These are given annually by United States Artists to recognize American artists of every kind who have demonstrated exceptional ability, and are uniquely influential in their field. Their stated mission is to invest directly in these artists, and the fellowships come with an unrestricted grant of $50,000. USA also allows their fellows to use their online crowd sourcing apparatus to raise the necessary funds for special projects.
Resonator guitarist Rob Ickes had received this award in 2010.
Working now in the studio on a new Compass release, Claire shared a few words about this award.
“On a personal level, the award fuels my confidence and creativity and inspires me to take my work to new levels. I’m in the studio recording a new album right now and the thrill of being selected is bringing an incredible energy to the sessions.”
We are hoping to hear from Tony shortly with his reaction, which we will add as soon possible.
Congratulations to Claire and Tony, and the 52 other 2012 recipients!
UPDATE 10:00 p.m.: I just caught up with Tony, who is in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. They flew out for the official USA announcement and presentation. He tells us that he was featured in the final performance during the event, along with Claire Lynch, Rob Ickes and Gene Libbea.
Needless to say, he was a bit overwhelmed by the award, and getting to meet many of the other 2012 fellows.
“This whole thing is really cool. USA is a wonderful organization, and I’ve met so many wonderful people. Everyone’s got an amazing story to tell.”
I asked if he had any plans for the cash award.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I would love to do a Civil War project with material I’ve written. This would go a long way towards getting that completed.”
Tony also mentioned that his vision includes seeing these Civil War songs turned into a stage play. Sounds like a worthy project.