Article Contributed by Nick Loss-Eato… | Published on Thursday, February 22, 2024

The International Folk Music Awards – presented by Folk Alliance International (FAI), a 501(c)3 and the foremost global nonprofit for folk music— took place last night as part of the opening of the conference and Best of 2023 awards were won by Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway (Album of the Year); Billy Strings (Artist of the Year); and Iris Dement (Song of the Year). NPR Music and World Cafe live-streamed the awards show.

The following have won awards at the ceremony (with the nominees listed), in addition to the below:
Album of the Year
Amatssou - Tinariwen (Wedge Records)
City Of Gold - Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway (Nonesuch)
False Lankum - Lankum (Rough Trade)
Stand in the Joy - William Prince (Six Shooter Records)
Welcome to Whatever - Rainbow Girls (self-release)
Artist of the Year (sponsored by the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame)
Billy Strings
Digging Roots
Gaby Moreno
Nickel Creek
Madi Diaz
Song of the Year
"Changes" written by Joy Oladokun & Dan Wilson, performed by Joy Oladokun
"Keep It On A Burner" written and performed by Margo Cilker
"Tears Run Dry" written by Abraham Alexander, Ian Barter, Leo Stannard, performed by Abraham Alexander
"The Returner" written by Allison Russell, Drew Lindsay, & JT Nero, performed by Allison Russell
"Workin' On A World" written and performed by Iris Dement
Strings said, “I’m incredibly honored... The fact that my name even comes up in conversation with the other nominees just blows my mind. I made so many great friends at FAI in 2013-14 when I was ripping showcases and pickin' all up and down them hallways and hotel rooms. I'd like to say thanks to Folk Alliance for giving us artists a place to come together and make lifelong friends, showcase our music, bump elbows, meet the right people, and start to grow our careers in an organic and natural way."
Tuttle said, “I feel so lucky to be part of this folk music community. I draw so much inspiration from the folk tradition when I was writing this album, I imagined these songs being played by folks around the campfire. Music really is my City of Gold. I wish I was there with you all in Kansas City. I know we’d have a great time.”
The People’s Voice Award is presented to an individual who unabashedly embraces social and political commentary in their creative work and public careers. This year’s recipient is Alynda Segarra (of Hurray For the Riff Raff, which has released nine albums).

Segarra said, “I started writing songs as a way to have power in this world. I started a band to create a family. Since my first days playing music on the street in New Orleans, I’ve turned to the mysteries of songwriting to document, honor, and defend the people on the outskirts of society. Folk music drew me in because it tells the truth, it disgraces the warmongers, and it defends the innocent. It’s been enlivening to watch folk music become more visibly queer and radical.”
She then added, “I want to use this platform for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to the occupation in Palestine.”
Lifetime Achievement Awards were granted to four-time GRAMMY Award-winner, thirteen-time GRAMMY nominee, and writer of a #1 Billboard Hot Country Song chart hit, Tracy Chapman; Chilean songwriter and activist Victor Jara; and McCabe’s Guitar Shop, which has been hosting concerts in southern California for over 50 years. (The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented each year to honor the cultural impact of legendary folk music figures: one Living, one Legacy, and one Business/Academic.)
Walt McGraw of McCabe’s called for adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment.