Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers today earned a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for North Carolina Songbook, an eight-song collection that weaves a path through the musical history of their home state of North Carolina.
The album, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart, was produced by the band and recorded live at Merlefest, North Carolina’s preeminent roots music festival. Adding their own unmistakable style to each track, the band reinterprets the work of cross-generational North Carolina icons, including Elizabeth Cotten, Doc Watson, Ben E. King, James Taylor, Tommy Jarrell, Ola Belle Reed, and Thelonious Monk.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by the Recording Academy with a Grammy nomination,” says Woody Platt. “It is especially sweet because this record pays tribute to many of the great artists from our musically rich home state of North Carolina.”
“This album was conceived as a love letter to our home state and the overwhelmingly diverse amount of groundbreaking musicians it has produced,” adds Graham Sharp. “It was a joy to perform and we’re truly grateful to be nominated among such a cool slate of our peers.”
One of the Rangers’ boldest covers is a take on Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk" that sees them swap the jazz great's grand piano and tenor sax for banjo and mandolin. As the band described from the stage at MerleFest, "We're not sure if Bill Monroe and Thelonious Monk ever met on the road, but if they did, it might’ve sounded like this."
Over a 20-year career, the three-time Grammy nominees and North Carolina Music Hall of Fame inductees have released 13 solo albums and three collaborative albums with actor/banjoist Steve Martin. Nobody Knows You won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013, which followed their 2012 nomination in the same category for Rare Bird Alert. They recently released their critically acclaimed thirteenth album Arm In Arm: stream/buy here.
The Steep Canyon Rangers are Woody Platt (vocals/guitar), Graham Sharp (vocals/banjo), Mike Guggino (vocals/mandolin/mandola), Nicky Sanders (vocals/fiddle), Mike Ashworth (vocals/drums), and Barrett Smith (vocals/bass).
The 63rd GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast on CBS Television Network on Sunday, January 31, 2021.
North Carolina Songbook Tracklist:
1. Stand By Me (Ben E. King)
2. Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (Earl Scruggs/Charlie Poole)
3. Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk)
4. Drunkard's Hiccups (Tommy Jarrell)
5. Shake Sugaree (Elizabeth Cotten)
6. Sweet Baby James (James Taylor)
7. I’ve Endured (Ola Belle Reed)
8. Your Lone Journey (Doc Watson)