Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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More of what’s going around:

Asheville musicians this week reveled in the first Grammy Award win for kid-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Skidoo, also known as “Cactus” (his real name is Joel Sullivan), won in the Best Children’s Album for his 2016 release, Infinity Plus One. Skidoo was nominated in the same category in 2015 for The Perfect Quirk.

In his acceptance speech, Skidoo notes the influence of Asheville musicians on his career. He thanks the band GFE “for raising me,” a reference to the rap-and-funk crew Granola Funk Express. The band is one of Asheville’s most enduring, as explained in this 2000 Mountain Xpress story.

In a recent profile at AshevilleGrit, another founding member of GFE, Josh Blake, talks more about that band:

The Granola Funk Express was “a free kitchen… that set up at Rainbow Gatherings and acted as a magnet, drawing people from all over the country to cooperatively cook and serve free food… Some members of GFE, [the kitchen,] traveled the country, doing improvisational street performances in the form of short plays spliced with freestyle rap and beatbox sessions” in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Skidoo thanked the Asheville music scene for “being endlessly unique” and most especially Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, who Skidoo said played most of the music on his winning album. In addition, Skidoo dedicated his win to his daughter, Saki, thanked his wife and fellow musician Brooke Sullivan, as well as Echo Mountain Recording Studio. My buddy Stu Helm, a graphic artist who worked on the layout of the art on Infinity Plus One, noted Skidoo’s singular effort to make kid music that adults would find fun listening, too.

Alli Marshall of The Mountain Xpress notes that Marley Carroll, Ryan Barber, Debrissa McKinney, members of stephaniesid, Zansa, Sirius B, The Fritz, The Secret B-Sides and more also contributed to the album.

As Marshall went on to say in a Facebook post, the win was shared across the Asheville music scene. It seemed to validate all the hard work of local musicians over the years.

I’m just so thrilled for Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and Debrissa McKinney and Ryan Rnb Barber and everyone else who shares the Grammy for “Infinity Plus One.” This is an incredible album and it gives me hope that there’s a place in the world for authentic art and true creative vision

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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