Saturday, December 31, 2006
Suzy BoggussFrom her earliest years growing up in Aledo, Illinois, Suzy Bogguss loved music. She joined the church choir at age five, played the piano and drums, and bought her first 12-string with the money she earned from babysitting. She moved to Nashville in the mid-'80s and paid the bills by singing demos by day and performing three nights a week at a local rib joint. Now, more than a dozen albums later, and awards ranging from the Academy of Country Music's Top New Female Vocalist of 1989 to a Horizon Award given by the Country Music Association, Suzy has won critical acclaim in both country and contemporary music circles. Her CDs include Swing, produced by Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson, and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, both on Compadre Records.
Sam BushSam Bush got hooked early on. He was just 11 when he got his first mandolin. By the time he was 17, he had won the title of National Junior Fiddle Champion for three years in a row and had made his recording debut, Poor Richard's Almanac. Two years later, in 1971, he founded New Grass Revival, a band that pushed bluegrass into new territory by incorporating styles like rock, pop, reggae and jazz. In the late '80s, he formed the supergroup Strength in Numbers with Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer, and he went on to lead Emmylou Harris' Grammy-winning Nash Ramblers for five years. In addition to contributing to dozens of other musicians' projects, Sam Bush has recorded a number of solo albums, including Late As Usual, Glamour and Grits, Ice Caps: Peaks of Telluride, King of My World, and his latest, Laps In Seven (Sugar Hill Records).
Jerry DouglasThese days, when someone mentions a Dobro, Jerry Douglas immediately comes to mind. Little wonder. The 12-time Grammy winner and Country Music Association's Musician of the Year can be heard on more than a thousand albums, including discs by Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Vince Gill and Ray Charles. Born in Warren, Ohio, Douglas developed an early interest in bluegrass. His father, a steelworker, played music, and Jerry took up the mandolin at age five. He switched to Dobro when he was 11, after seeing a Flatt & Scruggs concert featuring Dobro master Josh Graves. Before he was out of his teens, he had joined the Country Gentlemen. He has been a member of other groundbreaking bands like J.D. Crowe & the New South and Alison Krauss & Union Station, and he has a thriving career as a solo artist as well. The New York Times called Douglas "Dobro's matchless contemporary master." His latest solo album (his 11th) is called The Best Kept Secret (Koch Records).
Cowboy Jack Clement"I've got a bunch of people who say I'm a genius," Cowboy Jack Clement once said. "That don't make me a genius. But you've got to be pretty smart to get all them people to say that on cue." Clement is a producer, songwriter, recording studio pioneer, publisher and performer. He was born in Whitehaven, Tennessee, in 1931. After a stint in the Marines, he played in a bluegrass band, then got a job at Sun Records, mixing sessions with the likes of Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. Later, he moved to Nashville and went to work for Chet Atkins. He launched the careers of Charley Pride and Don Williams, and over the years he has collaborated with a who's who of musicians - from George Jones to U2, Townes Van Zandt to Doc Watson, Garth Brooks to Emmylou Harris. Clement has recorded two of his own albums: All I Want to Do in Life came out in 1978, and Guess Things Happen That Way (Dualtone) was released in 2004.
Stuart DuncanIn the Escondido, California, folk club where his father was the sound man, a very young Stuart Duncan was inspired by the music of Vassar Clements, Byron Berline, Dan Hicks and others. At age seven, he took up playing fiddle and now, more than four decades later, he has chalked up quite a career. In addition to being a two-time Grammy Award recipient and winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association's Fiddle Player of the Year (eight times, to date!), he was a founding member of the acclaimed Nashville Bluegrass Band. Duncan is one of Nashville's most sought-after session musicians, performing with George Jones, Vince Gill, Béla Fleck, Dolly Parton, Barbara Streisand, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Sting and many more.
Buddy EmmonsAs a kid, pedal-steel giant Buddy Emmons wanted to be a boxer. Then he got his first steel. It was, he recalls, "a Supro six-string lap model with a finish George Harrison once described as mother-of-plastic." No problem. Eleven-year-old Buddy pressed on, and seven years later he had joined Little Jimmy Dickens' Country Boys. Now, in a career that has spanned almost six decades, Emmons has toured with the likes of Ernest Tubb, ?George Jones and the Everly Brothers, recorded dozens of his own albums, and done thousands of recording sessions for artists as varied as Rosemary Clooney, Gram Parsons, k.d. lang, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt and Ray Charles. In the mid-'50s, Emmons and fellow steel player Shot Jackson designed and manufactured the Sho-Bud pedal steel guitar. Buddy left Sho-Bud in 1963 to start his own business, the Emmons Guitar Company. In 1981, Emmons was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
Emmylou HarrisEmmylou Harris's albums are mainstays in any music fan's collection: Wrecking Ball, Luxury Liner, Roses in the Snow, The Ballad of Sally Rose, Trio, Red Dirt Girl. The list goes on and on. And you can add to it the recent release, All the Roadrunning (Mercury Records), her duet CD with Mark Knopfler. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in North Carolina and Virginia, Harris began playing the guitar at 16 and eventually left college to pursue a career in music. She recorded her first album, Gliding Bird, in 1969. In the early '70s she moved to Los Angeles and joined forces with Gram Parsons, with whom she made two albums. After Parsons' death in 1973, Harris moved back to the Washington, D.C. area and made her major label debut, Pieces of the Sky. Now, after more than 30 years of performing, more than 30 albums, and countless awards, including 11 Grammys, Emmylou maintains a widespread and loyal following, whether she's singing folk, country, pop or traditional tunes.
