How surprised was Blue Door Records co-owner Greg Johnson when he got word that his Oklahoma-based artist John Fullbright had been nominated for a Grammy Award for Americana album, alongside roots-music heavyweights Mumford & Sons, Bonnie Raitt, the Avett Brothers and the fast-rising Lumineers?
“I don’t know how any of this Grammy stuff works,” Johnson said Thursday from his office in the Oklahoma City folk club he’s been running for 20 years, the Blue Door, from which the label gets its name. “Even though John and I own the record label, I didn’t do any of the paperwork to submit anything. That’s why we got Thirty Tigers to put it out for us. I didn’t know where that process was at all.”
Fullbright’s album, “From the Ground Up,” has been reviewed enthusiastically, but the 24-year-old singer and songwriter from Woody Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Okla., is still flying largely under the radar.
How far under the radar? He may be the only Grammy-nominated musician who’s playing a free show in a college bar this weekend, although he was tapped to be part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s recent concert tribute to Chuck Berry in Cleveland.