Members of a Shropshire folk band could find themselves sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in the music world after getting on the shortlist for the Grammy Awards.
Whalebone have made it through to the penultimate round in the Best Folk Album and Album of the Year categories of the 56th awards, which will be held in Los Angeles in January.
The trio – lead guitarist Steve Downes, guitarist Charlotte Watson and Sarah Ibberson on fiddle – recorded their latest CD, Runes, at their studio in Eardington, near Bridgnorth. It was released in September and two of its tracks are also up for Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Instrumental Composition.
The band is now waiting to see if they get from the shortlist to the nominations list, which would see them flying to the city’s Staples Centre for the ceremony on January 26.
Steve Downes said: “It’s rather surreal to see our name included in a list alongside those of so many musicians that have influenced and inspired us, including Led Zeppelin, Richard Thompson, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Nigel Kennedy. This is the first time we have had CD up for nomination.”
Mr Downes sent the Runes CD to the Grammy’s panel for consideration and after several e-mails and questions from the judges he was told they had made it through to the penultimate round.
He said: “To enter your own CD you have to be a member of the Recording Academy of America, which I am, but it then goes through a vetting procedure.
“With the names we are up against I would be quite shocked if we made it any further, but just to make it through to the equivalent of the semi-finals is an honour.”
The band has been causing quite a stir across the Atlantic in recent months. James Mahoney from KPRB Radio, in Arizona, who plays a folk and Celtic music show twice a week, recently came over to visit them in Bridgnorth.
DJs from Canada have also been trying to get the band to fly over to perform.
Mr Downes said: “We are still very much in touch in with lady from Canada who runs a radio station and wants us to come over.
“It was also great to take Jim Mahoney around Bridgnorth to see some of the sights.”
To hear the tracks nominated for the Grammys visit www.whalebone-music.com