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Jim Rooney

Boston Bluegrass Union Announces 2012 Heritage Award Winners

Boston Bluegrass UnionBoston, MA -- The Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 BBU Heritage Awards. The awards are presented each year by the BBU to honor those who have made substantial contributions to furthering bluegrass music in New England. The awards will be presented during the 27th annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Presidents Day Weekend, February 17-19, 2012, at the Sheraton Framingham, Framingham, MA.

Joe Val Bluegrass Music Festival, February 17-19, Selling Fast

27th Joe Val FestivalBoston, MA -- In 1962, New England musicians Jim Rooney (then a graduate student at Harvard University) and Bill Keith (stationed at the Boston Army Base) began performing regularly at Club 47 - now Passim. Rooney was the congenial frontman and vocalist, while Keith was a dedicated student of Earl Scruggs's banjo style. Their live performances, coupled with the release of their classic 1963 album Livin' on the Mountain, not only galvanized the nascent New England bluegrass scene - it also revolutionized bluegrass on an international scale, as word spread rapidly of Keith's remarkable new melodic banjo technique. Keith demonstrated this breakthrough - which enabled banjo players to play fiddle tunes note-for-note and subsequently inspired such groundbreaking pioneers as Tony Trischka and Béla Fleck - more widely the following year, when he hit the road as featured banjoist with Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music.

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