Doyle Lawson and QuicksilverDoyle Lawson was born in East Tennessee-where he still makes his home-and grew up in a family that sang gospel music. He remembers looking forward to Saturdays when the Grand Ole Opry was on the air and he could hear the likes of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. At age 11, Doyle taught himself to play the mandolin, and when he was still in his teens, he got a job playing banjo with Jimmy Martin. In 1966, he joined J.D. Crowe and five years later went to work with The Country Gentlemen. He started his own band in 1979, calling it Doyle Lawson & Foxfire, before settling on Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. They've released some three dozen albums in the last 27 years, the most recent titled He Lives In Me (Horizon). In 2004, they celebrated the band's 25th anniversary with a concert, now available on DVD. The group has earned multiple Grammy nominations and innumerable International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, including five consecutive Vocal Group of the Year awards. The band: Jamie Dailey on guitar, Terry Baucom on banjo, fiddler Mike Hartgrove, and Darren Beachley on bass.
Old Crow Medicine ShowWith a little luck and a whole lot of talent, Old Crow Medicine Show went from playing their slash-and-burn brand of old-time music on the streets of Boone, North Carolina, to bringing down the house at the Grand Ole Opry. Willie Watson (guitar), ?Ketch Secor (fiddle), ?Critter Fuqua (banjo, slide guitar), Kevin Hayes (guitjo) and Morgan Jahnig (bass) have wowed audiences coast to coast with their distinctive take on pre-World War II blues, fiddle tunes, rags, hollers, hokum and jug band styles. They have been included in several documentaries, including PBS's American Roots Music series; In the Valley Where Time Stands Still, a film about the history of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance; and Bluegrass Journey, a portrait of the contemporary bluegrass scene. Their second album, Big Iron World, is on Nettwerk Records.
Jon RandallDallas-born singer/songwriter Jon Randall says, "My earliest musical memories are of listening to Dad write bluegrass songs. When he started teaching me guitar, I started writing songs." After high school, Randall moved to Nashville. While working as a strolling musician at the Opryland theme park, he was spotted by Holly Dunn hired to play in her band. Later that year, he auditioned for a spot in Emmylou Harris's band The Nash Ramblers, where he remained for five years. He also landed a songwriting contract with Sony Tree and a recording contract with BNA Records. His debut album, What You Don't Know, came out in 1995. Over the years, Randall has worked with Sam Bush, Linda Ronstadt, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Earl Scruggs, and a host of others. These days, with his captivating tenor voice, first-rate instrumental skills and major-league songwriting chops, he's giving more attention to his solo career. His latest CD is Walking Among the Living (Sony).
Rhonda Vincent and the RageBorn in Kirksville, Missouri, Rhonda Vincent was barely five years old when she began playing with her family band, the Sally Mountain Show. At eight, she took up mandolin, and by the time she was 11, she was the Missouri State Fiddle Champion. She's found a place in the spotlight ever since. Named Female Vocalist of the Year a total of seven times by the International Bluegrass Music Association, she has also been honored countless times by the Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America. She has 23 albums to her credit (in addition to the dozens on which she's been a guest). Her latest CDs are All-American Bluegrass Girl and Beautiful Star: A Christmas Collection, both on the Rounder label. The Rage is: Hunter Berry (fiddle), Mickey Harris (bass), Kenny Ingram (banjo), and Josh Williams (guitar).
Robin and Linda WilliamsSinging the music they love-be it bluegrass, folk, old-time, or acoustic country-Robin and Linda Williams have carved out a three-decade career that has taken them from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. Their first album came out on a small Minnesota-based record label in 1975, the same year they debuted on public radio's A Prairie Home Companion. As half of The Hopeful Gospel Quartet, they have collaborated on several CDs, including Garrison Keillor & The Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Sony) and Climbing Up on the Rough Side (Highbridge Audio). They've have written dozens of terrific songs, ones that have been covered by Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, The Seldom Scene and others. Robin and Linda's latest CDs are Deeper Waters and The First Christmas Gift, both on Red House Records.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).