Smithsonian Folkways Earns 4 GRAMMY Nominations for McCormick Box Set, Dom Flemons, and Sam Bush

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Monday, November 13, 2023

Congratulations to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on their four GRAMMY nominations this year - the iconic label's 75th.

The four nominations join 30 previous Folkways nominations, and 9 wins to date. The Folkways catalog also contains 11 lifetime achievement award recipients.

"We're deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Recording Academy, especially as we celebrate 75 years of Folkways in 2023. These nominations top off a historic year for Smithsonian Folkways, and we look forward to the ceremony in February," said Maureen Loughran, Director and Curator for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

The four nominations are:

Best Album Notes: Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick, 1958-1971 (album notes by Jeff Place & John Troutman)

Best Historical Album: Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick, 1958-1971

Best Folk Album: Dom Flemons - Traveling Wildfire

Best Bluegrass Album: Sam Bush - Radio John: Songs of John Hartford

The contemporary incarnation of the independent label founded by Moses Asch in 1948 in NYC, Smithsonian Folkways' artists, sounds, styles, and audiences this year - including the three nominated works - could not have been more diverse, but were all united by the notion that to fully realize and shape the potential of our future and understand the present, we must reflect on the past.

More information on Playing for the Man at the Door, the long-awaited, 3-CD, 6-LP box set release of music from Mack McCormick's legendary blues archive; Traveling Wildfire, Dom Flemon's masterpiece collection of folk songs from his own repertoire; and Radio John: Songs of John Hartford, International Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer Sam Bush's tribute to the music of the enigmatic musician (and his friend) - is below.

In the 1950s and 60s, the blues thrived as the primary form of Black vernacular music in Texas and its surroundings. Robert “Mack” McCormick, a dedicated blues enthusiast, captured this vibrant community through photographs, recordings, and interviews with local musicians. His extensive collection, comprising 590 reels of sound recordings, 165 boxes of manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia, remained largely unreleased. "Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick, 1958–1971" is the first compilation from this legendary archive, showcasing both renowned and lesser-known artists. The music spans various genres, shedding light on the diverse cultural tapestry of the region. Accompanying this music is a 128-page book featuring McCormick's captivating photographs and essays on his life and the communities he documented. This release is in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Listen HERE and read a Sunday Arts feature in the Washington Post HERE

Dom Flemons has built a reputation on presenting 100 years of American roots music, but now, with Traveling Wildfire, his own songwriting prowess comes into the spotlight. Carefully selected from his personal repertoire, these original songs reveal his love of country, western, blues, Americana, bluegrass and folk music as they tell of true love, family legacy, survival, time travel, and the juxtaposition between light and dark. Traveling Wildfire weaves through the themes of hope and humor as it rises above the hard times with strength and lightheartedness.

Listen HERE

Radio John: Songs of John Hartford is Sam Bush’s heartfelt tribute to his hero and mentor, John Hartford. With dedication, admiration, and love, Bush takes on personal favorites from Hartford’s vast catalog, including songs he played with Hartford on stage and in the studio in the 1970s. Bush plays every instrument on nearly every cut, pouring himself into the performances. Radio John is a testament to the impact Hartford had on American traditional music as a songwriter, an instrumentalist, and, most importantly, someone who fostered the careers of musicians like Bush and countless others reinventing roots music in the last half of the 20th century.

Listen to "In Tall Buildings" HERE, and listen to 'Radio John' HERE

"Not only a musical love letter but a peek into the relationship between two of bluegrass music’s biggest innovators ... a loving tribute to a dear friend." - The Bluegrass Situation

About Smithsonian Folkways:

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the "National Museum of Sound," makes available close to 60,000 tracks in physical and digital format as the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian, with a reach of 80 million people per year. A division of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the non-profit label is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, production and dissemination of sound. Its mission is the legacy of Moses Asch, who founded Folkways Records in 1948 to document "people's music" from around the world. For more information about Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, visit

For more information on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Follow Smithsonian Folkways:

Official website: