Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article on Alison Brown and her company, Compass Records, that also includes brief interviews with three Compass artists who have recent releases – Dale Ann Bradley, Missy Raines, and Brown herself.
The article – The Sisterhood of Bluegrass by Barry Mazor – discusses how the bluegrass/acoustic world has warmed of late to female-headed bands, and how these three all find themselves on Compass at this point in their careers.
“It’s a kind of sisterhood, really,” Ms. Brown notes, and she should know. She’s not only a widely admired banjo virtuoso, and in 1991 the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s banjo player of the year award, after a stint playing with Alison Krauss. She’s also a former investment banker who co-founded and heads Compass Records along with her husband and bandmate, Gary West. While the three 40-something bandleaders on Compass are different musically, Ms. Brown stresses their common history.
“We’re all about the same age,” she said in an interview at Compass’s Music Row offices, “and all three of us have seen change and what women can do in the field. When I was playing festivals growing up, people always felt compelled to say ‘you’re really good — for a girl,’ and it wasn’t even meant as an insult. But you don’t hear that so much any more; women are leading the charge with the most interesting bluegrass.”
You can read the full piece online, complete with audio tracks from the Brown, Bradley and Raines CDs.