Rounder celebrates the big 4-0

Rounder Records at 40It seems like only yesterday that we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of bluegrass music, marked by the first Grand Ole Opry performance in 1946 by the “Original Blue Grass Band:” Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise and Cedric Rainwater (Howard Watts). 60 years seems like both a long time, and the merest sliver in the larger scheme of things.

Well, now we have Rounder Records with a big anniversary of their own, choosing Monday, October 12 to commemorate 40 years in business. They have been recording bluegrass, roots, alternative and Americana music since 1970. A special concert at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House will be filmed for a later broadcast on PBS stations during 2010.

The show will feature performances by Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Irma Thomas, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas along with host (and performer) Minnie Driver. A portion of the proceeds from Monday’s concert will go to the NARAS Grammy In The Schools Programs.

From a recent Rounder press release…

Rounder Records was founded in 1970 by Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy and Bill Nowlin.  With only their passionate enthusiasm for American roots music lighting the way, the three Boston area college students cast their lot into the perilous music industry. “Before founding Rounder, we were basically music fans,” says Rounder Records co-founder Ken Irwin. “None of us,” echoes co-conspirator Bill Nowlin, “had any record industry experience whatsoever.”

“I doubt that ‘industry experience’ is a term we would have comprehended at the time we started Rounder!” interjects the third member of the Rounder triumvirate, Marian Leighton.

Ticket information can be found 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.