Two Hyattsville residents up for Grammy Awards
By Timothy Sandoval | The Gazette,
Stephen Wade, 58, has played music since he was 11 and has had his writings about music published in major journals and newspapers since the 1980s.
Still, the Hyattsville resident said he was surprised to learn he’d been nominated for a Grammy Award.
“It is a real honor,” he said.
Wade is one of two Hyattsville residents who will learn whether they win an award at the Feb. 10 show, which will be held in Los Angeles. Wade is nominated for Best Album Notes for the more than 44-page booklet that accompanies his third album, “Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition.”
Peter Reiniger, 63, who has lived in Hyattsville for more than 20 years, is nominated for two awards. He is up for Best Historical Album and Best Recording Package for his work on “Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection,” a compilation album made for the 100th birthday of the 20th-century folk singer-songwriter most famous for his song “This Land is Your Land.”
Wade has worked as a musical researcher and musician since the 1970s. Throughout the ’80s and early ’90s, Wade performed his act, “Banjo Dancing,” at the District’s Arena Stage, which featured him telling stories drawn from 19th- and 20th-century American folklore and some original stories set to mostly banjo music. His writings on music have appeared in publications such as American Music, Musical Quarterly and the Chicago Tribune.
Wade said he wanted to record the album because he had a lot of unspent energy after writing his book, “The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience,” which was released in August.
“It was joyous,” Wade said of recording sessions with his ensemble. “There was a wonderful collegiality. I have great veneration for the people I worked with.”
Michael Melford, the album’s producer, said he enjoyed the experience.
“It’s delightful because he has a lot of passion and intensity for the music,” he said. “It’s infectious. All the other musicians catch his enthusiasm.”
In the album booklet, Wade writes about the history of and his personal connection to each song, such as “Arcade Blues,” in which he writes about his encounter in the ’70s with family members of Uncle Dave Macon, who originally recorded the song in the ’20s.
Wade’s competition for the award includes the notes to recently released Beatles, Janis Joplin, Ray Charles and Pablo Aslan Quintet albums.
“I am up against some pretty big names,” he said. “These aren’t small artists.”
As for the Guthrie album, Reiniger said he was proud to have received the nominations for the album, which contains a 150-page book about Guthrie and two discs with dozens of tracks, many of them previously unreleased.
Reiniger, who did audio work on the album, said he and his co-producers thought Guthrie’s 100th birthday was a good time to release the album, given that Guthrie’s work still inspires musicians today, from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan.
He said he thought it was great that two residents of the same city were nominated for awards.
“It just reflects on the quality of the music and the products that come out of the Washington area,” Reiniger said. “The fact that we live [in] Hyattsville is circumstantial.”