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Banjo player Shelor receives Steve Martin Prize

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 – Banjoist Sammy Shelor of the Lonesome River Band won the second annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

Shelor will receive an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000 plus a bronze sculpture created expressly for the prize by Eric Fischl.

The Scruggs-styled player is has been honored four times by the International Bluegrass Music Association as Banjo Player of the Year.

The Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass was created to bring recognition to an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music. The prize is awarded to a person or group who has given us a fresh appreciation of this music, either through artistry, composition, innovation or preservation. The winner should be professional or semi-professional, should be currently active in their careers and deserving of a wider audience.

The award is determined through a private process by a board consisting of Scruggs, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Alison Brown, Neil V. Rosenberg, Béla Fleck and Martin. The award is funded personally by the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation.

Shelor and the Lonesome River Band will perform with Steve Martin on "Late Show With David Letterman" on Thursday, Nov. 3.

CD reviews for Sammy Shelor

Leading Roll
Sammy Shelor is one of the best of the current crop of young bluegrass banjo players. He has won a number of awards, both individually and as a member of The Lonesome River Band. He is joined here by an collection of acoustic music's best, Tony Rice, Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas, Randy Howard, as well as LRB mates, Kenny Smith and Ronnie Bowman. This album is a winner. Songs like the hard-driving, "Pretty Little Girl," and "North Carolina Breakdown" showcase Shelor's impeccable sense of timing, drive and clarity. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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