Litchfield Native Grammy Nominated for Her Take on Dolly Parton Song
She grew up in Litchfield County and got her start on the main stage of the Litchfield County Jazz Festival in 2008. Now, Nicole Zuraitis has been nominated for a Grammy Award for her version of a classic Dolly Parton Song.
Ten years ago, Nicole met Dan Pugach at the Litchfield Jazz Camp and since then, they have been collaborating and performing together. Their musical connection eventually turned into a love connection and the couple started dating in 2010. Last year, they took that collaboration to the next level and got married.
Aside from the marriage, Zuraitis became a member of the Recording Academy last year, and was finally eligible to submit a nomination of her work for consideration for a Grammy Award. Both she and husband Dan decided to submit their interpretation of the classic Dolly Parton song "Jolene,"' one of over 500 songs that were competing in the category of Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.
Out of all the submissions, their version of "Jolene" was one of the songs selected to be nominated. Here's what she told the Litchfield Times when she got word that she was now a Grammy Nominee:
We were amazed when we learned that we had made it. We have no idea who voted for us, but we are very grateful and hope that the love will continue! We have Dolly Parton to thank for writing “Jolene” and releasing it in 1973.
Nicole also explained that the song and both she and her hubby have a history:
A friend of mine introduced me to it and I immediately went home and started playing it. I would play it solo until I met Dan. Then he would play percussion and I would play my arrangement. About three years ago Dan was playing at the Waterbury Palace. We were not yet engaged, but he knew that my mother had grown to love “Jolene” and he surprised me by playing his arrangement of my arrangement. He really made it come alive with his take on it. So the song has a lot of personal meaning for us.
You can find out if she and her husband will capture that Grammy Award when the ceremony airs on February 10th from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
This July, Nicole is returning to her roots and her hometown and will be performing at the Litchfield Community Center’s annual Summerfest. In the meantime, check out the her Grammy nominated version of "Jolene":