NEW YORK (AFP) – Alternative country star Jason Isbell swept the Americana music awards on Wednesday with his deeply personal album “Southeastern”.
The Alabama-bred singer and guitarist was named artist of the year and “Southeastern” won the award for album of the year.
He beat out a field that included Roseanne Cash – Johnny Cash’s daughter, who took home the prize for best album in 2010.
Isbell, a former member of the Drive-By Truckers, also won best song for the album’s opening track “Cover Me Up” at the Americana Music Association’s annual ceremony at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
“Cover Me Up” deals with Isbell’s struggles to give up drinking, with his impassioned voice over a strummed acoustic guitar giving way to the plain-stated verse, “I sobered up / And I swore off that stuff / Forever this time.”
Isbell, who completed “Southeastern” days before getting married last year, also deals frankly on the album with themes of cancer and incest.
The awards have been held each year since 2002 amid growing commercial interest in “Americana” – a loosely defined genre that focuses on American roots music and generally includes folk, alternative country and the blues.