Friday, October 8, 2010

Lester Flatt inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

This is a couple years old but wanted to post it:

Memories. Gladys Flatt (third from left) holds the award presented by Songwriters Hall of Fame as they inducted her late husband, Lester Flatt, into its ranks of stars. L-R: Marty Stuart, who presented the award to Gladys; Earl Scruggs, Lester's partner who was also inducted; Gladys; and Tammy Herren Brumfield, the granddaughter of Lester and Gladys.

Wife and granddaughter accept award

The man who helped put Sparta on the map with his continuous string of bluegrass hits has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lester Flatt, whose slow drawl and easy manner won the hearts of millions of fans in the United States, as well as overseas, was given the award posthumously during an Oct. 14, 2007, event at Renaissance Hotel, in Nashville.

Marty Stuart, one of Lester's former prot�s, presented the trophy to Flatt's widow, Gladys Flatt, and his granddaughter, Tammy Herren Brumfield, both of White County. Stuart, who has risen to stardom in the world of bluegrass music through the past three decades, lived with the Flatts when he was a young boy and remained in their home approximately three years. Also honored Sunday night was Earl Scruggs, Lester's former partner. Lester first hooked up with Scruggs as part of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, in 1945. Within three years, the two men had left Monroe to venture out and start their own act.

In 1953, Flatt and Scruggs began their WSM radio show for Martha White Flour. In 1956, they joined the Grand Ole Opry. In 1962, Flatt and Scruggs gained worldwide recognition when they recorded the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies TV show. The duo did not write the song, but it still hit number one within five weeks of the show's first broadcast. In 1962, they also performed at Carnegie Hall, becoming the first bluegrass act to have this honor bestowed upon them and performed the now-famous Martha White jingle. In 1967, Scrugg's instrumental, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, was used in the film Bonnie and Clyde. The song earned the duo a performance Grammy and went on to achieve Million-Air status from BMI. Flatt and Scruggs wrote many of their popular songs, including Don't Get Above Your Raisin', Crying My Heart Out Over You, Flint Hill Special and "Cabin in the Hills. They disbanded in 1969, but both were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Honor. In 1985, Flatt and Scruggs became only the second bluegrass act to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"It's really neat that more than 25 years after he died that he's nominated for something like this," said Brumfield, when talking about the man she affectionately still refers to as Poppa. "I'm just really sad that it couldn't have happened when he was living."

Flatt passed away in 1979 and is buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery, in Sparta.

Brumfield recalled a story her grandmother had told her about one of the times Lester had gotten the inspiration to write a song. At that point in the interview, Gladys took over the storytelling and said she and Lester were traveling down the highway one day when he told her to find something on which to write. The only thing Gladys could find was a brown paper sack. Lester began reciting the words as Gladys took dictation. That song was Be Ready for Tomorrow may Never Come.

"When we got here [Sparta], he got his guitar out at my sister's house," said Gladys. "I mean he didn't change the tune. He didn't change a word. They [songs] would just come to him like that. It was amazing."

By Kim Swindell Wood

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