Winner of the 2017 Homer Ledford Award: Doug Naselroad!

7-doug-playing-tenor-ukeSince 2007, the Kentucky Folklife Program, based in the Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology of Western Kentucky University, has awarded the Homer Ledford Award to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, mastery of making and setting up instruments for excellent tone and playability, and who have been recognized by the communities of musicians they serve.

This year’s winner, Doug Naselroad, is originally from Winchester, KY. He learned the craft of instrument making as an apprentice under Ledford. Naselroad has had an impressive career as a luthier, most recently accepting a Master Artist Residency at the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman, KY. In this position, Naselroad was integral in establishing the Kentucky School of Luthiery, as well as the Hindman Dulcimer Project. Naselroad’s career has taken him to different parts of the country, including a stint in Austin, TX. Jessica Evans, who nominated Naselroad, tells that:

In the 90s, Doug was offered a job at the then-new Collings Guitars factory in Austin, Texas where he made guitars for the likes of Lyle Lovett, Steve Miller, John Prine, Steven Spielberg and even Bob Taylor. Thousands of instruments later, Doug returned to eastern Kentucky to continue his own work, which alternates between more traditional patterns and experimental art guitars.

Naselroad has gone on to mentor new generations of luthiers, sharing his knowledge and experience with those wanting to carry on the tradition of instrument making. Evans notes:

Perhaps the most important facet of Doug’s work today is mentoring young (and old) instrument-makers in Hindman. Doug feels compelled to give back what he’s been given– a wealth of experience in instrument making. In a region fraught with rampant drug-abuse, coal industry decline, and growing loss of cultural identity, the creation of the Kentucky School of Luthiery in Hindman represents hope and tradition to those that walk through it’s doors.

Naselroad truly embodies the spirit of the Homer Ledford Award, not only through his outstanding craftsmanship and mentoring, but also in his relationship with the community of Hindman, KY where he now works. Evans describes:

Doug Naselroad goes above and beyond to create a community around music and luthiery in eastern Kentucky. He meets the struggle of individuals trying to achieve a valued place in the community by teaching them the traditional folk craft of instrument making. He can always be counted on to stop and play a song, or discuss a current project or the history of the dulcimer with visitors that stop in, including bicyclists just passing through on the TransAmerica Trail, community members, tourists and school groups. On most days, the studio is abuzz with the whirrs and bangs of saws and sanders and of people jostling around. The sleepy little town of Hindman is awake when Doug turns the studio lights on.

We are pleased to honor Doug Naselroad with the 2017 Homer Ledford Award. The Kentucky Folklife Program, along with our partner the Kentucky Arts Council, will present the award at Kentucky Crafted: The Market in Lexington Center on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

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The Kentucky Folklife Program, based at Western Kentucky University and housed within the Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology, has a long history of working with the Kentucky Arts Council to document, present, conserve, and teach the public about the rich heritage of folk and traditional artists working in Kentucky today. This award celebrates the legacy and creative industry of traditional stringed instrument makers who are vital to Kentucky musical culture.

This award is given in honor and memory of master luthier, musician, and educator Homer Ledford. Known for his superb craftsmanship, impressive productivity, inspired innovations, generous spirit, and willingness to teach anyone interested in his art, Homer had a profound impact on musical communities throughout Kentucky and far beyond. Many luthiers and musicians remember visiting his basement shop in Winchester, Kentucky where he immersed himself in his work while sharing techniques, wisdom, and stories surrounding his cultural heritage. Ledford’s legacy lives on among today’s musical craftspeople, and this award symbolizes that legacy.

Past Homer Ledford Awardees include Warren May of Berea, Art Mize of Lexington, Donna Lamb of Lancaster, and Frank Neat of Russell Springs.

For more information, contact the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Folklife Specialist, Virginia Siegel: virginia.siegel@wku.edu

Deadline approaching for the Homer Ledford Award

homer-ledford-copyIt’s not too late to nominate a Kentucky luthier for the Homer Ledford Award.

Since 2007, the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Homer Ledford Award has been given to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, mastery of making and setting up instruments for excellent tone and playability, and who have been recognized by the communities of musicians they serve.

The deadline for nominations is November 21, 2016.

To access the nomination instructions and learn more about the award, click here.

