Tuesday, July 20, 2021
– Alison Krauss, bandleader/banjoist Lynn Morris and early bluegrass influencers the Stoneman Family were announced today as the 2021 inductees into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place Thursday, Sept. 30 during the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards presented by Yamaha at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C.
Krauss has been the most commercially successful bluegrass-related artist since Flatt & Scruggs. Raised in Champaign, Ill., she was lauded as a child prodigy, playing fiddle in regional groups. At age 17, she participated in the National Council for Traditional Arts' "Masters of the Folk Violin" tour, which also included Kenny Baker and Michael Doucet. Signed to a recording contract with Rounder before graduating high school, her first album, "Too Late to Cry" (1987), received critical acclaim. Her song "Two Highways" held the top spot on Bluegrass Unlimited's debut bluegrass chart in May 1990, and she was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 22. Her second album, "I've Got That Old Feeling," won a bluegrass Grammy in 1991.
Krauss has since taken home five additional GRAMMY Awards for Best Bluegrass Album: "Every Time You Say Goodbye" (1993), "So Long So Wrong" (1998), "New Favorite (2002), "Live" (2004) and "Paper Airplane (2012). Her 27 GRAMMYs include the 2009 Album of the Year for all genres for her "Raising Sand" collaboration with Robert Plant. Krauss has also won two IBMA Entertainer of the Year awards, four Female Vocalist of the Year awards and has appeared multiple times at the White House.
Morris grew up in the small West Texas farming community of Lamesa and began her professional life in music after graduating with a degree in art from Colorado College. She started playing the banjo the next year and became the first person to twice win the coveted National Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas.
After performing with the bands City Limits and Whetstone Run, Morris assembled her own group. In 1988, the Lynn Morris Band began recording for Rounder Records. Her four albums earned awards in the bluegrass industry. The title track of her 1996 release, the Hazel Dickens composition "Mama's Hand," won the IBMA Song of the Year award, and the album was also a hit. Morris is a three-time recipient of IBMA's Female Vocalist of the Year.
Morris was a trailblazer among women bandleaders in bluegrass. Morris was the first female elected to the IBMA board in the artists and composers category and received an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2010. While she no longer performs, she has become a top-shelf sound engineer.
The 1920s recordings by Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman ranked with those of the Carter Family. Both families were products of the mountainous region of southwestern Virginia. Stoneman was born in 1893 in a log cabin in Monarat, Va. In 1918, he married Hattie Frost of Galax, Va., and the marriage produced 23 children, 15 of whom survived to adulthood. Beginning with his recording of "The Sinking of the Titanic" in 1924, Stoneman became one of the best-selling early country artists before the emergence of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family in 1927.
Stoneman ceased recording in the early 1930s and moved the family's base of operations to the Washington, D.C., area where the band evolved into a bluegrass sound, eventually winning first place on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts network TV show as the Bluegrass Champs and popularizing the new genre in the Washington area.
The Stoneman Family (later shortened to the Stonemans) band most often consisted of pioneering female artists Donna (mandolin) and Roni (banjo), alongside brothers Van (guitar); Jim (bass) and Scotty (fiddle). This lineup recorded two significant bluegrass albums with their father in the early 1960s. They relocated to Nashville in 1966, acquiring within two months both a syndicated television show and a major label record contract. Another sister, Patsy, joined the band.
After the television show, years of stage appearances and two more contracts with internationally distributed record labels, Roni decided in 1970 to go solo (appearing as a cast member on the TV show Hee Haw), and Donna entered the religious music field. Patsy, Van and Jim continued a version of the Stoneman Family into the 1980s. Ernest "Pop" Stoneman died in 1968 at 75 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. The Stoneman Family also received IBMA's Distinguished Achievement Award in 2000.