Belfast Telegraph

Van Morrison gives two word speech after receiving top US music award

By Ivan Little

Sir Van Morrison has made what has been described as the shortest acceptance speech on record after receiving a top music award in America.

After being handed the lifetime achievement honour for his songwriting in Nashville, the Belfast singer simply said: "Thank you."

An insider at the Americana Honours and Awards ceremony said: "Van had told organisers that he doesn't do acceptance speeches and that was that."

Four years ago, when he received the freedom of Belfast at the Waterfront Hall, Van said nothing. His only response was a thumbs-up sign.

The Americana ceremony was held at Nashville's legendary country and western music venue, the Ryman Auditorium, in front of a galaxy of stars.

His award was handed over by country music legend Emmylou Harris, who paid a glowing tribute to Van.

Immediately afterwards, the 72-year-old singer launched into Transformation, a song from his new album, Roll With the Punches, which is released at the weekend.

Van's daughter Shana provided backing vocals and she later tweeted a message about her pride in his award along with a photograph of their performance.

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Van Morrison receiving with the Lifetime Achievement for Songwriter award from Emmylou Harris

Father and daughter were back on stage the following night in Nashville for an open-air concert in front of a sell-out audience.

Among the other award winners at the Ryman were several musicians who have played recently in Northern Ireland.

John Prine (70), who has performed in Belfast, Londonderry and Omagh in recent months, won the artist of the year award.

Rodney Crowell, who is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, won song of the year, which featured his ex-wife Roseanne Cash - a daughter of Johnny Cash.

The award for album of the year went to Sturgill Simpson, who was at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh only last month.

The emerging artist of the year was Amanda Shires who, along with her husband Jason Isbell, has played concerts here this year.

Isbell tweeted that he had met Morrison during the Nashville ceremony, adding: "He was nice. I think maybe I'm a tiny bit disappointed that he was nice."

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