Excuse me for getting personal for a moment, but I'm one of the happiest individuals on the planet today.
On Wednesday the International Bluegrass Music Association announced that their 2016 Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees would include Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy, and Bill Nowlin. These three college friends helped American roots music to no end in 1970 when they founded Rounder Records.
I don't know where we'd be without Rounder. One of the premiere independent record labels in America, they not only set the bar high but they showed how to be an indie label and do it right.
And oh, the music. Of course there's Alison Krauss, but Rounder also gave us the Whitstein Brothers, the Johnson Mountain Boys, James King, and Dailey & Vincent. Additionally, acts as diverse as Pokey LaFarge, Allan Toussaint, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, JD McPherson, and Doc & Merle Watson have had material released on Rounder at one point in their careers.
When other labels ran from individuality in music, Rounder embraced it, promoted it, and proved that there was a market for it. That great tradition continues to this day. The foresight and dedication of Ken, Marian, and Bill has now been rewarded with induction into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
And so to the terrific trio I offer my heartfelt congratulations on this honor, as well as my deepest thanks for all you have done for American roots music.