of Northern Ireland, Morrison spent the early 1960s playing in various bands before launching a solo career in 1967. He’s released more than 40 albums and more than 70 singles; “Brown Eyed Girl” is perhaps his best-known song.

“We are proud and humbled to honor these artists whose work has shaped what we not only call Americana today, but the musical landscape on the whole,” says Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly. “We are inspired by their work and excited to see them all as they will honor us in song at the Ryman this fall.”

The 2017 Americana Music Festival is scheduled for Sept. 12-17. The 16th annual Americana Music Awards ceremony will take place on Sept. 13 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

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