Lead Belly - 2004
Lead Belly, one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century is the honoree for the ninth annual American Music Masters series.
Lead Belly lived a life that included brutalizing poverty and long stretches in prison to become an emblem of authentic American music. He is renowned for his songs - the best known of which include “Rock Island Line,” “Goodnight, Irene,” “The Midnight Special” and “Cotton Fields” - as well as his prowess on the 12-string guitar. In his sixty-plus years, he essentially lived two distinctly different lives: first, as a field worker, blues singer, rambling man and prisoner in the rural South; second, as a city-dwelling folksinger, performer and recording artist in the urban North.
Tribute Concert Performers: Robert Plant, Harry Belafonte, Los Lobos, Odetta, Dave Alvin, Alison Krauss, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Dan Zanes and Friends, Jon Langford and Tarbox Ramblers
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performed onstage together for the first time to honor Lead Belly. In 2009 the pair was awarded the highest honors of Album of the Year for Raising Sand and Record of the Year for "Please Read the Letter" at the 51st annual Grammy awards.