John Hartford, Louise Scruggs to Join Bluegrass Hall of Fame
John Hartford, banjo virtuoso and writer of 'Gentle on my Mind,' and Louise Scruggs, wife of internationally acclaimed musician and entertainer Earl Scruggs, will be inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Hall of Fame in September. The announcement, along with the nominees for this year's IBMA awards, was made Wednesday morning during a press conference held at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Bluegrass musicians Claire Lynch and Adam Steffey made the announcement of the finalists for the IBMA awards. Dailey & Vincent, whose careers have blossomed in the past several years in the bluegrass world, lead with the most nominations, ten, including Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group and Album. In second place for number of nominations are Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out with six, including Entertainer, Album, Song and Gospel Performance. Other entertainers with multiple nominations are Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Sam Bush, the Grascals, the Gibson Brothers, Josh Williams Band, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and the Del McCoury Band.
John Hartford, a multiple Grammy winner, worked on the 'Glen Campbell Good Time Hour' and the 'Smothers Brothers Show' in the 1960s. Later, he contributed to the highly successful 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' soundtrack and Ken Burns' popular PBS series on the Civil War. In addition to being a musician and songwriter, Hartford was a steamboat pilot, author, artist, disc jockey, dancer, folklorist and historian. A descendant of Patrick Henry and a cousin of Tennessee Williams, it was only natural he would come to love the arts. He found his place in music and managed to include his love for the Mississippi River in many things he did, including piloting a riverboat up and down the great river. He died in 2001 at age 63.
Louise Scruggs was the first woman in bluegrass or country music to book and manage a band. She worked with Flatt & Scruggs for many years, giving them opportunities such as playing Carnegie Hall and performing the theme song and making appearances on the hit CBS-TV series 'Beverly Hillbillies.' Louise continued to manage Earl after he and Lester Flatt disbanded their duo, and her husband has often been quoted as saying she was the main force that kept his career on target, which allowed the success that he continues to have today. Son Gary remembers seeing her on the phone every day when he was a youngster, as she had her office in their home. "Mom loved what she did," Gary tells The Boot. "She was a major contributor to the success of Flatt & Scruggs."
Son Randy says Louise, who died in 2006 at age 78, never took credit for being one of the women who paved the way for other female executives in Nashville, but she heard that compliment from those around her. "She was such a credit to bluegrass and country music," Randy tells The Boot. "She helped expose it to an international audience, and she treated the music with respect and integrity. She would be honored if she were here today to know that she is receiving this recognition."
Cheryl and Sharon White, who together with father Buck make up the trio The Whites, are excited about co-hosting the awards show with Jerry Douglas, who was once a member of their family band. "It's a huge responsibility," Cheryl tells The Boot. "It means so much to us to be asked to do it. We go so far back with the people in bluegrass music, and it will be fun to spend some time with Jerry." Sharon adds, "We are so honored to be asked to host the awards show. We have a few ideas and we look forward to working to sharing our input and ideas with the folks who are writing the script."
Larry Stephenson, who is celebrating 20 years in bluegrass music, received two nominations in the Recorded Event category, where nominees are two or more artists who do not normally perform together. The songs, 'Give This Message to Your Heart,' with Dailey & Vincent, and 'Talk to Me Lonesome Heart,' with Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, are from his album '20th Anniversary.' "I don't know what to think about competing with myself in this category," Larry admits to The Boot. "I'm very proud of that album. We worked a solid year on it, and a lot of great singers and musicians are a part of it. I'm very pleased to get recognition for it."
The IBMA awards will be presented September 30 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Louise Scruggs and John Hartford will also be inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame that night. The show is open to the general public, with tickets available at the Ryman box office.
A partial list of IBMA nominees:
Entertainer of the Year
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
Dailey & Vincent
The Del McCoury Band
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
Album of the Year
'Circles Around Me,' Sam Bush
'Dailey & VIncent Sing the Statler Brothers,' Dailey & Vincent
'Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out,' Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
'Ring the Bell,' The Gibson Brothers
'The Famous Lefty Flynn's,' The Grascals
A complete list of nominees is available at www.ibma.org