Jerry Douglas and Sharon and Cheryl White Host 2010 IBMA Awards
By Kissy Black - Lotus Nile, for IBMA
August 17, 2010 - 6:45 am
2010 IBMA Awards
Nashville, Tenn. — Award-winning artists Jerry Douglas and Cheryl & Sharon White of The Whites will co-host the 21th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday, September 30, at 7:30 p.m. 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.
As a child growing up in Warren, Ohio, Douglas listened to his father's bluegrass band, a collection of West Virginia coalfield refugees who'd come to work in the steel mills of the Midwest. At eight Jerry's dad took him to a 1963 Flatt & Scruggs concert, where he heard both of the men who put Dobro on the bluegrass map: Brother Oswald Kirby and Uncle Josh Graves. This concert shifted Jerry's attention from the guitar to the Dobro.
By 1973 Douglas was playing with The Country Gentlemen, and two years later he joined J.D. Crowe and the New South - which also included future stars Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. In 1976, Douglas and Skaggs co-founded the now-legendary bluegrass combo, Boone Creek. Douglas launched his solo career in 1979 with his LP Fluxology and became a full-time member of The Whites through 1985. By the mid-'80s Jerry was Nashville's busiest session Dobro player, while continuing his solo recording career. In the late '80s and early '90s he also recorded critically acclaimed albums with Strength in Numbers, in a trio with Russ Barenberg and Edgar Meyer, and he co-produced and performed on the multi-artist project The Great Dobro Sessions - winning a GRAMMY® for Best Bluegrass Album.
In 1998 Jerry decided to leave session work and Alison Krauss asked him to fill in on a Union Station tour which led to a full-time spot with the group, touring extensively and playing on a series of platinum-selling albums. Between tours and in recent years while Krauss was on the road with rocker Robert Plant, Jerry has fronted his own band. He's also spent some time behind the soundboard, producing artists like Krauss, The Del McCoury Band, Maura O'Connell, Jesse Winchester and the Nashville Bluegrass Band, among others, and Jerry is also the Music Co-Director of the popular BBC television series, Transatlantic Sessions.
In addition to his groundbreaking work with the bands mentioned above, Douglas's musical brilliance has graced over 2,000 recordings by such distinguished artists as James Taylor, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Garth Brooks, Charlie Haden, Earl Scruggs, Phish, Bill Frisell, The Chieftains, and the eight million-plus selling soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? In recent months, his collaborations with renowned artist Elvis Costello have taken him on tours across North America and Europe, and last month (July 13) saw the release of the Douglas-produced album Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor (E1 Music), featuring an all-star cast of Dobro players including Douglas himself, Rob Ickes, Mike Auldridge and others. His latest gig is musical director and score composer of the new movie, Get Low, starring! Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall, Golden Globe winner Bill Murray, Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black - including a new soundtrack CD on the Rounder/Zanuck/SONY Pictures Classics label.
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. Live performances and television appearances followed, including the popular Down from the Mountain multiple-city tours in 2002 and the Great High Mountain package tour the summer of 2004. The Whites received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2006.
In 2007 after blending their voices on the stage of the Opry and in their living rooms for years, The Whites teamed up in the studio for the first time with Ricky Skaggs on Salt of the Earth, which won a GRAMMY® for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album and a Dove Award for Bluegrass Recorded Album of the Year. In 2008 Buck, Sharon and Cheryl White were inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.
For more information on World of Bluegrass events, go to ibma.org or call 888-GET-IBMA. IBMA Award Show tickets are on sale now at the website, and also at the Ryman Auditorium box office in Nashville.
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