Bill Grant and Delia Bell are a bluegrass music duo from Oklahoma. Emmylou Harris has said of Delia Bell: “If Hank Williams and Kitty Wells had married and had a daughter, she would have sounded like Delia Bell.” Grant has been recognized as “Ambassador of Bluegrass Music” by three Oklahoma
Delia Bell was born Delia Nowell on 16 April 16, 1938 in Bonham, Texas. Bell moved to Hugo as a child. She started playing music with her sisters and brother as a child, and began singing in her teens. She married Bobby Bell in 1959.
Bill Grant was born Billy Joe Grant on May 9, 1930, a Choctaw tribal member, and grew up on a ranch near Hugo, Oklahoma. Inspired by the music of Bill Monroe, he took up mandolin.
In 1959, Bell began singing with Bobby’s friend Bill Grant. Bell accompanied herself on guitar, and Bill Grant played mandolin, and Bell sang tenor to Grant’s lead. In 1960, Bell and Grant were regulars on the Little Dixie Hayride radio show on KIHN radio.
When Bill Monroe heard them perform, he invited them to perform at his festivals in Bean Blossom, Indiana. This introduced the duo to a wider audience.
In the late 1960s, Grant and Bell formed the Kiamichi Mountain Boys (also known as the Bonham Brothers), named after the Kiamichi Mountains near their home.
They recorded more than a dozen albums for their own label Kiamichi Records as well as albums on County Records, Rebel Records, Rounder Records, and Warner Brothers. They toured England and Ireland 11 times during the 1970s.
The Kiamichi Mountain Boys were disbanded in 1980. After that, Grant and Bell worked either worked with the Johnson Mountain Boys or as a mandolin/guitar duo.
Emmylou Harris picked up Bell’s solo album Bluer Than Midnight at a California record shop. Impressed by Bell’s version of Ruth Franks’ song “Roses In The Snow,” Harris recorded it as the title track of her 1980 bluegrass album. In 1982, Harris produced Bell’s self-titled solo album on Warner Bros. Records. One of the songs, “Flame in My Heart,” was a duet with John Anderson. The album reached #35 on the Billboard charts, but Warner Bros. dropped her and others artists from their roster.
During the 1980s, Bell and Grant recorded three albums for Rounder featuring accompaniment and harmonies by members of the Johnson Mountain Boys and Del McCoury. The 1989 album Dreaming collected songs from their Rounder albums.
Bell and Grant continued to perform as a duo until 2006 when their partnership ended. Grant was diagnosed with a brain tumor which was successfully removed, and he recovered succeefully. In 2007, Grant would began singing on a limited basis with his stepdaughter Amy Patrick.
In 2006, Grant received the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement award.
Grant and Bell have each been recognized as a Pioneer of Bluegrass Music by the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Grant was also inducted in to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
From 1969 until 2003, Grant hosted Grant’s Bluegrass Festival on a 360-acre cattle ranch near Hugo. He named the festival site “Salt Creek Park.”
In 1987, Bell and Grant also launched a March Early Bird Bluegrass Show, which was staged annually for almost 20 years (by wikipedia)
And here´s a fine example of their music. Great Bluesgrass and Country Music … full with a lot of sentimental tunes, including a Sundown In Nashville …
Delia Bell (guitar, vocals)
Karl Benson (bass)
Bill Grant (vocals, mandolin)
Dave Nutt (guitar, steel-guitar)
Bob Pearce (drums, percussion)
Dave Sheriff (piano, harmonica, guitar)
Drew Taylor (fiddle.mandolin)
01. I Know You’re Married 2.28
02. Blue Kentucky Girl 2.38
03. Good Hearted Woman 3.44
04. Troubles 3.03
05. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke 2.33
06. You Win Again 2.22
07. Best Female Actress 2.21
08. When My Time Comes To Go 1.46
09. Crazy Arms 2.24
10. Nothing Can Blow Out The Flame 2.26
11. Stranger In My Home 2.26
12. Don’t Worry 3.17
13. Come Walk With Me 2.34
14. Sundown In Nashville 2.32
15. We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds 2.10
16. I Know The Time Is Near For Me 2.35