The Grammy Award for Best Americana Album is an honor presented to recording artists for quality albums in the Americana music genre at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".
In 2009, the Academy announced that the award for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album would be split into two separate categories: Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Americana Album. The distinction between the two award categories is based on the use of acoustic versus electric instruments; acoustic instruments predominate in "contemporary folk" and electric instruments are characteristic of Americana. Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association, called the new category's inclusion "a huge acknowledgment" of the music genre. Hilly admitted to working hard at convincing the Academy to include Americana as its own category. The music industry had been using the term "Americana music" for about 15 years before the new award was created. Following is the award's purpose, according to the category description guide from the 2011 Grammy Awards:
Americana is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.