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Recently, the Americana Music Association announced this year’s slate of Lifetime Achievement Award honorees for its 20th Annual Americana Honors. Taking place on September 22. Including top-honor recipients includes the Fisk Jubilee Singers (Legacy Award), The Mavericks (Trailblazer), Keb’ Mo’ (Performance).

Along with Trina Shoemaker (Producer/Engineer) and Carla Thomas (Inspiration Award). Taking place at the Ryman Auditorium is a prestigious ceremony. Which serves as the hallmark event of the association’s annual AMERICANAFEST, taking place Sept. 22-25 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Mavericks

Forging their own path in music, the 2021 Americana Trailblazer Award is going to The Mavericks. Forming in the eclectic alternative rock and punk scene of Miami in 1989. Singer/songwriter Raul Malo, starts fusing country music with claves and string-band textures from Malo’s family heritage in Cuba.

After, their second Album, “What A Crying Shame,” produces four top 40 hits,  securing them several country industry awards. In the 90’s with “Here Comes The Rain”, they receive a GRAMMY® Award. With 1998’s “Dance The Night Away” proving the global appeal of the band. Charting as a Top 5 pop hit in the UK.

Keb’ Mo’ receives the Americana Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance. Guitarist and songwriter Kevin Moore sets the course of his unique career as Keb’ Mo’ in the mid-1990s. It’s a bold and counter-cultural direction. Because Traditional blues is a niche legacy genre and popular music is focusing on MTV’s style-over-substance formula.

Yet Keb’ Mo’ makes it fly! Mostly by introducing legions of fans to the fingerstyle acoustic blues and bringing  a contemporary character to the legacy. After receiving five GRAMMY® Awards and making him a pioneer in the African American foundations of Americana music. He’s truly a force to reckon with when it comes to the blues!

Trina Shoemaker – Producer/Engineer 

“Sometimes I get work because of it, and sometimes I’m passed over because of it.” says Trina. With that indie spirit and consummate studio skills, she becomes a vital contributor to distinctive roots and rock recordings by Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Nanci Griffith and others. Growing up in the Chicago suburb of Joliet, Ill., She obsesses over her father’s record collection and stereo gear. So she chases her passion and becomes a record producer to Los Angeles and then London.

It’s here that she finds some mentorship, and moving on to New Orleans on a whim. Because she is struggling to find substantial opportunities. Producer Daniel Lanois takes notice of her and makes her a tape op and shortly after a full engineer. Working on albums by Iggy Pop, Giant Sand and fatefully, Emmylou Harris’s landmark “Wrecking Ball.” And you can say the rest is history! Her work also garners her first GRAMMY® Award. Thanks to her work with Sheryl Crow and others.

Carla Thomas – Queen of The Memphis Soul

After Valerie June released her recent track “Call Me A Fool,” she told NPR that her collaborator on the vocal duet, Thomas, “remains a queen and total superstar, Aretha-equivalent.” She’s not as world-famous as the divine Ms. Franklin, but Carla Thomas’s run of recordings for Stax and Atlantic Records through the 1960s made her the “Queen of Memphis Soul.”

With an effervescent and romantic voice that laid bare her teen and 20-something emotions, Thomas bridged soul, country and gospel as one of the key artists of a great musical and social movement. 

Be Sure to check out all the Honorees and their amazing Stories! 

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