A young organization in Austin, Texas, the Ameripolitan Music Awards, now in its third year, is endeavoring to distinguish the growing rennaisance of traditional country music from the pop ‘bro-country’ on the big radio stations, on the one hand, and from the vague category of ‘Americana’ music on the other.
I was notified a month ago that I was nominated in the ‘DJ’ category. You can see the list of all artist and other nominees HERE. Here’s the notice I got from Silvia Neal:
Congratulations! “Cousin” Lynn Joiner has been nominated for the 2016 Ameripolitan Music Awards in the DJ category. Please let me know by Friday, October 16th if you would like to be on the 2016 ballot, and if so, if you plan on attending the awards show on Tuesday, February 16th 2016 at The Paramount Theater in Austin TX.
So I said, “Sure” to accept the nomination. I’m not sure about going to Austin yet, but it’s a possibility. Is it warm there in February?
The Ameripolitan Music Awards (I don’t want to use ‘AMA’, which signifies the ‘American Medical Association’ to me—how about AMerA?) is not a membership organization—yet; Sylvia indicated that it could become one. Could it grow into a professional support organization, like the IBMA is for bluegrass? I have no idea. It’s new to me.
Since there are no members, the voting will draw on the Internet. If you’d like to vote for me, or any other nominees, you can do so on the website, starting 26Nov, or via a smartphone app, starting now. Here’s the press release:
(Austin, TX) – Available now for both iOS and Android devices, a new interactive voting app ‘Ameripolitan 2016’, launched by the Ameripolitan Music Awards, offers fans early voting access and the opportunity to learn more about their favorite nominees before placing their vote for the 2016 winners. Designed by Ballot Blaster with voting in mind, fans can watch and listen to 30 second sample videos and mp3s for each nominee, hear a message from Ameripolitan founder Dale Watson, place their vote and more.
Voting by app available now and online voting to begin Thursday, November 26, 2015 with all voting to conclude, December 26, 2015. Winners will be announced live at Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre during the 3rd Annual Ameripolitan Music Awards on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, at 8 p.m., with music legend and past Ameripolitan winner Ray Benson as host.
Fans may vote in the following categories: Honky Tonk – Female, Male, Group; Western Swing – Female, Male, Group; Rockabilly – Female, Male, Group; Outlaw – Female, Male, Group; Ameripolitan DJ; Ameripolitan Venue; Ameripolitan Festival; and Ameripolitan Musician. A full list of nominees can be found here.
“We love the irony of using a modern app for a genre of music with historic roots,” says Dale Watson, founder of the Ameripolitan Awards. “There’s a practicality to it, but the most exciting aspect is offering voters fresh, exciting content. It’s not just voting – it’s an experience. Users can learn more about each nominee, discover new music and explore artists they might not otherwise know. Our friend Richard at Ballot Blaster worked hard with us to create something new for Ameripolitan fans.”
Designed by Ballot Blaster, ‘Ameripolitan 2016’ is available now for purchase ($1.99) with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Fender Music Foundation, which aims to keep music education alive and available in our nation’s schools and communities. The app is available globally; in English only. Fans may also vote online beginning November 26th without purchasing the app at Ameripolitan.com. Only one vote per valid email address.
Tickets to the 3rd Annual Ameripolitan Awards are available at www.austintheatre.org. For updates and breaking news, please visit Ameripolitan.com as well as the Ameripolitan Awards social networks on TWITTER and FACEBOOK.
You may wonder why you don’t recognize many of the nominees. The answer is that previous winners are not eligible for two years afterward (look at the winners from 2014 and 2015). Says Sylvia Neal:
We came up with this rule so that nominees who had a large following (such as Asleep at the Wheel) would not win every year and we could expose more groups who are great and maybe had not had a lot of exposure.
I suggested she tell the artist nominees we’d play their CDs on HAH if they send them.
‘Ameripolitan’ is a puzzling term. It was invented by Dale Watson, and is described in the booklet of his latest CD, Call Me Insane. The explanation on the Ameripolitan website is pretty much the same as Dale’s (not in front of me as I write):
Ameripolitan Music is a new music Genre with prominent roots influence. It is broken into four related subcategories: Honky Tonk, Western Swing, Rockabilly and Outlaw. Artists and bands can fall into one or more of these categories. Musical and lyrical creativity is critical but to be considered Ameripolitan music, it must retain some of these traditional elements as well. . .
Originally, all of this music was created as string band music to be played for a dancing and drinking crowd. It is important to understand this music, by nature, is participatory. The band and the audience experience this music together, physically and emotionally. It might be said, to truly be Ameripolitan music, it must be music couples can dance to.
I must admit to one reservation. If you are old enough to remember the Nashville marketing term from the ’60s, ‘Countrypolitan’, you may have one too—that was invented to push ‘sweetened’ (i.e. over-produced) country music (moving away from the ‘Country-and-Western’ category that was considered too hicky) onto urban pop audiences. That’s not what Dale Watson and his peers play, or aspire to.
A better name, in my opinion, would be ‘Honky-Tonk’ music (maybe ‘Honkytonkin’?). That’s one of the AMA’s four categories, but really, it encompasses them all—doesn’t it?
Anyway, this is a quibble, and should not detract from the noble aims of the Ameripolitan Music Awards. And it would be kinda cool to get a new country award to go with last year’s bluegrass one! /CL