Tracy Chapman, whose 1988 song “Fast Car” became a pop and country smash in 2023 for Luke Combs, will receive a lifetime achievement award at the 2024 International Folk Music Awards on Feb. 21. The awards are held on the first day of the Folk Alliance International (FAI) Conference. The event, now in its 36th year, is set for Feb. 21-25 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
Other lifetime achievement award recipients are the late Chilean songwriter and activist Víctor Jara and McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California, which has been hosting concerts in Southern California for more than 50 years.
Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff will receive The People’s Voice Award, which is presented to an individual who “unabashedly embraces social and political commentary in their creative work and public careers.”
The Rising Tide Award will go to Guatemalan songwriter, vocalist and activist Sara Curruchich, who is the first musician to use the Kaqchikel language of her people in popular music for an international audience.
The Clearwater Award, presented to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in sustainable event production, will go to LEAF Global Arts Festival.
The Spirit of Folk Awards will go to Lead Belly Estate’s Terika Dean; Amanda Rheaume, an artist from the Métis Nation of Ontario, Canada; Jim Fleming, founder of the booking agency Fleming Artists; and FAI’s conference director Jerod Rivers.
Newly minted Folk Radio Hall of Famers include Folk Alley’s Linda Fahey; roots music and folk expert Jan Vanderhorst, host of “Just Us Folk,” Mountain Stage founder Larry Groce; Bob Sherman, whose “Woody’s Children” show graced New York City’s airwaves for nearly 55 years; and Celtic music ambassador Brian O’Donovan.
Nominees for album, artist, and song of the year are compiled from U.S., Canadian, and international “best of” lists in addition to the year-end Folk DJ Charts. Winners will be determined by FAI’s voting membership and will be announced at the International Folk Music Awards on Feb. 21.
Here are the finalists for those marquee awards:
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
Song of the Year
“Changes” – Joy Oladokun
“Keep It on a Burner” – Margo Cilker
“Tears Run Dry” – Abraham Alexander
“The Returner” – Drew Lindsy, JT Nero, & Allison Russell
“Workin’ on a World” – Iris Dement