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Entertainment
Americana awards honor John Prine, Brandi Carlile, others
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Americana awards honor John Prine, Brandi Carlile, others

Americana awards honor John Prine, Brandi Carlile, others
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Wade Payne
Brandi Carlile, left, accepts the Artist of the Year Award at the Americana Honors & Awards show Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Americana awards honor John Prine, Brandi Carlile, others

John Prine's winning streak has continued at the Americana Music Association's annual awards ceremony in Nashville, though his two-year reign as Americana artist of the year has ended.

The 72-year-old folk singer-songwriter took home two major honors on Wednesday at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. Prine won album of the year for "The Tree of Forgiveness," his first collection of new material in 13 years, and a song he wrote with Pat McLaughlin, "Summer's End," won song of the year.

Prine, who had won artist of the year the previous two years and had battled health problems recently, was joined on stage by Bonnie Raitt for a stirring duet of "Angel from Montgomery," the Prine song that became a show-stopper for both artists. In his first acceptance speech, Prine joked that he could use the speeches he wrote for the Grammys, where he was nominated but did not win.

Americana artist of the year honors for 2019 went to Brandi Carlile, the first woman to win it since Gillian Welch claimed the title in 2012. The award topped off a stellar run for the earthy singer-songwriter whose album, "By the Way, I Forgive You," won three Grammy awards earlier this year. Carlile was one of several winners to sing the praises of producer Dave Cobb, who had a hand in the work of multiple winners and nominees.

On a night that showcased the diversity of a genre that ranges from blues to gospel to country, all of the nominees for artist of the year were female. That set the Americana awards apart from other country music award shows this year. The other finalists were Mavis Staples, Kacey Musgraves and Rhiannon Giddens.

Staples, who built a tour this year around her 80th birthday in July, was given the association's first annual Inspiration Award, presented by television journalist John Seigenthaler on behalf of the Freedom Forum and the First Amendment Center, and Ernest "Rip" Patton, who protested segregation on interstate buses as a "freedom rider" during the civil rights movement in the early 1960s.

Staples, who had been a movement mainstay as a member of her family's band, the Staple Singers, said in her acceptance speech that the freedom songs she sang in that era were still relevant.

"We're still here and we are still carrying on," she said. "We're still singing our freedom songs."

Staples closed the awards ceremony by leading a star-studded rendition of the gospel classic "I'll Fly Away."

Giddens shared a legacy of Americana award with the late Frank Johnson, an African-American musician whose band was popular during the 1800s but whose contributions have largely been forgotten. Giddens noted in her remarks that Johnson's influence continues to be felt by modern-day musicians who had no idea where it came from.

The married duo known as The War and Treaty, Michael and Tanya Trotter, were honored as emerging act of the year, largely on the strength of their acclaimed 2018 album "Healing Tide."

The trio known as I'm With Her, comprised of Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan and Sara Watkins, won duo/group of the year honors, while Chris Eldridge was honored as instrumentalist of the year.

Prine wasn't the only elder statesman to be honored. Eclectic rocker Elvis Costello won a lifetime achievement award for songwriting, roadhouse warrior Delbert McClinton was recognized with a lifetime achievement award for performance, and Maria Muldaur won a trailblazer award for her experimental adventures in American roots music.

The awards show is scheduled for television broadcast Nov. 23 as an episode of Austin City Limits on PBS.

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Update 3:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Huffman to serve 14 days in jail and 250 hours of community service after she pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges leveled at her as part of a probe into a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme. In a statement read Friday in court, Huffman apologized to college officials and other students who were affected by her decision to participate in the bribery scheme. She said she felt ashamed of her choice. Prosecutors said prison time would deter others from committing similar crimes and noted that Huffman's reputation would likely recover. Prosecutors said she signed a movie deal with Netflix while awaiting sentencing, according to WFXT. Attorneys for Huffman argued against jail time for the 'Desperate Housewives' actress, pointing to her remorse and her lack of a previous criminal record, among other factors. Update 2:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Huffman appeared in a courtroom on the third floor of the federal courthouse in Boston on Friday for a sentencing hearing. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was also in the courthouse, according to WFXT. He has not been charged as part of the case. Update 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Huffman arrived at the federal courthouse in Boston on Friday afternoon ahead of her scheduled sentencing hearing. Original report: Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to sentence the 'Desperate Housewives' actress to one month in prison and supervised release, citing her deliberate and repeated deception of her daughter's high school, the college entrance exam system and college administrators. They have also asked she be fined $20,000. 'Her efforts weren't driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity,' prosecutors said last week in a sentencing memo filed in court. Authorities said Huffman coordinated with Singer to convince test administrators to give her daughter extended time to take the SAT in 2017, citing a 'learning difference.' She arranged to have her daughter take the test at a center affiliated with Singer, where her answers were altered to boost her score by about 400 points, prosecutors said. 'She could buy her daughter every conceivable legitimate advantage, introduce her to any number of useful personal connections, and give her a profound leg up on the competition simply because she would be applying to college as the daughter of a movie star,' prosecutors said in the sentencing memo. 'But Huffman opted instead to use her daughter's legitimate learning differences in service of a fraud on the system, one that Huffman knew, by definition, would harm some other student who would be denied admission because Huffman's daughter was admitted in his or her place, under false pretenses.' Attorneys for Huffman have asked Talwani to sentence her to one year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine, calling the incident out of character and noting her remorse for her part in the admissions scheme. 'In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,' Huffman wrote in a letter to the court filed last week. 'I honestly didn't and don't care about my daughter going to a prestigious college. I just wanted to give her a shot at being considered for a program where her acting talent would be the deciding factor. That sounds hollow now, but, in my mind, I knew that her success or failure in theater or film wouldn't depend on her math skills. I didn't want my daughter to be prevented from getting a shot at auditioning doing what she loves because she can't do math.' Huffman is scheduled to appear Friday afternoon in the federal courthouse in Boston. Huffman was one of more than 50 people, including 34 parents, to be charged earlier this year with participating in the large-scale admissions scheme. Prosecutors said the parents involved paid Singer to bribe college coaches and rig test scores to get their children into elite universities. The scandal also led to the arrests of “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, both of whom are fighting the charges. The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared to other bribes alleged in the scheme. Some parents are accused of paying up to $500,000 to get their children into elite schools by having them labeled as recruited athletes for sports they didn't even play. Authorities say it's the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, with a total of 51 people charged. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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