The Rex Foundation awarded Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen the 2009 Ralph J. Gleason Award

The award will go toward a scholarship program at the Fur Peace Ranch to serve Appalachian youth. The $10,000 award is in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960s, whose openness to new music and ideas transcended differences between generations and styles.

Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Ralph J. Gleason

Founding Rex board member Jerry Garcia and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen were peers in the Haight-Ashbury days of 1960s San Francisco. Their respective bands, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, exemplified the San Francisco Sound. Both musicians were pickers–that is, they loved to play. Jerry and Jorma both taught guitar; Jerry gave lessons at Dana Morgan’s Music Store in Menlo Park near Palo Alto south of San Francisco, while Jorma continues to teach at the 116 acre Fur Peace Ranch, which he and his wife Vanessa created in 1997 in Miegs County in southeast Ohio.

As Jorma would say, “Fur Peace Ranch is a ranch that grows guitar players.” Concerts and workshops are held throughout the summers with instructors who are also world class musicians. Fur Peace Ranch accommodates budding musicians of all skill levels.

The Rex Foundation gratefully acknowledges the contribution Jorma has made to a vast community of music lovers, musicians and underserved youth who will continue to be nurtured with this award.

Previous Ralph J. Gleason award winners include:

Bill Monroe
Pete Seeger
Ralph Stanley
Sun Ra
Ornette Coleman