Sometimes a woman has to push the door open and force people to take notice so she can prove herself as capable in a chosen profession as any man. Three decades ago the world of bluegrass bands, especially bandleaders, was firmly dominated by the male gender. There are a few women who opened the path for others to follow, and Lynn Morris was, and still is, one of those talented, determined trailblazers. Singer, bandleader, and musician, Morris grew up in the little rural town of Lamesa, TX. She wasn't into bluegrass at first, but she loved music, and early on became a guitar player. In college she found bluegrass music — or maybe it found her. Soon the guitar was sold, and the money was put to good use, the purchase of a banjo. Morris finished college, graduating with an art degree, then turned her full attention to a professionally music career. Her first steady gigs came as a member of the bluegrass band City Limits. Later she joined other groups, like Whetstone Run. It was amazingly hard for her to find spots in many bands, since most were all-male, and wanted to stay that way.
Morris began to break new ground for women bluegrass artists, in 1974, when she walked away as the winner in the National Banjo Championship that year. She was the first female to ever win. She was also the International Bluegrass Music Association's first female member on the board of directors, a position she retained for six years. In 1988 Morris took fate into her hands, and put together her own bluegrass band, the Lynn Morris Band. One of the first members was a gifted bassist, her husband, Marshall Wilborn. Additional members are mandolin player Jess Brock and banjo player and fiddler Ron Stewart. Other artists have served as part of the group, too, like David McLaughlin with his guitar and mandolin, banjo player Tom Adams, and fiddler Stuart Duncan. In 1990 Morris released a debut album, titled The Lynn Morris Band. It was recorded under the Rounder Records label, and received rave reviews from bluegrass music critics. During the '90s a number of other astounding albums followed, like The Bramble and the Rose, the chart-topping Mama's Hand, and You'll Never Be the Sun. Some of the enjoyable tracks bluegrass fans can sample on these albums are "No One Has to Tell Me," "Freight Train Blues," "Valley of Peace," "Kisses Don't Lie," "You'll Get No More of Me," "Heartstrings," and "Blue Skies and Teardrops."
Over the years Morris has toured across the United States and overseas. She has appeared at festivals, clubs, in U.S.O. shows for service men, the Grand Ole Opry, and even at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Her music and skills have earned her many top awards, including IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, IBMA Song of the Year, SPBGMA Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year, and other honors, some more than once. In 2001, with something like 30 hard-earned years in the business, Lynn Morris and her music are still going strong.