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Master Banjo Player Scott Vestal Wins Steve Martin Prize For Excellence In Banjo And Bluegrass

Banjo player extraordinaire Scott Vestal is the 2017 recipient of the 8thAnnual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Grammy Nominee Peter Wernick, known as Dr. Banjo, presented Vestal with the award on stage at the 45th Annual Rocky Grass Festival in Lyons, CO this past Saturday after Vestal's performance with the Sam Bush Bluegrass Band. Previously the recipient of the Banjo Player of the Year in 1996 by the International Bluegrass Music Association, Vestal is an in-demand session player who has engineered, produced, and played on various award-winning instrumental recordings.

Vestal first came into the national scene at the age of 18 playing with Larry Sparks, and since then has toured with multiple bands including the Southern Connection, Livewire and the critically acclaimed quartet, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and has collaborated with Harley Allen, John Cowan and David Lee Roth on multiple award-winning projects.

Vestal owns a recording studio, Digital Underground, where he engineers, produces, and plays on various projects including a series of award-winning instrumental recordings for Pinecastle Records, and has worked with the likes of Bill Monroe, David Lee Roth, John Jorgenson, Tim Joe Nichols, Billy Ray Cyrus, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, to name a few.

The Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass provides the winner with an unrestricted cash prize of fifty-thousand dollars, as well as a bronze sculpture created specifically for the prize by noted artist Eric Fischl. Created to bring recognition to an individual or group for outstanding accomplishment in the field of five-string banjo or bluegrass music, the prize highlights the extraordinary musicianship of these artists and bluegrass music worldwide. The winner is determined by a board consisting of J.D Crowe, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Alison Brown, Neil V. Rosenberg, Béla Fleck and Steve Martin.

The award is given to a person or group who has given the board a fresh appreciation of this music, either through artistry, composition, innovation or preservation, and is deserving of a wider audience. Recipients must be a professional or semi-professional and should currently be active in their careers.

The award is funded personally by the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation.

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