/IBMA/ Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced that bandleader/singer/songwriter Doyle Lawson and late folklorist Ralph Rinzler will be inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at its Awards Show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, September 27, 2012.
One of bluegrass music’s most accomplished and respected bandleaders, Doyle Lawson was born in Ford Town, TN on April 20, 1944, grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and taught himself how to play mandolin at age 11, influenced by Bill Monroe. His piercing, crystalline tenor vocals and crisp musicianship would help him launch his career with jobs in three superb and accomplished bands. When he was just 18, Lawson went to Nashville to play banjo with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys. Three years later, he started working with J.D. Crowe and the Kentucky Mountain Boys (later the New South). On September 1, 1971, Doyle joined the Country Gentlemen, where he helped create a new distinctive sound for the band, and one of its finest eras. He stayed for almost eight years before leaving to found his own band in 1979. For more than three decades, Quicksilver has been one of bluegrass music’s most important “farm teams,” helping to launch the careers of dozens of future bandleaders and sidemen. The band is known for its delivery of intricate a cappella gospel numbers that regularly bring awestruck crowds to their feet, roaring with approval.
Since 1977, Lawson’s discography has grown to more than 40 bluegrass and bluegrass gospel recordings, supported by a busy touring schedule with Quicksilver that includes their own Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver Festival in Denton, NC each year. On his own and with Quicksilver, which USA Today called “one of bluegrass’ finest bands,” Lawson has received numerous nominations and awards, including the International Bluegrass Music Award for Best Vocal Group an unprecedented seven years in a row. In 2006 he received the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship, granted to traditional and folk artists for career accomplishments. A year later he was awarded an honorary doctorate by King College in Bristol, TN. Known as one of the best-dressed men in bluegrass, Lawson has a closet full of Manuel jackets and is likely one of the few professional bluegrass musicians with his own signature pair of cowboy boots.
A man of extraordinary talents, the late Ralph Rinzler (July 20, 1934 – July 2, 1994) was a scholar, musician, writer, promoter, producer, and social activist whose vision and life’s work inspired the passion, and launched the careers, of generations of musicians and artists. Born in Passaic, NJ, Rinzler learned to play mandolin and banjo at Swarthmore College. He was a member of the legendary Greenbriar Boys, guest-starred on recordings with Clarence Ashley and Joan Baez, and later won a Grammy award for his production work on Folkways: A Vision Shared - Roots of Rhythm and Blues.
His generous relationships with the brightest lights in American music were fluid and adapted themselves to the artist and the adventure. He learned Woody Guthrie’s tunes from Guthrie himself; accompanied Mike Seeger on his travels through Appalachia; produced events with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Mary Travers; was David Grisman’s first teacher; and managed Bill Monroe. On a trip to western North Carolina in 1960 to make field recordings of rural folk musicians for Folkways Records, he met Doc Watson and arranged bookings for him in Northeastern urban venues, thus helping gain national recognition for the guitarist.
After he helped co-found the Festival of American Folklife, now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, on the Mall in 1967, an annual event featuring musicians and craftspeople from across a broad spectrum of international cultures, Rinzler became curator of American folk art, music, and folk culture at the Smithsonian. Within about a decade, the Festival’s profound success prompted the creation of the office that ultimately became the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, with Rinzler at its helm. In 1987 he received IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award. The Smithsonian Institution named the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections in his honor in 1998. His priceless field recordings have been used to create a number of releases on the Smithsonian Folkways label.
“[Ralph] was at much at home with potters and small-patch farmers as he was with New England Brahmins, corporate executives, and British aristocracy,” wrote Roger D. Abrahams in his obituary of Rinzler for the Journal of American Folklore. “He had a clear idea of how to bring great tradition-bearers together with the larger public audience by finding within their work the vitality of their cultural inheritance and the genius of the individual artist operating within that tradition.”
Founded in 1991, the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, housed in the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. Each year a nominating committee, consisting of music industry leaders, creates a slate of 10-15 candidates. From these names, a panel of more than 200 electors in the music industry cast ballots to narrow the nominees to five finalists. The panel votes a final time to select the inductee(s) for that year.
The IBMA Awards Show will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction, Channel 14) and syndicated to more than 300 U.S. markets and 14 foreign networks, thanks to the sponsorship of Compass Records, ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass, Deering Banjos, BMI, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, BluegrassToday.com and 650 WSM AM. For information visit www.ibma.org.