Alice Gerrard is one of the most important old-time and bluegrass musicians performing today. She is a prolific songwriter and a keeper of traditional tunes in her adopted home in the Piedmont of North Carolina. She learned her craft directly from friends and mentors that include Elizabeth Cotten, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Luther Davis and Doc Boggs.
Alice began her performing career in the 1960s as one half of the duo Hazel and Alice. She and Hazel Dickens were hugely influential and broke new ground for women in bluegrass and old time music. Country singer Naomi Judd once said of the duo, “The Judds owe Hazel and Alice a sincere thank you not only for showing us how to take our first musical step, but for helping preserve old-time music.”
Hazel and Alice were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in a 2017 ceremony at the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards Show in Raleigh. Smithsonian/Folkways wrote that the duo “…leave a long legacy of fearless expression that broke down the barriers of the good ol’ boy network in the bluegrass community they helped redefine.”
“Alice is inspiring as hell, one of those people who made the world a better place so those who came up behind her didn’t have to fight so hard,” said Rhiannon Giddens to the NY Times in a 2022 profile of Alice. “She makes me want to keep telling the stories I tell and live the way I want to live.”
Alice has recorded as a solo artist, with Mike Seeger, The Harmony Sisters, Strange Creek Singers and Tom, Brad and Alice. She received a Grammy nomination in 2015 for her record “Follow the Music,” produced by Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger. In 2022 Rhiannon Giddens used Alice’s song “They’re Calling Me Home” as the title track for her new album.
Alice has performed for PineCone audiences at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, with her friend Joe Newberry in the Down Home Series and at the NC Museum of History as a part of the Music of the Carolina’s Series.
Alice is the founding editor of the Old Time Herald Magazine. She lives in Durham with her dog Polly. Over the pandemic she taught Polly taught to fetch beer from the refrigerator. Alice told the NY Times she’s currently working on a new album and a memoir.