A few more Grammy notes…

50th Annual Grammy AwardsAs we ponder the results of the 2008 Grammies – and breathe a sigh of relief that Cherryholmes didn’t have to worry about being photographed with Amy Winehouse – there are yet a few more stories that bear mentioning.

On Saturday, February 9, Earl Scruggs was the recipient of a 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award at a separate Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles. Here is how he was described…

Earl Scruggs revolutionized and popularized the banjo and developed what is now known worldwide as the “Scruggs Style Picking.” His style of picking is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. For more than 20 years, Scruggs performed with vocalist and guitarist Lester Flatt forming the most famous band in bluegrass history. But Scruggs parted with Flatt and in 1969 formed Earl Scruggs Revue with his three sons. In 2003, Scruggs received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in that same year he and Flatt were ranked No. 24 on “CMT’s 40 Greatest Men of Country Music.”

Using The Grammies as the hook, The Daily News in Newburyport, MA ran a feature over the weekend on Rounder Records. The piece by correspondent Jessica Benson looks at the humble beginnings of the company which is now among the more successful independent music labels in the United States.

“We were simply people who were music fans,” said Leighton Levy, who was an undergrad at Clark University in Worcester at the time. “There’s really no way we could have anticipated how the company was going to grow.”

It started in 1970, when Irwin was hitchhiking home to Cambridge after enjoying a fiddler’s convention down south. He was picked up by a guy who, with no formal training, had started his own record company.

Read the full article, which traces Rounder from their start to the present, online.

And one more comment regarding Merle Haggard having been refused consideration in the Best Bluegrass Album category in the Grammy voting…

This year’s winner, Jim Lauderdale, like Haggard is a country artist who made a decision to release a bluegrass project in 2007, both of which included the word “bluegrass” in its title.

This is not in any way to suggest that Jim’s award is undeserved. Bluegrass Diaries was produced and recorded by Randy Kohrs – a noted bluegrass artist, writer and producer – and aggressively promoted to bluegrass radio and media. Jim was also an active participant in last year’s IBMA convention in Nashville, and was personally involved in asking the bluegrass world to embrace his latest effort.

In the end, bluegrass purists may find fault with either Lauderdale or Haggard being considered for such an award – and we have heard from them – but does it seem odd that one is fair game while the other was labeled as “country?” My own guess is that the decision was based more on Merle Haggard’s long association as a country artist than on the actual recording itself.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.