Norman Blake Named Recipient Of The 2017 Charlie Poole Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

(Rockingham County, NC) –  The Charlie Poole Festival took a break this year, as it looks forward to new horizons in its new location on the campus of Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, North Carolina, and its new date of Memorial Day weekend, in 2018.  Another leading light in the music world is threatening to take a permanent break from performing and recording – Norman Blake.  While this makes us sad, it would be a well-deserved rest for someone who, much like Charlie Poole, deserves credit for transforming American music, and entertaining us mightily along the way.

In recognition of Norman Blake’s extraordinary contributions to America’s musical legacy, the Charlie Poole Festival is proud to announce that Blake has been named the 2017 recipient of the Charlie Poole Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.  Blake’s 2017 CD release “Brushwood (Songs and Stories)” is just another example of why he is deserving of this award.

After leaving home at 16 to pursue a career as a professional musician, and after a stint in the Army, Blake found himself, by just his mid-20s, making his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, and being hired by the already legendary Johnny Cash to play in his band.  The caliber of Blake’s talent is reflected in the important recordings on which he appeared over the next few decades – some of the most important in American music history:

Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” (1968)

John Hartford’s “Aereo Plain” (1971)

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (1972)

“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000)

All of those years between the 1970s and 2000 were filled with award-winning original music, pairings with his extraordinarily talented lifetime partner, Nancy Blake, and other greats of the industry – recordings that cemented his status as one of the preeminent guitarists of all time.   Blake, whether playing an ancient song from the American canon or performing one of his original tunes (that sound deceptively old), continues to capture the fascination of all those who hold this music dear.  We can only hope that his suggestion that he may not record or perform publicly again turns out to not be so, but we must affirm that he has certainly earned the right to do so with the joy he has brought to us over so many years.

The Charlie Poole Festival is honored to recognize Norman Blake, a true American treasure.  Charlie would certainly be proud of the association.

Charlie Poole Festival News Release  •  September 4, 2017  •  L. Price



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