Rounder founders nab Folk Alliance award

Southeast Regional Folk AllianceMarian Leighton Levy, Ken Irwin. and Bill Nowlin, the founders and original operators of Rounder Records, will receive the 2nd annual Founding President’s Award at this week’s Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference. They will share the award, named for Kari Estrin, founder of SERFA in 2002, with North Carolina folk artists Si Kahn and Alice Gerrard.

Levy will deliver the keynote address to the conference attendees, with all five honorees participating in various workshops running May 13-17 in Black Mountain, NC.

Rounder was launched in 1970 when the three founders were college students in Boston. Learning as they grew, Rounder ended up recording some of the most memorable bluegrass, old time, and American roots music of its era. J.D. Crowe, Tony Rice, and Alison Krauss made their bones as Rounder artists, as have some of today’s top artists like The Steeldrivers, Steep Canyon Rangers and The Gibson Brothers.

The company was acquired by the Concord Music Group in 2010, and moved its headquarters to Nashville in 2014. All three founders are still involved in Rounder operations, but are gradually decreasing their commitments with an eye toward retirement.

SERFA is a chapter of Folk Alliance International, concentrating on member initiatives in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

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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.