(Austin, TX) – The 3rd Annual Ameripolitan Music Awards will be held Tuesday, February 16th, 8:00 pm at the historic Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin, Texas with music legend and past Ameripolitan winner Ray Benson as host. Charley Pride is slated to receive a Master Award. Tickets are available at austintheatre.org, the Paramount Theatre box office, and by phone at (512) 474-1221. Tickets to the 3rd Annual Ameripolitan Awards are available at www.austintheatre.org. For updates and breaking news, please visit Ameripolitan.com as well as the Ameripolitan Awards social networks on TWITTER and FACEBOOK.
Founder Dale Watson Tells Us About This New/Old Genre
DW: It’s grown and that’s what you want but each year with growth comes a lot more work.
AMFM: The show at the Paramount is almost sold out. That’s 1200 seats. There will be a lot of people there..
There are some that are in the showcases, won’t get in town in time, but we have showcases going on Friday, Saturday Sunday and then the awards shows. (see schedule ->)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
DW: You don’t have to look far, it’s going to be in so many venues around town, you’ll be able to hear Western Swing, Honky Tonk and Rockabilly for them four days. You can’t go wrong you will hear a lot of really good new music, there are bands from Sweden, England and Australia that I’d never heard of until Ameripolitan came around.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHY YOU NEEDED TO MAKE THE AMERIPOLITAN GENRE AND THE AWARDS CEREMONY?
DW: Because those categories aren’t even considered for other award shows. I don’t have anything agains the Americana genre, but I feel Americana by defiiniton is original Americana is original music with prominent folk and rock influences. I think it’s music starts with Woody Guthrie and goes to Bob Dylan and Steve Earle. If you look at their playlists and awards, they really cater to, like, Neil Young. Nothing against those artists, but they are not from where I’m from.
They don’t come from what used to be the country side. Ameripolitan starts with Jimmy Rogers, Hank Williams, Earnest Tubb. It’s what country music used to be, but you can’t say the word country anymore without hearing Taylor Swift. We’re not, and I’m not – that.
RIGHT – SO IT’S NEW CATEGORY FOR AN OLD CATEGORY?
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT CHARLEY PRIDES INCLUSION IN THIS YEAR’S CEREMONY?
DW: The Master’s Award is not given away lightly. It’s given to someone who influenced the whole genre, who brought something so new it’s undeniable. Charley Pride single handedly broke down the race ceremony.
WHO DECIDES WHO IS GOING TO BE GETTING THESE AWARDS?
DW: There are a dozen people across the world, we all get our heads together and vote on Master Award and Founder of the Sound. But we actively ask people regulary who they think should be nominated, and we take it into consideration.
SHOULD IT BE INCLUDED IN A LARGER AWARD CEREMONY LIKE THE GRAMMYS?
DW: I think so, it righfully should, but I’m not the pushy one.. We don’t badger people to join, or draft people into it, it has to be something people want to do. We’ve actually had people turn us down to be considered for Ameripolitan, they said they’d rather be considered Americana or Country. No hard feelings.
We’re not trying to make any waves, just acknowledge the artists who play the music. This is an in the trenches type of music. These are the people who do it for the love of music, not the monetary of the fame. They are doing what they do naturally, and like I said, in the trenches. These are people that actually talk to their fans, it’s not a product that is pushed out there.
There’s someone in Nashville, we’re not naming names, who said “The Ameripolitan Awards are for people who can’t win awards.”
SPEAKING OF NASHVILLE…
DW: Nashville has always hated Texas, that’s just the way it is. Whenever someone succeeds in Texas, they begrudgedly pat them on the back. It’s been that way forever. I’ve learned not to worry about what Nashville thinks or does. Truthfully, when the person said that I thought ‘They’re right, there are people who would never win the awards in Nashville because they don’t play the corporate game. They don’t have all the money in promotion. So he was right, a lot of these people would not win an award from the CMA’s.”
AND THAT’S OKAY.
DW: They wouldn’t win it because they can’t afford it. You’ve got to pretty much buy that award. They’re right, they wouldn’t win those awards because it’s not given by integrity, but by commerciality.
WHERE DO YOU POINT SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS KIND OF MUSIC?
DW: We have a website that’s a work in progress. The goal is to make venues, promoters, and artists all on one site. It’s a 501(c)3. If you’re traveling you can go the website and see a list of the bands. Say you are in Alabama. You can click on a list of bands, or a list of venues. and see where people are playing that night. Festivals. We’re trying to connect the people who do the music with the people who promote the music and with people who love the music.
DO YOU SEE AN AMERIPOLITAN MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
DW: Certainly, I think it would be a traveling thing. When I first started the Ameripolitan Music Awards, I just wanted to do one. I didn’t think it would catch on, I was just doing it in frustration about what the previously unnamed Nashville person said about this genre. I did it just to prove him wrong.
I would like to have the Ameripolitan Awards show travel, and be in different cities. I’d like to see a festival travel to different cities and showcase the local talent there. That’s where the music grows. That’s where you’re going to get the new people on the scene. If you’re not going to water the roots of this genre then the musicians will go somewhere else, they’ll go to the suits in Nashville, and will have to conform to what they’re told to do. Then you’ve lost that integrity.
I wish I could tell you how many artists have come up to me in the past and said, “Wow I like that shuffle stuff you’re doing, I wish I could do that.” These are people who have had number one songs on the radio. But they have to do what the record companies want them to do. They’re playing the game and the record comapany needs to make some money.
WHAT ABOUT INCLUSION IN SXSW?
DW: I’d love for that to happen, it’s more work than I ever thought of, I’m still trying to tour, make my own album and all that, this takes up a lot of time. But I’d love to see that happen, for somebody to take the reins. In a sense, we are doing the festival part, there are five or six venues doing it, it’s almost become city wide, it’s North and South Austin now.