After Molly Tuttle’s impressive win at the 2017 International Bluegrass Music (IBMA) Awards as the first female IBMA guitarist, Becky Buller leads the field for the 2018 International Bluegrass Music Awards with eight nominations followed by Tuttle’s six. Close behind with five nominations each are Special Consensus, and The Del McCoury Band/The Travelin’ McCourys, with strong showings by Rhonda Vincent, The Earls of Leicester, Balsam Range, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Results of the balloting will be revealed at the International Bluegrass Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The IBMA Awards Show will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction) at 7:30 p.m. EDT, streamed via Facebook Live, and will be made available for rebroadcast by radio stations worldwide, thanks to the sponsorship of Chiesi USA, Virginia Tourism, Deering Banjos, Compass Records, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, BMI, and Boston Bluegrass Union, according to a press release.
Overall, this year’s balloting reflects how competitive the current field of performers is, with finalists in several categories voted in by a decidedly narrow margin. The competition extends to the next wave of major artists, with the category of Emerging Artist of the Year resulting in a tie, yielding six finalists. (All tallies represent the band and individual members, where it applies. A full list of nominations appears below.)
Buller is nominated for Song of the Year, Gospel Performance of the Year, Recorded Event of the Year (with three different nominations), Female Vocalist of the Year, and Fiddle Player of the Year, while an individual nomination goes to band member Ned Luberecki for Banjo Player of the Year. Becky is the first woman to win IBMA’s Fiddle Player of the Year, and the first to win both Female Vocalist and an Instrumentalist of the Year Award. 2017’s first-ever woman Guitar Player of the year, Molly Tuttle, is nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Recorded Event of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, and Guitar Player of the Year.
Further indication that women are receiving deserved support for their outstanding work in bluegrass can be found in the Banjo Player of the Year nominations, where for the first time two women are in the running for this award.
IBMA voters this year endorsed a broad spectrum of bluegrass styles, with a strong showing for traditional and contemporary bluegrass among the Entertainer of the Year contenders, while the boundary-pushing sounds of I’m With Her and the Punch Brothers earned these bands berths for Vocal Group of the Year and Instrumental Group of the Year, respectively, on the final ballot.
International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame members Doyle Lawson, Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, and the late John Hartford have all been nominated for this year’s awards. Other multiple nominees include Darin & Brooke Aldridge, The Sam Bush Band, Michael Cleveland, The Gibson Brothers, Sierra Hull, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lonesome River Band, Mile Twelve, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, Punch Brothers, Missy Raines, Sister Sadie, and Rhonda Vincent. (All tallies represent the band and individual members, where it applies. A full list of nominations appears below.)
“Congratulations to Ricky Skaggs, Paul Williams, and Tom T. & Dixie Hall. For the indelible impact each of them has made on bluegrass music, they are receiving our highest honor, induction into the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame,” says IBMA’s Executive Director Paul Schiminger. “Congratulations as well to the Distinguished Achievement Award recipients and all of the awards nominee finalists. From the established leaders in our music to those who are working tirelessly to become our future leaders, we celebrate your hard-earned achievements. You inspire all of us. I look forward to us continuing this celebration on Sept. 27th at the biggest night in our community, the International Bluegrass Music Awards!”
Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the IBMA, the professional nonprofit association for the bluegrass music industry.
