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Memphis music honored at 2011 GRAMMY® Awards

February 18, 2011

The 53rd annual GRAMMY® Awards was a great night for Memphis music.  Memphis artists and industry professionals took home awards in seven categories. Congratulations to all the winners: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kirk Whalum & Jerry Peters, Mavis Staples, Pinetop Perkins & Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Robert Gordon and Memphis Music Foundation Chairman Al Bell. Bell, the former Stax Records head, was given a 2011 GRAMMY® Trustees Award — the equivalent of a Lifetime Achievement award for non-performers. Receiving the highest honor the music industry offers, Bell was recognized for his remarkable career as an industry mogul and the revitalization of STAX records which popularized modern African-American music on a previously unforeseen scale.

Memphis has received quite a bit of attention in this category with Stax co-founder the late Estelle Axton and Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell having also received the Trustees award in 2007 and 2008, making Bell third Memphis recipient in recent years. The Mayor of Soulsville himself remarked upon receiving the award “I accept this GRAMMY® Trustee Award on behalf of Memphis, Tennessee, the Memphis music industry and specifically on behalf of the Memphis Music Foundation. I shall, with even more fervor now, continue to do my part in working to assist in creating a better future for all of us in our marvelous music industry.” The 53rd annual GRAMMY® Awards marked another prestigious year for Memphis artists and music industry professionals.

Best Gospel Song

“It’s What I Do” Jerry Peters & Kirk Whalum, songwriters (Kirk Whalum & Lalah Hathaway)

Best Americana Album You Are Not Alone Mavis Staples

Best Traditional Blues Album Joined At The Hip Pinetop Perkins & Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith

Best Album Notes Keep An Eye On The Sky Robert Gordon, album notes writer (Big Star)

Best Jazz Vocal Album Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater Dee Dee Bridgewater

GRAMMY® Trustees Award Al Bell

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