Americana UK Visitors Poll 2009
Apologies for the lateness of publishing these results this year – we were waiting for the site redesign to launch like an online version of the QE2 (with none of the royal connotations – smashing a bottle of champagne against the server, carrying the captain over the ship’s threshold with a piece of coal – is it?) but alas, the ship is grounded for a further week or three, so we’re going to run with the awards in a metaphorical dockyard instead. So, now’s the time to find out what did it for you over the last 12 months. Did Ryan’s notable absence from the release schedule throw things into chaos? Did the UK’s Americana scene make an impact? Did your choices reflect our own? Did you manage to actually choose an album of the year that we’d actually reviewed on the site for a change? Read on and find out…
Album of the Year - 2009
- 1. Richmond Fontaine - “We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River” (Decor)
It didn’t seem like there was really much doubt about the visitors album of the year, although that said, things were so close this year that there was in the end just one single vote in it. Still, the eighth album from Willy Vlautin’s Oregon based Richmond Fontaine triumphed in the end - a hybrid of intensely emotional stories and sometimes almost abstract instrumental interludes, the spirit of Raymond Carver still lives on stronger than ever. Elsewhere in the list Duke and the King make an incredibly strong debut entry and old favourites Wilco and Son Volt still manage to make impressive placings.
- 2 Felice Brothers “Yonder is the Clock” (Team Love)
- 3 Duke and the King “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (Loose)
- 4 Low Anthem “Oh My God Charlie Darwin” (Bella Union)
- 5 Wilco “Wilco (The Album)” (Nonesuch)
- 6 Magnolia Electric Co. “Josephine” (Secretly Canadian)
- 7 Sam Baker “Cotton” (Music Road)
- 8 Chuck Prophet “Let Freedom Ring” (Cooking Vinyl)
- 9 Son Volt “American Central Dust” (Rounder)
- 10 Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit” (Lightning Rod)
Band of the Year - 2009
- 1 Richmond Fontaine Triumphing in not one but two categories, the magic of Richmond Fontaine gigs for anyone who’s been is that no matter how big the crowd, you can hear a pin drop. Well apart from that Manchester date where a fight broke out mid-performance. Oh Manchester! Duke and the King again have a strong second placing, and although the list continues to more or less mirror the best album list, there’s the odd exception, such as alt-country supergroup Monsters of Folk and the legendary E Street Band of course.
- 2 Duke and the King
- 3 Felice Brothers
- 4 Wilco
- 5 Drive By Truckers
- 6 Son Volt
- 7 Monsters of Folk
- 8 Calexico
- 9 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
- 10 Low Anthem
Best Live Act
- 1 Duke and the King Finally Loose’s current favourites gain a deserved top position in one of our categories, and given the talk about any of their performances in our forums area, it’s not hard to see why. Expect them to do huge things on the festival circuit this year – maybe get your blanket down early. Richmond Fontaine follow in close second place, and then there’s three established giants who always gain high places in this particular category.
- 2 Richmond Fontaine
- 3 Bruce Springsteen
- 4 Wilco
- 5 Neil Young
Best Male Artist
- 1 Steve Earle One of the most sought after live performers effectively in 2009 toured his Townes Van Zandt covers album and accordingly introduced a whole new audience to the music of the man. Even without an album of new material he still nearly always holds the top spot in this category. Long may he reign! Interesting to see too that as with the other categories this year, UK based artists don’t really feature at all, with our own Bap being an honourable exception.
- 2 Neil Young
- 3 Bruce Springsteen
- 4 Chuck Prophet
- 5 Bap Kennedy
- 6 Sam Baker
- 7 Bob Dylan
- 8 Austin Lucas
- 9 Slaid Cleaves
- 10 Patterson Hood
Best Female Artist
- 1 Neko Case While some categories were close, others were not and Neko blew the competition here right out the water. Don’t take it personally Lucinda! Touring this year to promote her new “Middle Cyclone” CD, Case improves year on year. Now all we need is the nice label to start sending us her output. Or even just a sticker would be nice. Elsewhere in this category, it’s nice to see Alela Diane go from strength to strength with a strong third placing.
- 2 Lucinda Williams
- 3 Alela Diane
- 4 Diane Jones
- 5 Devon Sproule
- 6 Rosanne Cash
- 7 Emmylou Harris
- 8 Eileen Jewell
- 9 Alison Krauss
- 10 Hope Sandoval
Best TV Show
- 1 The Wire Again, blowing everything else out of the water, the end of HBO’s socially aware crime series should mean that something else at least gets a look in next year – in the meantime it’s still for now perhaps the most highly acclaimed television show of all time. “Mad Men” incidentally just missed out on making this list although it’s the current Wire replacement in critics eyes for the “best show on telly right now” accolade.
- 2 True Blood
- 3 Later… With Jools Holland
- 4 The Thick of It
- 5 Gavin & Stacey
- 1 Inglourious Basterds Every film critic’s spell checker’s worst nightmare, Tarantino’s gory revenge fest divided the critics but UK Americana fans must have a penchant for cartoon-like violent romps. Maybe Itchy and Scratchy the Movie for next year’s number one? The German theme continues with the runner up too, Michael Haneke’s masterpiece. The launch of americana-de.com beckons!
- 2 White Ribbon
- 3 Hurt Locker
- 4 In the Loop
- 5 Up
Best Radio Show
- 1 Bob Harris Saturday As if it could be anything else - the nation of Americana lovers’ favourite DJ by a (literal) country mile as always occupies the top two spots. The shows never of course get tired, and indeed he spoke to us of course earlier in the year and proved beyond doubt what a lovely guy he is. Danny Baker was perhaps a surprise entry into our top 5, although even more surprising was Radio 4’s Today show which got nudged out of the number 5 spot by one vote.
- 2 Bob Harris Country
- 3 Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie
- 4 Danny Baker
- 5 Theme Time Radio Hour with Bob Dylan
Hero of the Year
Barack Obama There was no-one else remotely in the running in this category which Saint Barack wins for the second year in a row. The sheen may be coming off over there but for the rest of the world the second coming lives on!
Villian of the Year
Simon Cowell Worse than Nick Griffin according to Americana UK visitors, although only just. Whether Jedward or racist bile is worse is arguable of course, but given who Cowell’s heroes are, they’re probably interchangeable in lots of ways anyway.