Congratulations to Jay Armsworthy, long time bluegrass performer and radio host in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, who has been honored with a 2019 Maryland Traditions Heritage Award from the Maryland State Arts Council.
These awards are distributed annually to outstanding stewards of Maryland’s living cultural traditions. Each year the Arts Council selects a person (or persons), a place, and a tradition for this honor.
For 40 years Jay has worked to promote bluegrass music in his part of the country. His touring group, Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition, play at festivals and shows throughout the state and beyond. The radio bug first bit him in 1993, and now his weekly bluegrass program, Bluegrass on the Bay, is heard on five terrestrial stations and several more online streaming services, including Bluegrass Country from our nation’s capital.
Armsworthy also manages a pair of prominent Maryland festivals, Bluegrass for Hospice and L’il Margaret’s Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival, and runs a Sunday afternoon concert series at the American Legion hall in Hughesville.
It is for all this work over many years that the Arts Council selected Jay for the Maryland Traditions Heritage Award this year. It will be presented in a ceremony on June 7 at the Proscenium Theatre on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
In this video, we hear Armsworthy talk about accepting this honor, about his life in music, and about the bluegrass sound we all love.
And in this one, he demonstrates his passion for the old time sound on a duet with Woody Norris on the Stanley Brothers classic, If That’s The Way You Feel.
Well done, Jay Armsworthy! You’ve done Maryland, and bluegrass music, proud.