As a child in Stuttgart, Germany, during World War II, CMH founder Martin Haerle heard American country music on Armed Forces Radio and was hooked. At the age of 20, he moved to Nashville and landed a job at Starday Records, where he learned the record business from the mailroom up. He eventually became vice president of the legendary label during its early ‘60s heyday.
In 1975, Haerle formed CMH Records in Los Angeles, California, with Arthur Smith, the renowned guitarist whose “Guitar Boogie” was the first million-selling country instrumental and who wrote “Dueling Banjos,” the Bluegrass standard made famous by the movie “Deliverance.” Smith and Haerle set about signing the greatest names in Bluegrass and established a roster unparalleled in the field. Lester Flatt, The Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Mac Wiseman, Merle Travis, Grandpa Jones, Carl Story, Don Reno, The Bluegrass Cardinals, The Stonemans and many others recorded some of their finest work for CMH during the ‘70s and ‘80s. The label accumulated a rich catalog of classic American roots music, garnering numerous awards and Grammy nominations along the way.
When Martin Haerle passed away in 1990, his son David became president and initiated CMH’s popular “Pickin’ On” series, which offers instrumental tributes to artists from The Beatles to The Grateful Dead to U2, to the delight of traditional bluegrass fans and new listeners alike.
CMH Records remains dedicated to presenting the finest in Bluegrass and roots music, through re-issues of classic material by the greats and stellar recordings from new voices.