Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baez to Be Honored at Americana Music Conference in September

From the Americana Music Association's latest newsletter:


AT AMERICANA HONORS & AWARDS CEREMONY, Thursday, September 18, 2008,
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

NASHVILLE, July 16, 2008 - The Americana Music Association is thrilled to announce that cultural icon and seminal American recording artist Joan Baez will receive the "Spirit of Americana" Free Speech Award at the organization’s 7th Annual Honors and Awards ceremony, slated for September 18 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Artist of the Year nominee and previous “Spirit of Americana” recipient Steve Earle will present the award. The honor recognizes and celebrates artists who have ignited discussion and challenged the status quo through their music and their actions. In addition to Earle, past recipients include Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mavis Staples, Judy Collins and Charlie Daniels.

Fifty years since she began her legendary residency at Boston’s famed Club 47, Baez remains a musical force of nature whose influence is incalculable - marching on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, inspiring Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, singing on the first Amnesty Interna­tional tour and just this year, standing alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London’s Hyde Park. She brought the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance to the war in Southeast Asia, then forty years later saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest war. Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963 and focused aware­ness on songwriters ranging from Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Phil Ochs, Richard Fariña, and Tim Hardin, to Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury, to Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Steve Earle and many more.

In 2007, Baez received the Grammy's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Her first studio album in five years, Day After Tomorrow produced by Earle, is slated for release September 9.

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