Five North Carolinians from diverse artistic traditions will be awarded the North Carolina Heritage Award on Tuesday, May 20 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. Recipients include: Bobby Hicks, a 10-time Grammy award-winning bluegrass fiddler; Susan Leveille, a Jackson County hand weaver; Sid Luck, a fifth-generation potter from Seagrove; Bill Myers, whose band The Monitors has played rhythm and blues and jazz music for more than 50 years; and Arnold Richardson, a Haliwa-Saponi artist who has influenced the revitalization of North Carolina Indian arts. These five accomplished artists will be honored on Tuesday, May 20 in Raleigh with a North Carolina Heritage Award.
Musicians who played with the James Brown Band, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and Otis Redding will also be on stage performing with this year’s recipients during the program. The event marks the 25th anniversary of the program, produced by the North Carolina Arts Council, to honor the traditional artists of the state, deepening awareness of the stories, music, and artistry comprising our rich and diverse cultural traditions.
Bobby Hicks, Fiddler (Marshall, Madison County)
While growing up in a musical family in Newton, N.C., Bobby Hicks discovered a talent and a passion for the fiddle. Immersed in the string band traditions of the Western Piedmont, a young Mr. Hicks began playing as one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys 60 years ago. In his-six year association with the Father of Bluegrass, Mr. Hicks helped pioneer the twin fiddle sound and recorded on some of the classic tunes of the genre. His five-string fiddle song left an indelible mark on the history of bluegrass music and on the generations of fiddlers who have followed in his steps.
Not content with mastery of only one genre, Bobby Hicks left Bill Monroe's band and spent a decade playing in country and western ensembles throughout the western part of the United States. He returned again to sounds more rooted in his Catawba County upbringing in 1980 when he joined the Ricky Skaggs band. In more than 20 years as a member of that band and its successor Kentucky Thunder, Mr. Hicks played on numerous hit records that resulted in 10 Grammy awards. Since his nominal retirement as a touring musician, Mr. Hicks has resided in Madison County, N.C. From his home there he has helped to run a weekly jam in Marshall and formed a super group with other legends of bluegrass music.
"Master fiddler Bobby Hicks' knowledge of tradition and his innovative style have been instrumental in shaping the bluegrass sound as we know it today, and his career is an example of why North Carolina plays such a large role in the story of traditional music in America," said N.C. Folklife Director Sally Peterson. (Bobby Hicks photo credit: Pat Franklin)
Performances and the awards ceremony is scheduled at 8 p.m at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC. Tickets are available for the press by contacting Rebecca.Moore@ncdcr.gov or (919) 807-6530 by noon on Monday, May 19.
Performances by heritage awardees such as Doc Watson, Etta Baker, Arthur Smith, John Dee Holeman, Joe Thompson, and Ray Hicks have made past ceremonies memorable. The 2014 North Carolina Heritage Award recipients are: Bobby Hicks, a 10-time Grammy award-winning bluegrass fiddler; Susan Morgan Leveille, a weaver and grand-niece of Penland founder Lucy Morgan; Sid Luck, a fifth-generation potter from Seagrove; Bill Myers, whose band The Monitors has played rhythm and blues and jazz music for more than 50 years; and Arnold Richardson, a Haliwa-Saponi artist who has influenced the revitalization of North Carolina Indian arts. Read more about this year's NC Heritage Award recipients
“The North Carolina Arts Council is committed to sustaining arts and cultural traditions passed down in our state through many generations,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director, N.C. Arts Council. “The North Carolina Heritage Award recognizes master traditional artists who have learned from their family members and neighbors and are now our living treasures. These artists are the embodiment of North Carolina grassroots culture, which is recognized as one of the richest in our nation.”
The North Carolina Arts Council, part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, has recognized more than 100 extraordinary artists from across the state since the agency first established the Heritage Awards in 1989. PineCone is honored to partner with the Arts Council to produce this special awards ceremony as part of this year’s Down Home Concerts.
The Heritage Awards celebrate North Carolina’s finest practioners of the blues, bluegrass, gospel, and old time string band music, as well as a wealth of carvers, sculptors, potters, weavers, quilters, boat builders, and more. Don’t miss this chance to pay tribute to the North Carolina artists and traditions you love!