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Cheat Sheet: Lost Highway Turns 10

by Linda Ryan

Cheat Sheet: Lost Highway Turns 10


Ten years ago, Luke Lewis, chairman of Universal Nashville, made his dream of a nurturing, singer-songwriter-oriented label into reality with the launch of Lost Highway. The aim was to create a label that, as he says, "might be a haven for artists that make enduring music not driven by hits on the radio," and Lost Highway put that dream to the test with their first release, the soundtrack to the quirky movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Five Grammy Awards and 7 million sales later, Lost Highway was up and running in the fast lane. Since then, the label has released gems from pioneers such as Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello and Johnny Cash as well as groundbreakers including Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks. Not to put too much emphasis on the numbers, but since its inception, the label has released 80 albums, sold 18 million units, and earned 53 Grammy nominations resulting in 15 wins.

With its emphasis on quality songwriting (as opposed to radio hits), Lost Highway has emerged as a true testament to artist development in an era when artist development has gone the way of the cassette. The label will celebrate its rich contribution to music by releasing 20 titles from its diverse catalog in limited-edition clear vinyl throughout 2011. And you thought Johnny Cash's American VI: Ain't No Grave couldn't get any cooler.