Rosanne Cash to Receive “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award on Sept. 12 |

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Rosanne Cash to Receive “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award on Sept. 12

Rosanne Cash to Receive “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award on Sept. 12

// 7.23.18

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 24, 2018) - The Americana Music Association® names Rosanne Cash as its recipient of the 2018 “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award. In partnership with the First Amendment Center, the honor will be presented to Cash at the 17th annual Americana Honors & Awards, which will take place Wednesday, September 12 at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

Throughout her career, the four-time GRAMMY® Award winner has consistently used her voice to speak to her truth. As a fearless advocate and board member of the Content Creators Coalition (C3), she has endlessly devoted her time and efforts to championing artists’ rights. Her most high-profile instance took place representing artists and the Americana Music Association® in 2014 during a testimony before Congress on the issue of intellectual property rights and digital music licensing.

In addition to actively supporting other musicians, Cash has also been involved in advocating against gun violence for almost 20 years as a strong proponent of organizations like Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety, among others. The Americana stalwart has never shied away from speaking her mind on a career platform she has built over the last four decades with her renowned artistry.

“We are truly humbled to present this award to Rosanne Cash during this year’s program,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association®. “She has been — and continues to be — a crusader for not only artists in our community but for all artists and those whose rights may have been compromised, and we want to rightfully honor that fighting spirit.”

Ken Paulson, President of the First Amendment Center, adds, “It’s fitting that Rosanne Cash’s first studio recording was her rendition of Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Broken Freedom Song’ in 1974. That foreshadowed an extraordinary musical career distinguished by its honesty, integrity and compassion.”

Cash is one of the most distinguished songwriters the music industry has seen in the last half-century — to no surprise as she is the eldest daughter of the late Johnny Cash, who received the inaugural “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award in 2002. Indeed, the gift of extraordinary songwriting runs deep in her blood, and she has paved her own way with a remarkable body of work that has landed her at the top of the charts, thanks to 1981’s breakthrough “Seven Year Ache,” and on critically acclaimed lists merited by striking introspection, as showcased on 1991’s “Interiors.”

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member’s innate ability to craft a timeless song has also lead her to write eloquent prose as a best-selling author, including notable literary works such as her memoir “Composed,” multiple collections of short stories and op-eds that have appeared in The New York Times, The Oxford American and more major publications. 

Her most recent record, “The River and the Thread,” (2014) swept the Recording Academy’s American Roots field the year following its release, garnering two GRAMMYs® for LP highlight “A Feather’s Not a Bird” (Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song) and one additional award for the work as a whole (Best Americana Album). Cash’s latest opus also topped the list as the most-played album on the Americana Radio Airplay chart in 2014 with a record of an impressive 10 weeks at #1. The multi-GRAMMY® award-winning collaboration with her husband, co-writer and producer John Leventhal takes a magnifying glass to the American South, exploring the region’s rich cultural layers through her own lens of personal reflection and insight. She is currently working on its follow-up that will be due out later this year.

Rosanne Cash will be presented with this year's “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award during the Americana Music Association's® 17th annual Americana Honors & Awards, which includes six member-voted annual awards as well as several top Lifetime Achievement honors.

This announcement follows the recent unveiling of 2018 Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive recipients Judy Dlugacz and Cris Williamson of Olivia Records, Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance honoree Irma Thomas, Americana Trailblazer Award recipient k.d. lang and Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist recipient Buddy Guy. This year’s nominees include Artist of the Year contenders Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Margo Price and John Prine — click here for a full list of this year’s nominations. The prestigious ceremony celebrates legendary mainstays and trailblazing newcomers as the hallmark of AMERICANAFEST® week, taking place September 11-16 in Nashville, TN.

Since its inception in 1999, the mission of the Americana Music Association® has been to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. In recent years, the association's unwavering dedication to artist advocacy has been evidenced by several milestones, including the addition of the Best Americana Album GRAMMY® category by the Recording Academy and Billboard’s Americana/Folk Albums Chart, as well as the inclusion of the musical term, Amer·i·ca·na, to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

For more information on the association or to purchase tickets for this year's Americana Honors & Awards and passes to AMERICANAFEST®, please visit


About the Americana Music Association®:
The Americana Music Association® is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. The Association produces events throughout the year; including AMERICANAFEST®: The Americana Music Festival & Conference and the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards program. The Americana Music Association® receives enormous support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, Lagunitas Brewing Company, RAM, Mountain Valley Water, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.

The 19th annual AMERICANAFEST®: The Americana Music Festival & Conference will take place September 11-16, 2018. The event brings together fans and music industry professionals alike, offering six days of celebration through seminars, panels and networking opportunities by day and raw, battery recharging showcases each night. The Americana Honors & Awards Show is the featured performance of the festivities, taking place at the historic Ryman Auditorium. For information on how to purchase a conference registration, please visit


For more information, please contact:
Bryan Ros | Americana Music Association® | 615.386.6936 |
Jackie Marushka | Marushka Media | 615.417.6500 |