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Rounder Records

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Alison Krauss has been one of Rounder Records' most successful artists for more than 20 years

Alison Krauss has been one of Rounder Records' most successful artists for more than 20 years

photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

Basic Information:

Rounder Records is an independent folk and roots music record label founded in Cambridge, Mass., in 1970 by college students Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton-Levy. It includes a number of subsidiary labels and has housed an extensive distribution and sales service. Though the label cut back on those services in the 1990s, it's still one of the largest independent labels in North America.

Rounder Records Artists:

Rounder's artist roster reads like a who's who of contemporary and traditional folk and roots music, and has included Alison Krauss, Darol Anger, Norman Blake, Buckwheat Zydeco, Bruce Cockburn, the Cowboy Junkies, Delta Spirit, Bela Fleck, Nanci Griffith, King Wilkie, Mike Marshall, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Alecia Nugent, Madeleine Peyroux, Sierra Hull, They Might Be Giants, Uncle Earl, Rhonda Vincent, Doc Watson, the SteelDrivers, and numerous others.

Rounder Records Group Subsidiaries:

Imprints on the Rounder Records Group include Zoe Records, Vestapol, Varrick, Philo, Moon Junction, Easydisc, Heavy Rotation Records, Flying Fish, and others.

Recommended CDs from Rounder Records:

The Alan Lomax Collection (Rounder Select, 1997) Compare Prices

Alison Krauss - A Hundred Miles or More (Rounder 2007) Compare Prices

Doc & Merle Watson - Doc & Merle Watson's Guitar Album (Flying Fish, 1983) Compare Prices

Delta Spirit - Ode to Sunshine (Rounder, 2008) Compare Prices

Books About Rounder Records:

About Rounder Books:

In addition to selling, promoting and distributing folk and roots music recordings, Rounder has published several books on a number of topics, from baseball to gambling and the complete discography of albums by Bob Marley and the Wailers. More information about Rounder Books is available at their Web site.

Rounder Records History:

Rounder Records was founded in 1970 by three college students in Cambridge, Mass., who had long been devoted fans of folk, bluegrass, and roots music. After years frequenting fiddle camps and festivals across the south, Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin and Marian Leighton-Levy. They named their fledgling label Rounder because of its numerous meanings. According to the label's bio on their Web site, Leighton-Levy says, "this was the right name, for all that 'rounder' represented folklorically (hobos, travelers) and the [folk music iconoclasts] Holy Modal Rounders, and record shapes..on and on...round and round."

A year after making the decision to start the label, the trio released the label's inaugural recording—an album by banjo picker George Pegram. Soon after came releases from folks like Norman Blake, J.D. Crowe and the New South, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and other artists who have become hugely influential in their fields.

To top it off, in 1987, Rounder signed a teenage fiddle prodigy named Alison Krauss. Now, more than 20 years later, Krauss—the Grammy winning-est woman in the music industry—continues to record on the Rounder label and is one of their most successful artists.

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