Hazel Dickens Award?

The passing of Hazel Dickens on Friday (4/22) has already prompted much comment and praise, for her unique musical talent, and distinguishing her as a charming and gracious lady.

Among the various thoughts expressed is the idea of her being swiftly inducted into the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Of course, being named as a member of the IBMA Hall of Fame would be an excellent and worthy honor.

However, wouldn’t it be far better were there to be an award, given in her name on an annual basis, to aid in the career of a youthful person coming out of poverty who needs help to get a music education and start a career?

Such a proposal has been voiced by Lois Ann Wolff…

“It would be a fitting tribute to Hazel Dickens if an award might be given to an up-and-coming young singer/songwriter from a similar situation to Hazel’s own.

Or it might be in the form of an audition with a recording group or perhaps the opportunity to open for an established bluegrass band.

Her brother, Robert W. Wolff (best known for another great idea: World Wide Bluegrass Music Month) adds…

“What Lois has in mind is to make the recognition a ‘living’ award. Perhaps the award might identify an individual and then provide some support to that person for several years until they have obtained their education or achieved their near time goals.

The idea started from our commonly held belief that Hazel Dickens would want to be honored by some people action that helped young musicians who are in need. Plaques on walls are great. And, helping people is even better.”

Ideally, such an award could involve surviving family members – there is a brother and several nieces and nephews – individuals who have worked closely with Hazel Dickens during her career and existing organizations within the bluegrass, old-time and folk music business.

The seed is sown ….

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.