Eddie Adcock on his major award

We caught up with Eddie Adcock today and he shared these reflections on being selected as the recipient of the 2014 Steve Martin prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. In addition to a lovely trophy, the prize includes a cash award of $50,000.

Eddie Adcock“What does it mean to me to receive the 2014 Steve Martin Prize? Well, it means recognition for what I’ve tried to do in music all my life and still try to do — be myself and find new paths. It means that hasn’t been forgotten; it’s a renewal.

Awards are wonderful to receive, all by themselves. They’re not something you consciously try to earn, but they do represent the respect and admiration that people have for what you’ve done; and you can’t buy that. Then sometimes you’ll joke to a friend and say, ‘That and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee,’ but of course you don’t really mean that — it’s a joke — but with Steve’s prize you receive the award AND the fifty cents!

When you try to thank Steve Martin for what he’s been doing for bluegrass lately, when it comes to this prize he just says, ‘It’s for the artist.’ I can’t thank him enough, and his prize board too for their unanimous vote. I really appreciate the fact that there’s someone out there who knows the financial realities of bluegrass and the situation of so many of its musicians, and who’s done all he could from every angle, including for bands and individuals by his shows and TV appearances. It’s wonderful that there’s someone who’s in a position to help his fellow pickers and take up some of the slack. It must feel great to be Steve!

A lot of your readers and our fans know that we’ve been going through a little slump here lately, due to medical issues, the economy and whatnot, and they’ve really stepped forward and been generous with thoughts and prayers and donations that have been really important in keeping us going. We pray for all of them — a lot! The help we’ve gotten has kept a roof over our heads and kept us sane.

And three days a week I’ve been going to the Dayani Center gym at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for pulmonary rehabilitation physical therapy, prescribed by my pulmonologist, and it’s been great. It’s helped my physical condition and even my outlook. I believe it was a blessing in disguise that our summer touring was open enough for me to be able to go and do that.

The idea is that I want to keep picking and singing and playing for the fans, and being with them, as long as I can, and as long as they can stand it. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be on the road without them. I like to make people happy with my music, because it works that way for me. Next year’s bookings are looking better already, so we’re looking forward to being able to make it under our own steam! The Steve Martin Prize sort of puts it over the top in making it possible to be out there, and to keep writing and keep creating and spreading the big idea of music and how to do it yourself. Receiving this prize renews my purpose and makes me feel at least ten years younger!

I bless Steve and his prize for lightening the load and chasing the blues. I thank God, and I thank Steve Martin —  there’s only one of each!”