Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance announces Hall of Fame inductees

On November 6, the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance inducted five worthy artists from southern New England into their RIBA Hall of Fame. Three were chosen in 2020, but an induction ceremony was not possible due to pandemic shutdowns. There were welcomed last Saturday along with two new inductees for 2021.

Sal Sauco, President of the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance, said that part of their mission is to ensure that such as these, and their achievements in bluegrass, are remembered for posterity.

“Southern New England has been home to many important and influential bluegrass musicians, and many are unaware of these musicians’ impact on bluegrass music both locally and nationally. We honor these individuals and commemorate their contributions and achievements in the RIBA Hall of Fame.”

Chosen for the 2020 class are three notable artists who have dedicated their lives to bluegrass music.

  • Richard Guilbault
  • Earl Pike
  • Fred Pike

Guilbault started playing banjo at ten years old, and is still picking that five at age 70. He is also a former board member at RIBA.

The Pike Brothers, Earl and Fred first performed on radio in 1944 and went on to be featured one numerous radio and television programs. Earl suffered a devastating accident in the late 1950s while working on his farm, and wasn’t able to play for many years afterwards. Fred picked up the banjo at that point and started his own band who played festivals and concerts all over the country.

Chosen for the Hall of Fame in 2021 are Nick Anderson and Roger Williams.

Anderson is well known in New England for 36 years with his group, Shady Creek. More than 50 different musicians and singers have been a part of the group over that time, with Nick leading the way on guitar.

Williams is among the earliest generation of grassers in New England who led a fine traditional bluegrass group for many years. Like Shady Creek, many of the top pickers in the northeast played in his group.

Solid congratulations to all the inductees!

RIBA has as it’s mission statement to keep the bluegrass fires burning in the state, and the wider region as well, both today and going forward.

The Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance’s mission is to promote the appreciation of bluegrass music, and serve as a resource to educate and coordinate fans, students, teachers, musicians and venues in Rhode Island and the surrounding area. In addition to sponsoring the RIBA Bluegrass Hall of Fame, the organization also sponsors youth and adult musical education programs and serves as a resource to venues and musicians.

You can learn more about the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance by visiting them 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.