Tim Lake's skills as a composer, songwriter, and recording artist have brought him numerous awards and abundant recognition during a career that has spanned more than two decades. His recordings for LSR Records and Padraig Records, his own label, overwhelmingly consist of original material, with the addition of a few classics that have withstood the test of time. The Standard Awards Panel overseen by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) gave a nod to Lake's compositional skills for six straight years beginning in 1994. The Popular Awards Panel, also overseen by ASCAP, acknowledged him in 2000 and 2001. In addition, "An American Concerto for Five-String Banjo and Orchestra," which Lake wrote while working toward a music doctorate at the University of Kentucky, won the Kentucky Al Smith Fellowship for Music Composition in 1995. Lake earned his doctorate in 1991. Two years later, he performed the award-winning concerto in Georgia with the aid of the Atlanta-Emory Orchestra.
Among Lake's numerous other honors is an honorable mention in the Recording Artist Search conducted in 1982 by Columbia Records, and recognition from the Music City Song Festival two years later. By 1989, he scored in the Great Smokies Songchase, winning a scholarship from ASCAP. In 1992, he received a listing in the publication Who's Who Among Rising Young Americans. A grant from the Kentucky Arts Council followed in 1997.
Lake, a native New Yorker, grew up in Lexington, KY. He earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1983 from the University of Kentucky, and four years later earned a bachelor's degree in history. By 1988, he'd earned a master's in music composition, also from the University of Kentucky. He has supported himself as a musician, playing both guitar and banjo, since 1973. He also worked as a music instructor. Beginning in 1984, he worked at his alma mater as an instructor of music theory, Appalachian music history, and the banjo and guitar, a position he held until 1992. Lake established Padraig Publishing and Padraig Records the following year. He has written a handful of method books for guitar and banjo, as well as numerous articles for Acoustic Musician.
Leading a group called the Little Big Band, Lake has graced stages in the U.S. and overseas. His performances include Ecuador's Festival of the Fruits and Flowers, Japan's Le Mani Theater and Bay Side Pocket Theater, Austria's Begegnung Festival, and Norway's Telemark Festival. He has performed with a long list of musical artists, among them Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, John Prine, the Cox Family, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Alison Krauss, John Hartford, Vasser Clements, Grupo Criolle de Venezuela, Red Clay Ramblers, Bela Fleck, John D. Loudermilk, Si Kahn, and Maura O'Connell. His music was featured in Made and Bottled in Kentucky, a documentary that appeared on PBS in 1992. PBS also used Lake's original compositions in the documentary El Toro en la Selva.