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/ Source: Billboard
By By Barry A. Jeckell

Loretta Lynn earned two trophies Friday at the third annual Americana Honors & Awards in Nashville.

The veteran country performer was named artist of the year, while her acclaimed Jack White-produced Interscope album, “Van Lear Rose,” took the prize for album of the year.

Released in May, “Van Lear Rose” debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 24 on the Billboard 200. The set has sold 233,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and is among the 10 finalists for the 2004 Shortlist Prize.

Other winners included Mindy Smith (new/emergent artist of the year) and Rodney Crowell (song of the year, “Fate’s Right Hand). Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to former Byrds member Chris Hillman and Cowboy Jack Clement.

Outspoken singer-songwriter Steve Earle was presented with the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award, an honor previously bestowed on Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson.

Earle, Hillman, Smith and Crowell were among the performers at the Nashville Convention Center. Others included Tony Joe White and Shelby Lynne, Jason Ringenberg, Slaid Cleaves, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Mavis Staples.

The awards ceremony was part of the fifth annual Americana Music Association (AMA) Conference. A review committee chooses nominees, while winners are selected through a balloting process open to AMA members.

Here is the full list of 2004 Americana Music Association Awards winners:

Album of the year: “Van Lear Rose,” Loretta Lynn (Interscope)

Artist of the year: Loretta Lynn

Song of the year: “Fate’s Right Hand,” Rodney Crowell

Instrumentalist of the year: Will Kimbrough

New/emerging Artist of the year: Mindy Smith

Lifetime Achievement Award-Executive: Jack Emerson

Lifetime Achievement Award-Performer: Chris Hillman

Lifetime Achievement Award-Songwriter: Cowboy Jack Clement

President’s Award: The Carter Family

Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award: Steve Earle