GREENSBORO, N.C. — From Thelonious Monk and Elizabeth Cotten to James Taylor and Ben E. King, North Carolina's music history is extensive.
This year, the tradition continues at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. Multiple North Carolina artists are nominated to receive the music industry's most prestigious honor. Many have connections to the Triad.
Graham Sharp grew up in Greensboro. He sings and plays banjo for the Steep Canyon Rangers. The group's North Carolina Songbook is nominated for "Best Bluegrass Album."
The album purposefully draws on the state's music history, hoping to carry the torch.
"The future for North Carolina music hopefully looks like the past," Sharp said. "I think North Carolina has been a home for innovative, wonderful and virtuosic musicians for generations."
Steep Canyon Rangers won a Grammy in 2013 for their bluegrass album Nobody Knows You. Sharp is looking forward to adding to the trophy collection on Sunday.
"This year, [a Grammy award] means a little more because good news as a professional musician has been harder to come by."
Dominick Amendum can relate to the burden of the past year. While working as UNC Greensboro's Musical Theatre Coordinator, Amendum helped produce the soundtrack for the popular musical "The Prince of Egypt." He said the story of DreamWorks classic story mirrored life in 2020 more than he expected.
“It’s a story about people and humanity that are thrust into situations that are larger than themselves, and I think that’s something we all understand from the last year of our lives," Amendum said.
The project has been nominated for "Best Musical Theatre Album."
"To get this you know, kind of, top tier honor for a musician is just the biggest honor I’ve ever had,” Amendum said.
Other UNCG graduates are connected to this year's Grammy honors as well. Brian McMath and Donny Walter teach music at Northwest Guilford High School. They each were finalists for the Grammy's national Music Educator Award.
It's a rare honor, made more extraordinary considering they work at the same school. Guilford County Schools was the only school system in the country to have more than one educator as a finalist.
"The recognition for the program is phenomenal," Walter said, "While we might be the public faces of the program, but there is much, much that goes on behind the scenes and we couldn’t do it by ourselves.”
"It's a true village that raised us to this level," McMath added, "It's a huge credit to the Northwest area, but also to Guilford County Schools in what they've allowed us to do."
"For us to be recognized at that level, it's amazing," McMath continued.