Leave it to Willie Nelson, 82, to thank the Library of Congress in song for being the first country music artist to win the prestigious Gershwin Prize last year-joining Paul Simon (the first such honoree), Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Carole King and Billy Joel-by releasing 'Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin' (Legacy Recordings).
Willie Nelson's name might not come to mind when you think about the Gershwin Brothers but that will soon change upon the release of his new album. Country music's original outlaw was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song last November, and to honor the occasion Nelson is releasing, Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin -- proving that he too has long admired Ira and George Gershwin's contribution to modern music. PBS will be broadcasting the Library of Congress ceremony from last year which included performances by everyone to Edie Brickell to Neil Young, this Friday night at 9 p.m.
Huddie Ledbetter, more commonly known as "Lead Belly," is having a Smithsonian Folkways moment for his latest tribute: Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection. An anthology and coffee-table book that broadly chronicles Belly's career, it's essential to folk fans of any stripe.
The original 1979 Broadway cast album of Stephen Sondheim's hit musical is one of 25 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" recordings inscribed in the LOC's great book of gravitas this year.
You'll recall that Alan Lomax began his tour of the United States in the 1940s. He set out with a Presto Model K8 recording machine--a 78 r.p.m. direct-to-disc field recorder--in hopes of archiving regional music from around the nation and, ultimately, the globe. Alex Steyermark, a director and music supervisor for films, and music journalist Lavinia Jones-Wright acquired a K8 machine in 2010 and set out on a similar path that Lomax did.