News from IBMA
Award-winning artists Jerry Douglas and Cheryl & Sharon White of The Whites will co-host the 21th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards this Thursday, 30th September at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.
Jerry Douglas and The Whites make some of the best music in the world when they perform separately. But dating back to 1979 when Douglas moved to Nashville to join The Whites, they’ve also had a special on-stage chemistry that is rarely matched by any acoustic ensemble. There’s just something uniquely exciting about the combination of those seamless White vocal harmonies laid on top of the instrumental foundation of Cheryl’s acoustic bass, Sharon’s rhythm guitar and Buck’s tasty mandolin and piano licks, with those exquisite, otherworldly Flux resophonic guitar riffs weaving in and out of the aural tapestry.
The world’s most renowned Dobro player, Jerry Douglas undoubtedly ranks amongst the top contemporary stylists in American music. Douglas has garnered 12 Grammy Awards, more than 20 IBMA awards, and he holds the distinction of being named Musician of the Year by The Country Music Association three times (2002, 2005, 2007), the Academy of Country Music 11 times and twice by the Americana Music Association (2002, 2003). He was honored as the 2008 Artist in Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, and in 2004 the National Endowment for The Arts presented Douglas with a National Heritage Fellowship, acknowledging his artistic excellence and contribution to the nation’s traditional arts.
Cheryl and Sharon White’s music story begins in Texas, when their dad, Buck White started his musical career shortly after the end of World War II, working the dance halls and radio shows in a succession of bands. In 1961, looking for a more wholesome environment, The Whites moved to Arkansas. Within weeks Buck and his wife, Pat formed the first version of The Down Home Folks with another local couple, and as Sharon and Cheryl grew up, they joined the band too.
After a positive experience performing at Bill Monroe’s festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana in 1971, The Whites decided it was time to move to Nashville and pursue their music more seriously. The Down Home Folks recorded five albums and toured steadily on the bluegrass festival circuit, and then they were invited to back up Emmylou Harris on her Blue Kentucky Girl album in 1979, also going on the road with her as an opening act. The early 1980s brought The Whites national attention with a succession of top 20 hits including: You Put the Blue in Me, Hangin’ Around, Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling and Pins and Needles the latter produced by Sharon’s husband, Ricky Skaggs. They were invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1984.
Their contributions to the O, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack brought The Whites a second round of world-wide media attention, including Album of the Year awards from IBMA and the CMA in 2001 and an Album of the Year Grammy and the Academy of Country Music award in 2002.