How time does fly! The three months since our last post here have been filled with camps, swimming, a new mandolin DVD release, the IBMA convention, and one huge award for Murphy. The IBMA honored her with a Distinguished Achievement Award recognizing her groundbreaking work writing the history of women playing bluegrass: Pretty Good For A Girl: Women in Bluegrass. They give out five each year and her co-recipients this year were Pete "Brother Oswald" Kirby, Alison Brown, Steve Martin, and the International Bluegrass Music Museum.
Murphy Henry hugging Missy Raines as she goes to accept her Distinguished Achievement Award. Photo by Ted Lehman.
Missy Raines made the award presentation with a fabulous speech. I knew she would do an amazing job, but I was still blown away by how over-the-top amazing it was.
After the ceremony Murphy got introduced to Steve Martin by Alison Brown (who sits on the board for his Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo) and they got a picture of all three with their awards.
Murphy Henry, Steve Martin, and Alison Brown with their Distinguished Achievement Awards plaques.
...and their shoes!
Here is the entire presentation by Missy and Murphy's acceptance speech following. It is a great overview of Murphy's life and career. Her acceptance starts around the 9:00 mark. Thanks to Kathy Holiday for the video work!
Update October 1: Missy made her goal and is working hard on the new album, which is sure to be awesome. Thanks to everyone who helped out!
I just want to pop in briefly (while the baby is napping) to let you know that our great friend, bass player Missy Raines, is making a new album, "New Frontier," which they are funding with a Kickstarter campaign. I have pre-ordered my own copy of it (at the $25 level---which comes with a signed picture of Missy and her cats...that's her actual cats I think, not the cool cats in her band...and a pre-release digital download of the album). Missy's music is new and different. Pretty much no banjo (just a warning), but lots of cool grooviness, nonetheless.
Kickstarter is a great trend in the new music marketplace. It is frequently misunderstood as bands asking for "donations," but it is more of a marketing vehicle where you can buy products (in this case music) directly from the artist and they get the money when they need it--when they're making the album. Buying the album early gets you perks you couldn't otherwise get (like the aforementioned picture, or, if you want to jump into the deep end, a pan of Missy's family-recipe homemade fudge, which, I can tell you, is totally worth the entire $300 pledge---but it comes with a bunch of other stuff, too; and just because I can I'm going to add another clause here, because I think this sentence needs to be longer). I always make a point of buying music from the artist when I can, and Kickstarter lets me do that in a way that helps them a little extra.
Last night my friend and bass-player-extraordinaire Missy Raines and her husband Ben Surratt had a caroling party at their house. I bet you thought no one went caroling any more didn't you? Well, Missy loves caroling and for the last few years has organized a bunch of her friends and gone to a few houses on her street to sing carols. This is the first year I've been in town for it, and I was excited because although I've sung plenty of carols in my time I've never gone door-to-door.
Missy provided lyric sheets and candles with little paper muffin cups around them (with a hole cut in the cup so it was snug around the candle and kept the wax from dripping on your hand). We bundled up and set out, first stopping at the house across the street. The lady who lived there came to the door with her grandson, who had bare feet, so he hovered just inside the threshold. Then she picked him up and kind of held him on her knee on the outside stoop so he could see better, but then he started crying. A good start to our caroling!!
There was no one home at the next three houses on our tour. That didn't stop us from singing to their front doors, though! The fifth house definitely had someone inside, but she wasn't coming out. Her two dogs barked and stood on their hind legs to look out the window in the door, but she didn't even look out. We could see her walking around inside, however she was having none of it!
Two more empty houses got serenades, but we really wanted to end on a high note. Finally we hit a house that had people who were willing to come and listen! The couple came and stood on their porch and the woman even had a Santa hat on. We gave them two songs, since they were so into it: "Silent Night," and "Joy to the World."
With that success under our belts we retired inside for mulled cider, cheese, chocolate, and other finger foods of varying healthiness. (My own contribution was Strawberry Bread.) A lot of eating, a lot of talking, and a little picking followed, and we all went home that night full of good Christmas Cheer!
I just found this article from today's Wall Street Journal about Alison Brown, Missy Raines, and Dale Ann Bradley (who have all recently released CDs on Brown's Compass Records) and the "sisterhood" between women who play bluegrass. There are audio samples from each of their albums. Despite the fact that they spell Garry West's name wrong, it's a very nice little article and press coverage for bluegrass in the Wall Street Journal is always a good thing!
This weekend there are two, count them two, CD release parties that my friends are having here in Nashville, TN. I'll be at both, enjoying the music, and buying the CDs! The first is tonight, Friday, February 6th, at the Station Inn. Missy Raines and the New Hip are releasing their first full-length CD and it will be awesome. Fair warning: they don't have a banjo, and they do have drums. It is some of the most amazing music I've ever heard and I encourage you to come out if you are in this area.
As the week goes on here at IBMA, things get busier and busier, and I have less and less time to post blogs! But Here are some pictures from Day three...
Neil Rosenberg, author of the first comprehensive history of bluegrass music, Bluegrass Music: A History, playing the Casey Henry signature model.
Red Henry, Casey Henry, Neil Rosenberg
The October issue of Banjo Newsletter arrived in my mailbox on Wednesday, so I brought it to the tradeshow so people could look through it. Cover boy Chris Pandolfi of the Infamous Stringdusters stopped by the table, wearing the same hat as he's wearing on the cover so I got him to pose:
In the showcases at night I caught two of my favorite bass players. First Missy Raines with her band The New Hip.
From time to time here I’ll be including some posts with feminist leanings. There will almost always be a bluegrass connection, but I realize some of you may not be interested and might rather scoot on over to visit with our buddies at the Banjo Hangout, so I’ll try to remember to give you a heads up. So, heads up!
Today I want to shine a spotlight on the 2008 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards Final Ballot which I received a few weeks ago and promptly marked and mailed back. It’s rare to see female performers nominated as Instrumental Performers but this year THREE women are nominated and I want everybody to know that this is Big News. (Okay, not as big as Sarah Palin being nominated for Vice President, but still and yet big for the world of bluegrass!)
So, who are these brave and bold women who are carving out new turf?
Sierra Hull—nominated for Mandolin Player of the Year, her first nomination. And she is the first woman to be nominated in this category!
Missy Raines—nominated for Bass Player of the Year. Her 16th nomination!
Congratulations to all of you! You’re doing all us womyn proud!
Now, in case you’d like to put this into perspective, I did a little digging.
Since the IBMA Awards were instituted in 1990, only two women have won Instrumental Awards. Alison Brown was the first, winning Banjo Player of the Year in 1991. Missy Raines became the second in 1998, and has since won six more times. (Go Missy!)