By Katherine Cole
Today, legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie is probably the most famous export from Okemah, Oklahoma. But don’t be surprised if one day soon 24-year-old Grammy nominee John Fullbright’s name is also synonymous with that city.
It’s rare that an artist receives a Grammy nomination for their first release—but what about an artist who isn’t on a major label? Even rarer. And a self funded project? Rarer still. But that’s just what’s happened to John Fullbright. His Kickstarter funded first studio release, “From The Ground Up,” is up for the Best Americana Album Grammy.
When the 55th Annual Grammy Awards are handed out in Los Angeles on February 10th, Fullbright will be facing some tough competition. His project has been nominated alongside longtime star Bonnie Raitt’s “Slipstream, The Avett Brothers “The Carpenter, ” Mumford & Sons ” Babel and the self titled debut from The Lumineers, also nominated for the Best New Artist award.
John Fullbright grew up in a house full of music. In a recent interview, he told me that his parents had a diverse record collection and he listened to all kinds of music as a child. John started playing the piano at the age of five or six and later added the guitar. On this record, he plays much of the guitar and organ parts and all of the harmonica and piano.
One of the standout tracks on “From The Ground Up” is “Gawd Above.” John says he wrote this one looking at the world through God’s eyes. It’s full of wit and power.
John Fullbright is not a household name (YET!), but don’t take that to mean that he’s unknown. “From The Ground Up” was near the top of many critics 2012 Top Ten Album of the Year lists. A busy touring schedule keeps John on the road through across the US and Europe, playing in a mix of small clubs and huge arenas. I have a feeling the days that we’ll be seeing John Fullbright in a small pub are nearing an end, so grab the opportunity if you can! And if you can’t…there are lots of great videos available on his site and elsewhere.