Here are the results of the Americana UK Readers’ Poll 2023

Credit: Douglas Robertson

Well here they are – as always on our last day of publishing for the year, we can share with you the results of this year’s readers poll, one of the busiest we’ve had in recent years so if you did participate, thank you. We narrowed down the categories this year, partly to get more engagement (which seems to have worked) and partly so I am not up at 3 in the morning counting votes around deadline time and then bleary-eyed accidentally walk into a truck the next day. So without further ado, here are this year’s winners!

Best Americana Artist of 2023: Jason Isbell

2. Allison Russell, 3. Margo Cilker, 4. Dean Owens, 5. Israel Nash = 5. Lucinda Williams

Photo: Nick Barber

For the second year running, the ex-Drive by Trucker is our number one artist of the year, in a year in which he produced a phenomenally good record, and more on that shortly, but also one in which he increasingly stuck his head above the parapet and sometimes got grief for it, which made us just love him a little bit more. Jason was a walkaway winner in this category despite some strong competition.

Best Americana Album of 2023: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit “Weathervanes”

2. Allison Russell “The Returner”, 3.  Margo Cilker “Valley Of Heart’s Delight”, 4. Israel Nash “Ozarker” 5. Jeffrey Martin“Thank God We Left The Garden”

And following on from that, it was great to see Jason walk away with the best Americana album of the year for a truly great record which people will come back to for many years. AUK’s Tim Martin said, reviewing it for us back in June: “AUK’s writers and readers are united in their love for Jason Isbell, and this album will do nothing to slow that down. You can expect to see this at the top of the polls again come Christmas” which was almost like a premonition, and of course it provides perfect synchronicity with our writers’ own album of the year for 2023.

Best UK Americana Artist of 2023: Dean Owens

2. Roseanne Reid, 3. Lady Nade, 4. Elles Bailey, 5. Our Man in the Field = 5. Michele Stodart

It’s another year, another AUK poll in which Dean Owens walks away with the best UK artist category, and as always it’s so well deserved, proving that the best Americana not only doesn’t necessarily have to sit across the Atlantic, but might be based north of Watford. His 2023 release “El Tiradito (The Curse Of Sinner’s Shrine)” recorded once again with Calexico, “an instrumental soundtrack for an imaginary western”, is essential listening. Dean told us: “To be honest I’m not really sure I deserve this, as there are so many other hard-working artists out there. However, I’m truly delighted to have won this lovely accolade for the third year in a row. A hat-trick, wow! Massive thanks to everyone who voted for me and for the constant support from everyone at Americana UK. You do a great job. 2023 has been an incredibly busy and productive year for me. I’ve released two albums, one a double in El Tiradito (The Curse Of Sinner’s Shrine) and my brand new one Pictures. I’ve also been out in Italy making my next album Spirit Ridge with Italian producer/musician Don Antonio and some great Italian musicians. It’s scheduled for a 2024 release and is really the proper follow-up to Sinner’s Shrine and El Tiradito, Pictures being a little side project record. I’m very excited to share Spirit Ridge with everyone, but still have a few finishing touches to add before it’s ready. On top of all this there’s been tours with my band The Sinners in the Netherlands and shows in Portugal and Spain too. Next up for me and the band is our big official showcase at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City in February. I have lots of plans for 2024, including UK shows, as well as US and Netherlands tours. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.”

Best Radio Show of 2023:  Bob Harris Country, BBC Radio 2

2. Mike Ritchie on Sunday. 3. Ralph McClean Country, BBC Radio Ulster, 4. Leader’s Americana Pie, 5. Another Country with Ricky Ross, BBC Radio Scotland

The only things you can be certain of as the old saying goes is death and taxes, and to that we can now add Bob Harris’ Country Show which has won for the… let’s face it, we’ve lost count, and which is like a warm bath each Thursday evening (and best listened to in one). Bob had this message for our readers: “‘This is such great news.  I’m really thrilled.  Thank you to everyone who voted for the Country Show.  Creating the playlist each week and introducing our community to the tracks I love is a joy of my life.  To know you’re enjoying the work means the world to me.  Thank you to Mark Hagen for being a great friend and an all-round brilliant producer and thank you to Radio 2 for supporting us and helping make Country/Ameriana the fastest-growing music genre in the UK in 2023.  There’s love in the room’.”

Hero: Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Mick Lynch

Runners-up: Shane McGowan, Lucinda Williams, Greta Thunberg and Chris Packham

Responses to this category were so varied that the winners only got 4 votes each – Zelensky wins for the second year despite keeping some very dodgy company lately, and Mick Lynch turns from the grinch who stole Christmas to someone providing opposition to the Tories in the absence of, er, the opposition.

Villain: The Tories

2. Suella Braverman, 3. Rishi Sunak, 4. Vladamir Putin, 5. Benjamin Netanyahu

On the other hand, the generic “Tories” easily walked away with the Villain of the year – as one reader put it “how can you just choose one!” However some of you did just choose one in the form of either ex-Home Secretary Suelle and soon to be ex-PM Rishi.

That’s it then. As always, if you hate the results, you only have yourselves to blame! Thanks everyone who took part.

About Mark Whitfield 2007 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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Mike Potter

Maybe learn to spell Michele Stodart’s name since Americana is supposed to be your specialist area.

Andy Riggs

Find room for Keir Stammer !