Long known for its work to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world, the Americana Music Association (501c6) and the recently created Americana Music Association Foundation (501c3) met together for the first time virtually on January 21 with newly elected and appointed board directors. The purpose of the meeting among both boards was to review the setbacks and successes during the year of the pandemic, 2020, and to set its 2021 goals for the future.
This year’s new board members for the Americana Music Association include Emily Cohen (Amazon Music), Gail Gellman (Gellman Management), Brian Greenbaum (CAA), Allison Russell (Birds of Chicago, Our Native Daughters), Shannon Sanders (BMI, Producer), Jody Whelan (Oh Boy Records) and Rachel Whitney (Spotify). The association’s educational and charitable foundation has added Steve Smith (Concord) to its board of directors. (A complete list of both boards’ directors is below.)
Both boards gathered to discuss, plan and set in motion initiatives that focus on diversity & inclusion, development and education, as well as how to safely bring back AMERICANAFEST, the association’s annual festival and conference, slated for September 2021 in Nashville.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, both organizations have been active in supporting the music industry by publishing notices and supporting artist initiatives in the virtual world. In April 2020, the foundation partnered with The Bluegrass Situation and Ed Helms to raise funds for MusiCares and Direct Relief, which provides PPE to healthcare workers on the frontline.
Last September, the Americana Music Association Foundation (AMAF) presented its first initiative in the form of Thriving Roots: A Virtual Community Music Conference which successfully brought the Americana music community together safely through an online interactive platform. Thriving Roots united nearly 1,100 attendees to experience 75+ panels, conversations and special events highlighting artists and the industry, including one-on-ones with The Avett Brothers and Judd Apatow; Jackson Browne and Mavis Staples; Brandi Carlile and Yola; The Lumineers and M. Night Shyamalan; and the Linda Ronstadt “Linda & the Mockingbirds” film screening and discussion.
“2020 posed challenges for everyone, but the spirit of the Americana community rallied to help their fellow artists, and others, by way of Thriving Roots and other fundraising events. I continue to be inspired by the resilience of this community,” says Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association and its foundation.
“Following such an impactful year, it’s never been more critical for both of our boards to serve as faithful guides for our organizations with their unparalleled expertise. Each individual is a leader in their respective fields and based on the meetings we’ve already had this year, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and our supportive community as we scale new heights.”