The 2018 "Spirit of Americana" Free Speech Award goes to... Rosanne Cash!


This fearless icon needs no introduction - but here are 6 things you should know about this year's recipient of the "Spirit of Americana" Free Speech Award, which will be presented in partnership with the First Amendment Center.

  • Cash is a four-time GRAMMY® Award winner, widely recognized for 1981's breakthrough "Seven Year Ache" and 1991's introspective "Interiors."
  • As a fearless advocate and board member of the Content Creators Coalition (C3), she has endlessly devoted her time and efforts to championing artists’ rights. Her most high-profile instance took place representing artists and the Americana Music Association® in 2014 during a testimony before Congress on the issue of intellectual property rights and digital music licensing.


  • Cash has also been involved in advocating against gun violence for almost 20 years as a strong proponent of organizations like Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety, among others.
  • The Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame member's innate ability to craft a timeless song has also lead her to write eloquent prose as a best-selling author, including notable literary works such as her memoir “Composed,” multiple collections of short stories and op-eds that have appeared in The New York Times, The Oxford American and more major publications.


  • Her most recent record, “The River and the Thread,” (2014) swept the Recording Academy’s American Roots field the year following its release, garnering two GRAMMYs® for LP highlight “A Feather’s Not a Bird” (Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song) and one additional award for the work as a whole (Best Americana Album).
  • Cash’s "The River and the Thread" also topped the list as the most-played album on the Americana Radio Airplay chart in 2014 with a record of an impressive 10 weeks at #1.

    Want to share this moment of Americana music history with us? Tickets for the 17th annual Americana Honors & Awards are currently on sale to AMERICANAFEST® Conference Registrants. For details on ticketing, click here.
Reed Watson