Maddie Murray awarded 2023 Steve Gulley Memorial Scholarship

Last night in Nashville, during the Crandall Creek performance at the Station Inn, Madeline “Maddie” Murray was awarded the inaugural $5,000 Steve Gulley Memorial Scholarship, to be given each year to a notable young bluegrass artist in honor of one of the best to ever play, sing, and write the music.

Crandall Creek made the initial endowment to fund this scholarship, and accepts donations through its affiliated non-profit organization, Bluegrass Music Endeavors Foundation. From its inception, the band has set aside part of its income from live shows and record sales to fund charitable efforts of this kind.

Maddie, a second year student at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, is from Clay City, KY, where she is a member of Lonesome Express, playing fiddle and singing lead and harmony vocals.

Steve Gulley grew up in Tennessee, the son of a bluegrass singer, and followed right in his dad Don’s footsteps. He toured as a singer with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Dale Ann Bradley, Mountain Heart, and Grasstowne following several years at Renfro Valley. Later he launched his own group, Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, named as a tribute to his father’s Pinnacle Mountain Boys. Steve left many recordings of his songs and his singing when he died in August of 2020 at 57 after a short battle with cancer.

Tim Stafford of Blue Highway, who was a close friend of Steve’s and a regular writing and recording partner, was on hand to make the award presentation last night, along with Steve’s widow, Debbie Gulley.

Of receiving the scholarship, Murray said…

“Although I never got the amazing privilege of meeting Steve Gulley, I would like to continue to honor his bluegrass memory and legacy through this scholarship with my bluegrass music. I’ve had the honor of hearing Steve Gulley’s stories through many amazing bluegrass musicians who got to work with him over the years, and knowing him through the memories he’s stamped on others’ hearts.”

The actual scholarship award presentation was captured on video.

Here’s a look at Maddie in action with Lonesome Express.

Many congratulations to Maddie Murray, and hats off to Crandall Creek for funding this worthy scholarship program to honor Steve Gulley. Anyone who would like to donate to the furtherance and continuation of the Steve Gulley Memorial Scholarship may do so online.

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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.