The rise and rise of Americana music in the UK continues, and today (April 11) there’s further proof. The Official Charts Company and the Americana Music Association UK have announced a new headline partnership with Sweet Home Alabama – which works to inspire travel to Alabama.
An official press release stated that the new partnership will help with “leveraging increased involvement by the private sector for both the Official Americana Chart, and the association’s annual festival UK Americana Music Week and awards ceremony, taking place in January in Hackney.”
Check out the latest Official Americana Chart here.
Including naming rights to both the chart and festival, the year-long partnership will establish a series of new Americana talent profiles, live music showcases, competitions, guides to the best music and tourism experiences across Alabama and offer exclusive artist interviews with the likes of Lucinda Williams and rising stars Ferris & Sylvester.
In the first of the interview series, Lucinda Williams spoke to OfficialCharts.com about defining the Americana genre: "For me, in the beginning when it first established, it appeared to be anything that wasn't more commercially accepted. It was the stuff that fell through the cracks; the songs that didn't get a lot of radio play. It was the anti-commercial genre...but it's grown a lot."
The Official Charts Company and AMA UK have worked together for the past six years to promote the UK Americana scene. January 2016 saw the launch of both the inaugural UK Americana Awards at St John Hackney, and the introduction of the UK’s first official chart for the genre – the Official Americana Albums Chart.
Americana music is defined as “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues.”
Speaking of the partnership, Stevie Smith, CEO of AMA-UK said: “We have been working closely with the Official Charts Company these past six years to develop this chart. The Official Americana Albums Chart has been instrumental in the growth of the genre in the UK and we are now so thrilled to welcome Sweet Home Alabama into the mix, working together we feel we can develop the understanding of the genre, its roots and its future to a much wider audience and feel true excitement for what lies ahead.”
Martin Talbot, CEO of the Official Charts Company, added: “We are delighted to welcome Sweet Home Alabama as the first headline sponsor of the Official Americana Chart here in the UK. Since its inception, this exciting weekly chart has gone from strength-to-strength, supporting this vibrant musical sector as it has continued to grow in the UK – and this new partnership is the latest chapter of its development. We look forward to championing the genre, from the icons to its emerging stars, with even more gusto, with the full weight of Sweet Home Alabama behind it.”
The partnership launch coincides with the opening of the Orion Amphitheatre in Huntsville, the new 8,000-capacity venue from TVG hospitality, led by CEO Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. The venue’s opening weekend is set to feature performances from artists with deep ties to the North Alabama region, including Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, Brittany Howard and many more.
The partnership was brokered by The Romano Sidoli Consultancy, event and brand specialists in the music, media and creative industries.
The Official Americana Albums Chart has been instrumental in the growth of the genre in the UK and we are now so thrilled to welcome Sweet Home Alabama into the mix
Stevie Smith, CEO of AMA-UK
Grey Brennan, deputy director of the Alabama Tourism Department said: “Alabama has a rich musical history. Hank Williams, W.C. Handy and Nat King Cole were all born here. Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and Percy Sledge all recorded hits here and our musical future is bright with the opening of the Orion Amphitheatre. Alabama has a musical story to tell, and this will be amplified internationally with our partnership with the Official Charts and AMA-UK. We are thrilled to be the first headline sponsor of the Americana Chart in the UK and powering UK Americana Music Week next year.“
Ben Lovett, CEO of TVG hospitality and Americana Music Association UK board member, concluded: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Stevie and the team over the past couple of years and this wonderful partnership linking the great state of Alabama to all of the work Stevie has been doing in the UK for many years just makes total sense and we are happy to facilitate.”
Since its inception, this exciting weekly chart has gone from strength-to-strength, supporting this vibrant musical sector as it has continued to grow in the UK
Martin Talbot, Official Charts Company
Last year, the Official Charts Company unveiled a new addition to its No.1 Award family to mark the 10th anniversary of The UK Official Chart’s coveted No.1 Award trophy. The all-new Specialist No.1 Award was designed to spotlight the diverse range of music talent, and the breadth of records finding success on the UK’s Official Specialist Charts. Liam Gallagher, classical cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Bristol band Idles, and rising stars of UK afrobeats Darkoo & One Acen were the founding recipients of the new award, recognising standout achievements in their respective fields in 2020.
They also launched a new special edition award which provides fans with exclusive replicas of the Official Number 1 award. Up until now, this has only been available to artists and their teams who have achieved an official No.1 single or album.
You can revisit our in-depth profile on the Official Charts Company in full here.