East Tennessee State University faculty and alumni received nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards or were involved in Grammy-nominated works.
Dr. Ted Olson, a professor in the Department of Appalachian Studies, received a nomination for Best Album Notes for "Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition." This 32-track album of old and new world Appalachian ballads performed by leading UK and American roots music luminaries was released in 2017 by The Great Smoky Mountains Association. About half of the ballads on the album were recorded in the ETSU recording lab, and a number of university faculty, staff and alumni were involved in the project, including Roy Andrade, associate professor in Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies in the Department of Appalachian Studies, who served as associate producer; Ben Bateson, recording lab manager, who was the sound engineer; and John Fleenor, Archives of Appalachia media collections manager, who was the mastering engineer.
Martin Walters, a lecturer in Jazz Studies in the Department of Music and also a lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication, mixed and mastered two albums by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The nominees for Grammys this year are "Shaka Zulu Revisted" for Best World Music Album and "Songs of Peace & Love for Kids & Parents Around the World" for Best Children's Album. "Shaka Zulu Revisted," he notes, is a tribute to the band's original 1987 album, "Shaka Zulu," produced by Paul Simon. The album followed Simon's Grammy-winning "Graceland" album, which featured Ladysmith on such songs as "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" and "Homeless."
Alumnus Barry Bales played bass on three Grammy-nominated projects. Two of these were with Alison Krauss: "Losing You," which was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance, and "I Never Cared for You," nominated for Best American Roots Performance. The third was for Michael Cleveland's "Fiddler's Dream," nominated for Best Bluegrass Album.
Also nominated for Best Bluegrass Album was "All the Rage – In Concert, Volume One [Live]" by Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, featuring alumni Hunter Berry on fiddle and Brent Burke – the first graduate in ETSU's bluegrass major program – on resonator guitar.
In addition, alumnus Kenny Chesney garnered a nomination for Best Country Album for "Cosmic Hallelujah."
"I'm not surprised to see so many ETSU alumni and faculty nominated for Grammy awards," said Dan Boner, associate professor and director of Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies. "Each nominee demonstrates the highest quality of what ETSU affords its students. We are all very proud of them."
"We are incredibly proud of our Grammy award-nominated faculty and alumni," added Dr. Matthew Potterton, associate professor and chair of the ETSU Department of Music and director of choral and vocal activities. "For those wanting to learn from the best in their field, ETSU is the place to study."
The 2018 Grammy Awards are presented on Jan. 28.