The International Bluegrass Music Awards Show is the centerpiece of the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week, which is brought to you by Chiesi USA. Tickets for the 29th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show are available by logging onto worldofbluegrass.org or by calling 1-800-514-3849. IBMA Business Conference registration and hotel reservation info can also be found on this site.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Del McCoury Band
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
The Earls of Leicester
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
I’m With Her
INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
Sam Bush Band
The Travelin’ McCourys
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR (Tie)
The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Jeff Scroggins & Colorado
SONG OF THE YEAR
Calamity Jane – Becky Buller (artist), Becky Buller/Tim Stafford (writers)
If I’d Have Wrote That Song – Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers (artist), Larry Cordle/Larry Shell/James Silvers (writers)
Swept Away – Missy Raines (artist), Laurie Lewis (writer)
Way Down the River Road – Special Consensus (artist), John Hartford (writer)
You Didn’t Call My Name – Molly Tuttle (artist), Molly Tuttle (writer)
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Life Is a Story – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Doyle Lawson (producer), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
Mayhayley’s House – Lonesome River Band (artist), Lonesome River Band (producers), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
Rise – Molly Tuttle (artist), Kai Welch (producer), Compass Records (label)
Rivers & Roads – Special Consensus (artist), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
The Story We Tell – Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers (artist), Joe Mullins (producer), Rebel Records (label)
GOSPEL RECORDED PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
I’m Going Under – Darin & Brooke Aldridge (artist), Karen Taylor-Good/Bill Whyte (writers), single release, Mountain Home Music Company (label)
Little Girl – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Harley Lee Allen (writer), Life Is a Story (album), Doyle Lawson (producer), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
Speakin’ to That Mountain – Becky Buller (artist), Becky Buller/Jeff Hyde (writers), Crepe Paper Heart (album), Stephen Mougin (producer), Dark Shadow Recording (label)
Travelin’ Shoes – Special Consensus (artist), Traditional arranged by Special Consensus (writer), Rivers & Roads (album), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
When God’s in It – Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers (artist), Ronnie Bowman/Jerry Salley (writers), The Story We Tell (album), Joe Mullins (producer), Rebel Records (label)
INSTRUMENTAL RECORDED PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Lynchburg Chicken Run – The Grascals (artist), Danny Roberts/Adam Haynes (writers), Before Breakfast (album), The Grascals (producer), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
Medley: Sally in the Garden/Big Country/Molly Put the Kettle On – Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn (artists), Sally in the Garden and Molly Put the Kettle On – Traditional arranged by Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Big Country – Bela Fleck (writers), Echo in the Valley (album), Bela Fleck (producer), Rounder Records (label)
Sirens – Infamous Stringdusters (artist), Infamous Stringdusters (writers), Laws of Gravity (album), Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Hume (producers), Compass Records (label)
Squirrel Hunters – Special Consensus with John Hartford, Rachel Baiman & Christian Sedelmyer (10 String Symphony), & Alison Brown (artists), Traditional arranged by Alison Brown/Special Consensus (writers), Rivers & Roads (album), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
Wickwire – Mile Twelve (artist), Mile Twelve (writers), Onwards (album), Stephen Mougin (producer), Delores the Taurus Records (label)
RECORDED EVENT OF THE YEAR
Calamity Jane – Becky Buller with Rhonda Vincent (artists), Crepe Paper Heart (album), Stephen Mougin (producer), Dark Shadow Recording (label)
I’ll Just Go Away – Dale Ann Bradley & Vince Gill (artists), Dale Ann Bradley (album), Dale Ann Bradley (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)
The Rebel and the Rose – Becky Buller with Sam Bush (artists), Crepe Paper Heart (album), Stephen Mougin (producer), Dark Shadow Recording (label)
She Took the Tennessee River – Special Consensus with Bobby Osborne (artists), Rivers & Roads (album), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
Swept Away – Missy Raines with Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, and Molly Tuttle (artists), single release, Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Dale Ann Bradley
BANJO PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kristin Scott Benson
BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DOBRO PLAYER OF THE YEAR
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
MANDOLIN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2018 Inductees to International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame Announced: Ricky Skaggs; Paul Williams; and Tom T. and Dixie Hall
The IBMA is proud to announce these new inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame: Ricky Skaggs, Paul Williams, Tom T. and Dixie Hall. They will be inducted at the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, Thursday, September 27, 2018, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
This annual round of inductions is in addition to a special round of posthumous inductions announced earlier this year in celebration of the new Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky as part of its grand opening. A ceremony will be held at the new museum on Thursday, October 18, for the inductions of Vassar Clements, Mike Seeger, Allen Shelton, Jake Tullock, and Joe Val.
The honor of induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame goes to a small selection of outstanding figures in bluegrass in recognition of their exceptional contributions to bluegrass music.
An eastern Kentucky native, Ricky Skaggs was playing mandolin by the age of five, guesting at a young age on a live concert with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, and on Flatt & Scruggs’ television show. At 15, Ricky joined neighbor Keith Whitley in becoming members of Ralph Stanley’s band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. After a stint with The Country Gentlemen, he became an integral member of J.D. Crowe & The New South during their seminal period in the mid-1970s. In 1975, Skaggs was behind the creation of a short-lived band, Boone Creek, which produced two influential albums.
