This year, the Texas Music Association has added two very prestigious awards to their line-up. One is the Carl T. Sprague Award. Those of you new to the Texas music scene might not recognize the name or the importance behind it.
The picture and research for this article are courtesy of Bluegrassmessengers
Carl was the first REAL singing cowboy. He learned traditional cowboy songs as a young boy while sitting around the campfire on cattle drives with his uncle in the early 1900’s. Over the years he honed his craft of singing and songwriting. His first hit came in 1925 with “When the Works All Done This Fall”. Back when a record was a a hit if it sold 5,000 copies, Carl’s sold over 900,000! His success paved the way for more familiar singing cowboys such as Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. He set the tone for what would become known as Country and Western music.
Unlike most musicians of today, Carl looked upon his music as a hobby. Other than some speaking at various ‘folklife’ seminars around the country in his later life, he never persued a serious musical career following the Depression. He did record two albums in the early 1970’s with the Bear Family Recordings out of Germany.
With inspiration like Carl T. Sprague, it’s understandable why the following entertainers stand to be one of the first to receive this very prestigious award.
This year, Lonnie Spiker, Jeremy Parsons, Mike Siler, Aaron Wendt, and Michael Martin Murphy hold a spot in this inaugural category. Each one of them belong in this category for varying reasons. Only one will take home the prestigious honor.
Tomorrow I'll showcase the Academy Award of Distinction.