We found out last week that the Stringdusters landed our third Grammy nomination, this time for ‘Bluegrass Album of the Year’ for our ‘Tribute to Bill Monroe.’ This one came as a surprise, mostly because we made this album early during quarantine, amid a flurry of activity and uncertainty. Like every band in the world, we were trying to figure out what the future looked like. But we were also focused on creating new music, and this album (along with a few other projects, including our Christmas album, and my solo record, Trance Banjo) was the result.
This nomination is special for 2 reasons. First off, the category is stacked with amazing nominees, including Billy Strings, Sturgill Simpson, and BÃ©la Fleck for his stunning new album ‘My Bluegrass Heart.’ These are heroes and peers, and a strong indication of how vital bluegrass music is right now. There’s no way I’d be playing banjo if it wasn’t for BÃ©la. To be nominated alongside him, for this amazing project, is such an honor!
I’m also especially proud of this nomination because of the recognition it brings to the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Much has changed in the 15 or so years that we have been a band. When we got our start, the term ‘bluegrass’ was fraught with complications from a publicity/marketing standpoint. In short, it just wasn’t that cool (you can read about that here). But these days bluegrass is as hot as can be, with new fans streaming in from every corner of the music world, drawn to the organic sounds, amazing musicianship and soulful songs of this unique genre. We are really proud to be part of that transition, and to represent the old school side of bluegrass, which of course is the common thread between the five of us. And with this album, and the recognition it’s receiving, we are now using our voice to point fans back to the founders of this music. Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, the Stanleys (and many more!) are among the most powerful, creative, impactful musicians ever. We owe them a lot, and this is our way of saying thank you. To be nominated for a Grammy for our ‘Tribute to Bill Monroe’ is the icing on the cake.