After two years in Emmylou Harris’ band (1978 – 1980), Skaggs recorded a classic, eponymous album of duets with Tony Rice before signing with Epic Records. With the release of Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine in 1981, Skaggs reached the top of the country charts and remained there throughout most of the 1980s, always including traditional bluegrass sounds in his music. Ricky received dozens of honors, including induction into the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1982, recognition as the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year in 1985, and election into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2018.
Returning to bluegrass in the mid-1990s with the critically acclaimed album, Bluegrass Rules!, Skaggs has had a significant impact recording sterling traditional bluegrass, and at the same time collaborating with artists from a variety of genres. He also manages his own successful recording studio, label, publishing, and artist management ventures. Skaggs has been honored with thirteen IBMA Awards and is the recipient of fourteen Grammys, including five for Bluegrass Album of the Year: Bluegrass Rules (1999), Ancient Tones (2000), Brand New Strings (2005), Instrumentals (2007), and Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947 (2009). Skaggs’ unmistakable bluegrass stylings in his lead vocals and harmonies, his skill as a multi-instrumentalist and his genius as a producer and mentor have made him one of the most recognized and influential ambassadors for the bluegrass music world.
Paul Williams’ legacy to bluegrass includes the composition of a large body of its best songs, and his memorable recorded and live performances. Born in 1935 in Virginia, his professional work began in earnest in 1952-1953 with The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, recording 14 sides for RCA Victor, including six of his own compositions, all of which would become standards. In 1957, Williams joined Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, where the vocal trio consisted of Martin, Williams and J.D. Crowe. The group was a member of The Louisiana Hayride on KWKH, and later the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia. Paul Williams is credited with composing 28 of Jimmy Martin’s Decca recordings, including “Pretending I Don’t Care,” “Mr. Engineer,” “Prayer Bells of Heaven,” “Stepping Stones” “Leavin’ Town,” “Stormy Waters” and “My Walking Shoes.”
During his tenure in Martin’s band, Williams recorded 58 titles. He left full-time music in 1962, working various jobs for the next few decades. In 1995, he returned to the stage with Paul Williams & The Victory Trio, an all-gospel bluegrass group, and has recorded more than a half-dozen albums for Rebel Records. Several of these received Grammy nominations, and feature the splendid high lead/tenor voice and punchy, vigorous mandolin that is the signature style of Paul Williams, reprising the classic sounds of the `50s and ‘60s in which he played a prominent role. Since retiring as a bandleader, Williams continues to record and occasionally perform with Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe, and others.
TOM T. & DIXIE HALL
Tom T. Hall, from Olive Hill, Kentucky, was born May 25, 1936. Early in his career, he played bass for the Kentucky bluegrass bands The Kentucky Travelers and The Bluegrass Playboys, and worked as a DJ in West Virginia. Signing onto Mercury Records in 1967, Hall would become a major country artist. A giant among the genre’s songwriters, Hall wrote poignant and literate songs for himself and other artists, including “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” a number-one hit on pop and country charts for Jeannie C. Riley in 1968. Nicknamed “The Storyteller” by legendary film and country music star Tex Ritter, Hall was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978, and to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
He met his future wife and fellow songwriter, “Dixie” at a BMI awards banquet in the mid-sixties. Iris “Dixie” Hall was a native of Sutton Coldfield, in England’s West Midlands. Through a chance meeting with Tex Ritter, she was hired to work promotion and publicity for Starday Records. A close friendship she developed with Maybelle Carter soon after moving to the United States fostered Dixie Hall’s love for folk and bluegrass music. Tom T. and Dixie Hall began collaborating in earnest as songwriters in 1999, writing hit songs for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Lewis Family, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, Big Country Bluegrass, Dave Evans, Larry Stephenson, Chris Jones, Paul Williams, Don Rigsby, James King, Larry Sparks, Alecia Nugent, Longview, Josh Williams, Charlie Sizemore, Ralph Stanley II, and many more.
Prior to Dixie’s death in 2015, Dixie and Tom T. were tireless supporters of bluegrass, and prolific writers of songs for the genre’s artists. Dixie and Tom T. Hall were honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA in 2004 for their “songwriting contributions and support of bluegrass artists through Good Home Grown Music, Blue Circle Records and their recording studio at Fox Hollow in Franklin, Tennessee, and numerous promotional efforts in the bluegrass industry community.”
