While at Ohio State, Larry Nager founded the Red Mountain String Band, in which he played washboard, guitar, mandolin, and bass. Later, he moved to the southwestern Ohio area where he became a professional musician playing bass for the Katie Laur Band, Red Allen and the Kentuckians, and the Allen-Lilly Band. He became nationally known as a music critic, covering all types of music for the Cincinnati Post for eight years, the Memphis Commercial Appeal for four years, and the Cincinnati Enquirer for eight years. He created and produced the Cammy Awards Show, which annually honors Cincinnati musicians in all fields of music, including bluegrass. He wrote the documentary film Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass Music and authored the book Memphis Beat, which chronicles the rich history of all types of music in Memphis. He and William Lee Ellis, son of Ohio Heritage Fellow Tony Ellis, perform in an acoustic duo which combines Delta blues, jug band music, and rockabilly in a mixture some call “Deltabilly.”

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