Rosanne's Speech at the 2018 Americana Music Awards

photo by  @tinydesk

photo by @tinydesk

Click here for a list of winners at the 2018 Americana Music Awards.

Below is Rosanne’s speech at the award ceremony:

Thank you, Don, my friend of 25 years, head of my record label and the best boss anyone could have.

And thank you Jed and the Americana music association. This community of musicians and fans means so much to me.

I’m so deeply honored to receive this particular award, and that it is given in partnership with the First Amendment Center here in Nashville is even more meaningful. I was a great admirer of John Siegenthaler, who founded the Center, and was a fierce defender of First Amendment rights. He gave the inaugural award to my father. Today is the 15th anniversary of the day my dad left this planet and he left it a better place than he found it. That’s what I hope for. That’s what all of us hope for. 

Three things occupy my thoughts and inspire a sense of urgency in me at the moment:

1: that artists and musicians are not damaged outcasts of society, but  indispensable members.. We are in fact the premier service industry for the heart and soul. We cannot survive without music. It is the language everyone understands, in this dangerous and divisive time. And Artists should have control over how our work is used, be paid for that work and not used by Big Tech as a loss leader.  The next generation of musicians will disappear if we don’t protect their rights. Music creates community. Look at us here. We should all support the Music Modernization Act which is up for a vote soon in Congress to secure fair compensation for the next generation of musicians AND our for our legacy artists.

2:  Women are not small, inferior versions of  men. We are not objects or property. We have unique gifts to offer and if you discount us, the whole world tilts on an unnatural axis. We deserve respect and every kind of consideration given to men, including equal representation in government and equal pay.

3: I believe with all my heart that a single child’s life is greater, more precious, and more deserving of the protection of this nation and of the adults in this room than the right to own a personal arsenal of military-style weapons. The killing of children in schools should not be collateral damage for the 2nd amendment. There is no amendment that is absolute and not subject to revision. We must re-order our priorities and protect our children.

I’m not that brave and I’m way down the ladder of those who work so much harder on these and other equally important issues—  who don’t get this kind of attention but live quiet, heroic lives of active compassion.

I just have a surplus of righteous indignation and I’m too old to care about the predictable insults.

This award will give me courage to speak up more. As Tom Morello said, “I didn’t put down my first amendment rights when I picked up my guitar.

And I learned that at the knee of the first person to receive this award.

Thank you so much.

Don’t forget to vote!

Reed Watson