Dr. Ted Olson, a professor in the Department of Appalachian Studies, and co-producer Richard Martin received a nomination for Best Album Notes for “4 Banjo Songs, 1891-1897: Foundational Recordings of America’s Iconic Instrument” by the late Charles A. Asbury. This album features the first-ever release of minstrel-era banjo recordings, played by an African American veteran of the minstrel stage, and Olson says these songs are probably the earliest recordings of banjo music. “4 Banjo Songs” includes 16 pages of biographical and music notes by Olson and Martin and was released in May on Archeophone Records.
This is the seventh Grammy nomination for Olson, who was most recently nominated for Best Album Notes the 2018 Grammy Awards for “Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition.” His first nomination was for “The Bristol Sessions, 1927-28: The Big Bang of Country Music” in 2011.
In addition, Sister Sadie, an all-female band whose bassist, Beth Lawrence, is a former student of ETSU’s Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program, was nominated in the Best Bluegrass Album category for “Sister Sadie II.” The album debuted at number 2 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums chart the week of Sept. 15, and the first single from the album, “Losing You Blues,” hit number 1 on the Roots Music Reports chart.
In addition to Lawrence, members of Sister Sadie include Dale Ann Bradley on vocals and guitar, Tina Adair on vocals and mandolin, Deannie Richardson on fiddle and Gena Britt on banjo.
The 61st Grammy Awards will be presented on Feb. 10 and televised on CBS.