On the eve of his twenty-fifth anniversary as a recording artist, Dale Watson was working, recording his New Year’s Eve show at Hernando’s Hideaway for future live album consideration. Watson has reopened Hernando’s, a legendary Memphis, TN venue that served as Jerry Lee’s home-away-from-home as well as hosting performances by Elvis Presley (sitting in with the Burnett Brothers), Charlie Rich, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Fats Domino, and Charlie Pride. Between the legendary venue’s new life, an Elvis-themed Airbnb he opened, the expansion of the Ameripolitan Music Awards into a four-day festival, and a new recording studio that features a board previously used at Sun Studio, Watson has managed the difficult task of expanding the must-see music sites and events in his adopted home of Memphis, TN.
The nominees for the 2020, seventh edition of the Ameripolitan Awards include Newport Folk Fest and NPR-acclaimed breakout artist Charley Crockett; ”one of the leaders of L.A.’s Americana scene” (Rolling Stone) Jaime Wyatt; Linda Gail Lewis (who has recorded with her brother Jerry Lee as well as Van Morrison), among others.
Big Sandy and Doris Mayday will be co-hosting the Awards show with Dallas Wayne, Sirius XM DJ, Willies Roadhouse and Outlaw Channel, as the announcer.
Hernando’s Hideaway will be the recipient of a historical marker to be unveiled during Ameripolitan weekend. Performers during the four-day event include Watson, Bob Dylan opener and honky tonk legend Junior Brown; rockabilly greats Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys and Reverand Horton Heat; and King of Juke Joinnt Swing Wayne Hancock. The Awards will take place at the Guest House at Graceland. Other musicians who will be attending will be Jerry Phillips, who will be giving the speech and award to J.M Van Eaton’ Sonny George of the Planet Rockers; Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives); Nick 13 from Tiger Army; Jody Mathis (son of country music royalty Joe & Rose Lee Maphis); Mr. “Treat Her Right,” Roy Head; and James Intveld.
The Awards will honor Duane Eddy for an Ameripolitan Master Award. Born in 1938, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and GRAMMY Award-winner Eddy is “vastly influential,” according to All Music Guide, which continues, “he may also have been the man most responsible for popularizing the electric rock guitar.” Best known for the song “Rebel Rouser,” his career spanned numerous appearances on the Dick Clark Show, acting in a number of western films and the TV series Have Gun—Will Travel, and producing an album for Waylon Jennings. Gretsch Guitars has produced the G612TB-DE Duane Eddy Signature 6-String Bass.
Rockabilly Hall of Famer J.M. “Jimmy” Van Eaton will receive the Founder of the Sound Award. Born in 1937 in Memphis, TN, he has recorded with Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Billy Riley, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Charlie Feathers, but mostly notably iconic Jerry Lee Lewis sides “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” In recent years, he appeared at the Ponderosa Stomp Festival. Of Van Eaton, Levon Helm wrote, “It sounded so good, it made me want to start playing drums.”
Of Dale Watson, Willie Nelson said, “I’m one of Dale’s biggest fans.” The Compass Records artist and honky-tonk legend has carried the torch for pure country music, He has performed on The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS), Austin City Limits and The Sun Sessions (PBS); sat in with the indie rock band Spoon in Los Angeles, CA; and won an Independent Music Award. No Depression said, “His objective importance lies in his priceless role as devoted counter to insipid pop-country.” Watson’s first album ‘Cheatin’ Heart Attack’ came out in 1995 and has released thirty-five albums in total.