Kentucky Folklife Program Accepting Nominations for 2017 Homer Ledford Award

The Kentucky Folklife Program Homer Ledford Award – Nominee Application 2017

homer-ledford-copy

Since 2007, the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Homer Ledford Award has been given to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, mastery of making and setting up instruments for excellent tone and playability, and who have been recognized by the communities of musicians they serve.

The Kentucky Folklife Program, based at Western Kentucky University, has a long history of working with the Kentucky Arts Council to document, present, conserve, and teach the public about the rich heritage of folk and traditional artists working in Kentucky today. This award celebrates the legacy and creative industry of traditional stringed instrument makers who are vital to Kentucky musical culture.

This award is given in honor and memory of master luthier, musician, and educator Homer Ledford. Known for his superb craftsmanship, impressive productivity, inspired innovations, generous spirit, and willingness to teach anyone interested in his art, Homer had a profound impact on musical communities throughout Kentucky and far beyond. Many luthiers and musicians remember visiting his basement shop in Winchester, Kentucky where he immersed himself in his work while sharing techniques, wisdom, and stories surrounding his cultural heritage. Ledford’s legacy lives on among today’s musical craftspeople, and this award symbolizes that legacy.

Past Homer Ledford Awardees include Warren May of Berea, Art Mize of Lexington, Donna Lamb of Lancaster, and Frank Neat of Russell Springs.

 

The Kentucky Folklife Program, along with our partner the Kentucky Arts Council, will present the next Homer Ledford Award at Kentucky Crafted: The Market in the Lexington Center on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

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Application Process

In two pages or less, describe:

  1. The type of instrument building, maintenance or repair work being carried out by the nominee.
  2. The caliber of the nominee’s work as it pertains to their historical and cultural background.
  3. How the nominee learned instrument making, including information on when, where, and from whom he or she learned.
  4. How the nominee’s work samples (see below: Work Sample) demonstrate artistic excellence as defined by the community of musicians who play instruments that are built or maintained by the nominee.

Work Sample

In addition to the written portion, it will be important for the Homer Ledford advisory team to see sample images of the nominee’s work. Please attach to the same email 6-10 representative digital images of what you consider the nominee’s strongest work.

Attach your nomination and work sample to an email message and send to Virginia Siegel, Folklife Specialist, Kentucky Folklife Program: virginia.siegel@wku.edu

If you have questions about this process, please contact Virginia Siegel, Folklife Specialist, at 270-745-4133.

Deadline for submissions is November 21, 2016.

The Homer Ledford Award

Ledford works on a dulcimer.
Ledford works on a dulcimer.

This year the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University is joining with the Appalachian Center at Berea College to present the Homer Ledford Award at the Annual Celebration of Traditional Music in Berea on October 17th, 2014.

Since 2007, the Homer Ledford Award has been given to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, mastery of making and setting up instruments for excellent tone and playability, and have been recognized by the communities of musicians they serve.

This award is given in honor and memory of master luthier, musician, and educator Homer Ledford. Known for his superb craftsmanship, impressive productivity, inspired innovations, generous spirit and willingness to teach anyone interested in his art, Homer had a profound impact on musical communities throughout Kentucky and far beyond. Many luthiers and musicians have fond memories of visiting his basement shop in Winchester, KY, where he immersed himself in his work while sharing techniques, wisdom and stories behind the rich cultural heritage he represented. Ledford’s legacy lives on among the current generation of musical craftspeople he inspired, and this award symbolizes that legacy.

“Homer was an inspiration to countless traditional musicians and instrument makers. ” shared Brent Bjorkman, Director of The Kentucky Folklife Program based at Western Kentucky University, “Berea College was the place where Homer and his wife Colista first met as students and began to develop so many of their deep friendships that have lasted over more than 60 years. The Annual Celebration of Traditional Music weekend will be the perfect place to present this award.”

Past Homer Ledford Awardees include Warren May of Berea, Art Mize of Lexington and Donna Lamb of Lancaster.

The Kentucky Folklife Program will be coordinating the award process. If you know of an inspiring Kentucky instrument maker and would like to submit their name as a nominee please visit the KFP website. For further details about the submission process contact Brent Bjorkman, Director of the Kentucky Folklife Program: brent.bjorkman@wku.edu

Deadline for submissions is September 8th, 2014.