Blues Music

Full Winners List for 2023 International Folk Music Awards – American Blues Scene


The International Folk Music Awards were held at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City, MO on Wednesday, February 1. Seasoned singer-songwriter Janis Ian received a previously announced lifetime achievement award, and also won artist of the year.

Crooked Tree by Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, also GRAMMY-nominated for best bluegrass album, won album of the year. For song of the year, there was a tie between “Bright Star,” written and performed by Anaïs Mitchell, and “B61,” written and performed by Aoife O’Donovan. Mitchell won a Tony and a Grammy for her work on the musical Hadestown.

Jake Blount performed Janis Ian’s Grammy-winning song “At Seventeen,” while Wallis Bird sang “Better Times Will Come” in tribute. In tribute to Josh White, who won this year’s lifetime achievement award for a legacy (deceased) artist, Leyla McCalla performed “I Gave My Love a Cherry (The Riddle Song) and Josh White Jr. sang “One Meatball.” He tried to hold back tears, saying on stage, of his father, “I performed with him many times on stage and those stick within your heart forever.”

Josh White Jr. / Credit: Katie Rich

Oh Boy Records, founded in 1981 by John Prine, Al Bunetta and Dan Einstein, received the business/academic award. The Milk Carton Kids did their rendition of “That’s the Way the World Goes ’Round,” a song from the John Prine album Bruised Orange. Iris Dement performed “Mexican Home,” a song from his album Sweet Revenge.

Below is the complete list of winners at the 2023 International Folk Music Awards, as well as recipients of honorary awards:

Album of the year

Anais Mitchell, Anais Mitchell

WINNER: Crooked Tree, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway

Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder

Marchita, Silvana Estrada

Queen Of Sheba, Angélique Kidjo & Ibrahim Maalouf

Artist of the year

Aoife O’Donovan

Jake Blount

WINNER: Janis Ian

Leyla McCalla

Prateek Kuhad

Song of the year

“Udhero Na,” written by Arooj Aftab, performed by Arooj Aftab and Anoushka Shankar

“Vini Wè,” written and performed by Leyla McCalla

WINNER: “Bright Star,” written and performed by Anais Mitchell

“How,” written by Marcus Mumford and Brandi Carlile, performed by Marcus Mumford featuring Brandi Carlile

WINNER: “B61,” written and performed by Aoife O’Donovan

The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards: Janis Ian (living), Josh White (legacy), Oh Boy Records (business/academic)

The People’s Voice Award: Leyla McCalla

The Rising Tide Award: Alisa Amador

The Clearwater Award: Shambala Festival

The Spirit of Folk Awards: Steve Edge, Amy Reitnouer Jacobs, Marcy Marxer, Adrian Sabogal, Pat Mitchell Worley

The Folk DJ Hall of Fame: Robert Resnik, Marilyn Rea Beyer, John Platt, Harry B. Soria Jr.

Calendar of Events: 

Black American Music Summit

Thursday, February 2 at 11:30 am

Friday, February 3 at 12 pm

Saturday, February 4 at 12 pm 

Valerie June Keynote Address and Artist in Residence

Thursday, February 2 at 1:30 pm

The Queer Pulse of Society: A Conversation About Community and Social Sustainability

Friday, February 3 at 10 am

Mary Gauthier: Saved by a Song

Friday, February 3 at 2 pm

CommUNITY Gathering: Meet the Team

Saturday, February 4 at 9:30 am

Janis Ian: In Her Own Words

Saturday, February 4 at 10:45 am

Songs of Hope, Songs of Change

Sunday, February 5 at 10 am



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