About the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame & IBMA
Founded in 1991, the IBMA’s International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame, housed in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, KY, is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. Each year a nominating committee, consisting of music industry leaders, creates a slate of 10-15 candidates for each of two categories. From these names, a panel of more than 200 electors in the music industry cast ballots to narrow the nominees to five finalists. The panel votes a final time to select the inductee(s) for that year. In the past, two inductees have been honored each year. Beginning in 2017, three inductees are elected – two inductees in the “Open” category and one in the “Early Contribution” category.
Members of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame:
Bill Monroe (1991)
Earl Scruggs (1991)
Lester Flatt (1991)
The Stanley Brothers (1992)
Don Reno & Arthur Lee (Red) Smiley (1992)
Mac Wiseman (1993)
Jim & Jesse McReynolds (1993)
Bobby & Sonny Osborne (1994)
Jimmy Martin (1995)
Peter V. Kuykendall (1996)
The Country Gentlemen (1996)
Josh Graves (1997)
Chubby Wise (1998)
Carlton Haney (1998)
Kenny Baker (1999)
Lance LeRoy (2000)
Doc Watson (2000)
The Carter Family (2001)
The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover (2002)
David Freeman (2002)
J.D. Crowe (2003)
Curly Seckler (2004)
Bill Vernon (2004)
Red Allen (2005)
Benny Martin (2005)
The Lewis Family (2006)
Syd Nathan (2006)
Howard Watts “Cedric Rainwater” (2007)
Carl Story (2007)
Charles K. Wolfe (2008)
Bill Clifton (2008)
The Dillards (2009)
The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (2009)
John Hartford (2010)
Louise Scruggs (2010)
Del McCoury (2011)
George Shuffler (2011)
Doyle Lawson (2012)
Ralph Rinzler (2012)
Tony Rice (2013)
Paul Warren (2013)
The Original Seldom Scene (2014)
Neil Rosenberg (2014)
Larry Sparks (2015)
Bill Keith (2015)
Clarence White (2016)
Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy, and Bill Nowlin (2016)
Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard (2017)
Bobby Hicks (2017)
Roland White (2017)
Vassar Clements (2018)
Mike Seeger (2018)
Allen Shelton (2018)
Joe Val (2018)
Tom T. and Dixie Hall (2018)
Ricky Skaggs (2018)
Paul Williams (2018)
IBMA Announces Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients
Each year, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) recognizes up to five individuals for their significant contributions to bluegrass music with its highest honor outside of induction into the Hall of Fame–the Distinguished Achievement Award. This year’s recipients of IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards include:
In recognition of his pre-eminent role as an authority on stringed instruments, his development of a systematic approach to bluegrass instrument appraisal, and his particular talent for matching world-class instruments and musicians, among his many accomplishments.
In recognition of his success in founding, running and expanding the La Roche Bluegrass Festival, the single most successful bluegrass festival in Europe, and his leadership in the France Bluegrass Music Association, all on a voluntary basis, among his many accomplishments.
In recognition of his lifetime contributions to bluegrass as one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, a stand-in for Earl Scruggs at Flatt & Scruggs shows, as a member of the Opry’s staff band, and as a Nashville session player, among his many accomplishments.
In recognition of his unstinting contributions to the historical record of bluegrass music and the fostering of its appreciation through his 394 consecutive “Notes & Queries” columns to date in Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, among his many accomplishments.
In recognition of his many contributions to the music through his virtuosic work with Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers, his hosting of Prairie Home Companion/Live From Here, and his remarkable talent for bringing bluegrass music to wider audiences through genre-bending collaborations.
The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented at a Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday, September 27, during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week. Those who would like to attend must purchase a business conference pass for Thursday by logging onto worldofbluegrass.org. IBMA Business Conference registration and hotel reservation info can also be found on the site.
About World of Bluegrass
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, brought to you by Chiesi USA, is a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming, encompassing four events: the IBMA Business Conference, September 25-27; the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases taking place September 25-27 in downtown Raleigh; the 29th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 27; and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, September 28-29, a two-day festival. The ticketed Wide Open Main Stage features the best of the best in bluegrass today, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a charitable fund that helps bluegrass professionals in dire need. The free Wide Open StreetFest brings bluegrass into the community and introduces the music to thousands of new fans every year.
As in years past, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $11.5 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be a record-breaking 220,000 people. Over 220 acts performed throughout the entire week of World of Bluegrass.
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional nonprofit organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s nine-year run in Raleigh is the product of their successful partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.