Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 BBU Heritage Awards

From Gerry Katz, BBU.

The Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2009 BBU Heritage Awards. The awards are presented each year by the BBU to honor those who have made substantial contributions to furthering bluegrass in New England. The awards will be presented during the 24th annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Presidents Day Weekend, February 13 – 15, 2009, at the Sheraton Framingham, Framingham, MA. More information on the festival at

This year’s Music Industry winners are:

Al Hawkes:

Musician, entertainer, record label owner, and collector Al Hawkes has contributed to bluegrass and country music in nearly every possible capacity. In 1956 in Westbrook, Maine, he founded Event Records and released early recordings by such key artists as The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover, Charlie Bailey (of the Bailey Brothers), Dick Curless, and many more. Born in 1930, Hawkes formed his first band in high school, singing and playing an array of stringed instruments. To this day, he continues to be an active performer, and has received over 25 awards. In addition to releasing a number of important recordings on Event, Hawkes is one of the foremost record collectors in New England, whose archive includes over 40,000 45s, 78s, and LPs.

Sandy Sheehan:

Since 1970, Sandy’s Music and its proprietor Sandy Sheehan have been essential lynchpins
in the Boston area’s traditional music scene. First captivated by folk, old-time, Celtic, blues, and bluegrass music in the 1960s, Sheehan established Sandy’s as a one-stop shop where one could peruse (and pick) a diverse range of stringed instruments, browse through new and old traditional music LPs and CDs, have instrument repairs done, take a music lesson, and get advice from the laconic, chain-smoking, banjo-picking owner. Sandy’s quickly became a hub for the traditional music community, with Sheehan hosting (and continuing to host) weekly Monday-night jams at the store and occasional old-time nights at Johnny D.’s. Since 1986, Sheehan has also hosted the popular Traditional Folk program on WUMB.

This year’s Musician award winners are:

The Original Members of Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys:

Founded in 1970, Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys featu
red Joe Val on mandolin and vocals, Herb Applin on guitar and vocals, Bob French on banjo and vocals, and bassist Bob Tidwell. With Val’s stratospheric tenor leading the way, the New England Bluegrass Boys worked tirelessly to bring traditional, hard-driving, Monroe-derived bluegrass to New England audiences. Through their riveting performances and a series of albums on the Cambridge-based Rounder label (beginning with Rounder’s third release, 1971’s One Morning In May), they helped to develop a fervent, dedicated audience for bluegrass and stringband music in New England – a community that still thrives today and gathers annual at the award-winning festival that bears Val’s name.

The Boston Bluegrass Union is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization, dedicated to preserving and promoting this original American music genre. Celebrating our 33rd season, the BBU is the premier source for events, education, and information on bluegrass music in the Northeast.

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