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Burnett, Welch, Rawlings Receive American Master Awards

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Pat Pattison, David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, T Bone Burnett, and Berklee President Roger Brown.Boston, MA, and Franklin, TN. Berklee College of Music presented American Master Awards to legendary record producer, songwriter and recording artist T Bone Burnett, and acclaimed roots duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – both Berklee alumni – at a special Tuesday night edition of Music City Roots, the variety weekly music broadcast from the Factory in Franklin, TN. Welch and Rawlings took the stage after accepting their awards and performed songs including "The Way it Goes," and "Look at Miss Ohio." Burnett joined them for "Everything is Free." Berklee alumnae Sierra Hull, Liz Longley, and Maureen Murphy also performed at the event, hosted by Jim Lauderdale. The American Master Award is presented by Berklee to industry leaders whose openness, generosity and deep commitment to music education have made a positive impact on the lives of young musicians, providing them opportunities to grow as artists and leaders.

The American Master Award is presented by Berklee to industry leaders whose openness, generosity and deep commitment to music education have made a positive impact on the lives of young musicians, providing them opportunities to grow as artists and leaders. Past recipients of the award include Grand Ole Opry Manager Pete Fisher, drummer Eddie Bayers and recording executive Jim Ed Norman.

“We’ve enjoyed the music of quite a few Berklee graduates and students on Music City Roots over the years, and we know what an important role the college has played in supporting roots and Americana artists to develop fresh and original takes on tradition, so this special show means a lot to us,” says the show’s journalist and artist interviewing co-host Craig Havighurst.

Gillian Welch, along with her singing, guitar playing partner David Rawlings, both Berklee class of 1992, made an immediate impact on American music with the release of their 1996 album Revival. Since then, they’ve released a string of acclaimed albums that update the atmosphere of Appalachian folk music and participated in key milestones of Americana, including the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack of 2001. T Bone Burnett produced Welch and Rawlings’ first album and the O Brother soundtrack, plus dozens of other recordings by artists as varied as Los Lobos, Ralph Stanley, Elton John and Diana Krall. He has been a member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, a Grammy-nominated recording artist and an enabler of numerous careers.

The March 15 show and award ceremony coincides with and celebrates Berklee’s Nashville trip, now an honored annual tradition. For 31 years, a group of Berklee students has spent its spring break in Nashville, getting deep music industry insight through clinics and workshops with accomplished alumni artists, songwriters, producers and engineers. The trip, which began with five students, has grown to more than 100 students per year and is led by Pat Pattison, professor of songwriting, and Stephen Webber, program director for the Music Production, Technology and Innovation Program at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain. More than 3,000 students have attended the program since its inception. Longley and Hull participated in the Nashville trip as Berklee students. Welch and Rawlings first connected and started playing together as a result of the trip.

“This feels like a homecoming and a new beginning at the same time,” said Berklee President Roger Brown. “We're thrilled to recognize T Bone, Gillian and David for their immeasurable contributions to music here in Nashville where so many Berklee alumni have become integral to the music community, and to forge a partnership with Music City Roots, a show that is so important to the tradition of live radio.”

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