Posts tagged ‘Grammy Awards’

Jerry Zolten is Heading to the Grammys

Photo via Penn State Altoona

Photo via Penn State Altoona

While most of us will watch the Grammy Awards next month from our living rooms, Penn State Altoona professor Jerry Zolten will be at the ceremony in Los Angeles. That is because Zolten ’69 will act as the liaison and assist in a pre-show performance for The Fairfield Four, a Nashville-based vocal group that is up for the Best Roots Gospel Album award.

According to a release, Zolten has strong ties to the group, as he produced one of its albums and produced one member’s solo album. He also played a role in the record that’s up for a Grammy, Still Rockin’ My Soul – Zolten was a repertoire consultant and wrote the album’s liner notes.

This will mark the second year in a row that Zolten is involved with a Grammy-nominated project. In 2015, Zolten was a writer and researcher for The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume I (1917-27), a series of vinyl records which took home the Grammy for Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

January 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Béla Fleck and His African Pals Rock Eisenhower Auditorium

Back in the late 1980s, I was one of the hosts of the Folk Show on WPSU-FM, Penn State’s public radio station, and Béla Fleck was pushing the boundaries of bluegrass music as the banjo player for the decidedly niche group New Grass Revival. We played a lot of his stuff on the show, but I doubt that most people outside the bluegrass world knew who he was.

Then Fleck started branching out even more, musically speaking, with groups like the Flecktones and collaborations with musicians like Chick Corea. Now, 20 years later, the guy has 13 Grammy Awards. And he’s got a reputation as one of the most adventurous musicians in the U.S.: He has done jazz recordings, and classical, and country, and pop.

Just this year, Fleck won two Grammy Awards for a world-music recording: Throw Down Your Heart, a collaboration with musicians from Africa. Fleck has brought some of those musicians to the U.S. to tour with him this winter, and last night he brought the show to Eisenhower Auditorium.

It was cool to see how he showcased the musicians—first introducing a pair of musicians from Tanzania, Anania Ngoliga on thumb piano and John Kitime on guitar (see photo at left), then leaving the stage so they could play a few numbers for the crowd, then coming back to play with them as a trio. Similarly, he introduced a group of musicians from Mali—Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba—then let them play, before returning to the stage to jam with them.

And “jam” is really the right word. It’s kind of funny to say that a bunch of African musicians, playing instruments made out of gourds and wood and the like, rocked Eisenhower Auditorium, but that’s exactly what they did. It was electric.

You can see the remaining tour dates here and more photos from last night’s concert here.

Tina Hay, editor

March 4, 2010 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

Mike Reid Featured in the L.A. Times

A feature in today’s L.A. Times offers a cool reminder that one of Penn State’s all-time football greats has had an even more interesting and successful career off the field. Mike Reid ’69 is profiled by Times sports columnist Jerry Crowe, who gets right to the point of what makes Reid unique:

Dozens have won the Outland Trophy, presented annually to college football’s outstanding interior lineman.

Hundreds have won Grammys.

Only Mike Reid has won both.

Reid must surely also be the only man enshrined in the College Football and Nashville Songwriters halls of fame. Without a doubt, he’s one we’re proud to call our own.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

December 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm 1 comment


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