CMH Records

CMH Records is a Los Angeles-based, independent country and bluegrass label with several subsidiary labels, including Vitamin Records, Crosscheck, Dwell, and Rockabye Baby!. The label release diverse styles of music including string quartet tributes, punk, metal, and lullabies.

CMH Records
Founded1975 (1975)
FounderMartin Haerle
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith
GenreCountry, bluegrass
Country of originUnited States
LocationLos Angeles, California


CMH co-founder Martin Haerle grew up in Stuttgart, Germany during World War II, where he heard American country music on Armed Forces Radio. At the age of 20 he moved to Nashville to work in the mailroom at Starday Records, where he learned the record business from legendary label president and A&R man Don Pierce. Haerle was promoted to vice president by the early 1960s, and later worked in country radio. In 1968, he became general manager of United Artists Records' manufacturing division.

In 1975, Haerle formed CMH in Los Angeles with Arthur Smith, the renowned guitarist who wrote both the million-selling "Guitar Boogie" and "Dueling Banjos," the bluegrass standard made famous by the movie Deliverance. By the mid 1970s, major country labels including RCA and MCA had dropped all of their bluegrass acts, with the notable exception of Bill Monroe. CMH was one of a small number of independent labels that cropped up to fill the void.[1]

Haerle and Smith signed many major first-generation bluegrass artists, some contemporary bluegrass groups, and several important country artists. Writes Jonny Whiteside in LA Weekly, "They churned a slow but steady series of albums by out-of-fashion geniuses, like Merle Travis, Joe and Rose Lee Maphis and Grandpa Jones, carving out a corner of the market for marginalized and ignored country stars (much the way his mentor Pierce did at Starday Records in the 1960s)."[2]

Between 1975 and 1988, CMH released albums by Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass,[3] The Osborne Brothers,[4] Jim & Jesse, Mac Wiseman, Carl Story, The Stonemans, Josh Graves, Don Reno, Benny Martin, The Bluegrass Cardinals, IInd Generation featuring Eddie Adcock,[5] Grandpa Jones, Merle Travis, Joe Maphis, Johnny Gimble, Carl & Pearl Butler, and the only studio album by legendary songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

When Martin Haerle died in 1990, his son David Haerle stepped in to run the label,[6] and created the Pickin' On series, which consists of bluegrass tributes to rock, pop and country artists including Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Led Zeppelin, and The Offspring. The first title in the series was Pickin' on The Beatles (1994),[citation needed] but it wasn't until three years later that the concept took off with the success of Pickin' on The Grateful Dead.[7]

Labels under the CMH umbrella include Vitamin Records, Rockabye Baby!, Dwell[citation needed], Crosscheck[citation needed], Scufflin'[citation needed], PanAm[citation needed], Urabon[citation needed], Rockwell[citation needed], OCD International[citation needed], School of Rock[citation needed], and Open Mike[citation needed].

Partial discographyEdit

  • Lost Songs: Songs the Beatles Gave Away (2007)
  • Strummin' With The Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen - A Tribute Featuring David Lee Roth (2006)
  • The Nashville Acoustic Sessions, Raul Malo, Pat Flynn, Rob Ickes, Dave Pomeroy (2004)
  • Heart Trouble, Wanda Jackson (2003)
  • Fade to Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica (2003)
  • Corporate Love Breakdown: The Bluegrass Tribute to Radiohead


CMH Records

OCD International

Dwell Records

Crosscheck Records

Scufflin' Records

Secret Life of Records

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Neil V. Rosenberg, Bluegrass: A History (University of Illinois Press), p.353
  2. ^ "LA Weekly - Music - Silver Lake's CMH Label Strikes Gold With Two Oddball Ideas - Jonny Whiteside - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles". Archived from the original on 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  3. ^ LP Discography
  4. ^ : Osborne Brothers : Biography
  5. ^ : Eddie Adcock : Biography
  6. ^ "Vintage Guitar Article". Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  7. ^ Coldplay, Korn Strung Out In Tribute Series - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

External linksEdit