Rounder Records

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There are several ways to take the measure of a music career as it advances and grows. From the artists' point of view few things matter more than the hard-won amenities of the road. A few years ago, Caroline Spence released the true-story song "Hotel Amarillo" in which she's traveling solo, doing 500 miles in a day, eking out enough scratch to end a tough day with a room and a bottle of wine.

She sings a music biz double entendre: "I've been playing shows out west with no guarantee/ That anybody's ever gonna give a damn about me."

Last November, Concord Music, the world’s largest independent music company, announced that musician turned attorney John Strohm would be the new president of Rounder Records and its associated Sugar Hill Records. For roots music fans and artists, this is a big deal because each label has a distinguished and influential history.