Award-winning banjoist Kristin Scott Benson of The Grascals has won yet another award and this one comes with $50,000 and a piece of original artwork by Eric Fischl!
Benson is the 2018 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Mountain Home Music Company announced on Monday, Sept. 24, which coincided with the kick off of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual Business Conference and World of Bluegrass event in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
The prize, created in 2010 by the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation, brings recognition to outstanding accomplishment in the banjo field or bluegrass music and awards an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000 and an original sculpture by Eric Fischl each year. Benson is only the second woman to win the award.
The winner is chosen by a board that currently includes J.D Crowe, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Noam Pikelny, Alison Brown, Neil V. Rosenberg, Béla Fleck and Steve Martin.
“My family and I are overwhelmed with gratefulness!” Benson said in a release. “Getting to know my banjo heroes, many of whom are on the board, is prize enough, but Steve Martin’s graciousness is a huge blessing. We don’t know how to adequately say thank you for something like this!”
Previous winners of the prize include Noam Pikelny (2010), Sammy Shelor (2011), Mark Johnson (2012), Jens Kruger (2013), Eddie Adcock (2014), Danny Barnes(2015), Rhiannon Giddens (2016), and Scott Vestal (2017).
Benson, a South Carolina native, has won IBMA’s Banjo Player of the Year title four times and is nominated for the honor again this year. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 27, during the IBMA Awards Show.
About Mountain Home Music Company:
Mountain Home Music Company, a division of Crossroads Label Group is a premier Bluegrass label with global distribution, representing such elite artists as Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Balsam Range, The Grascals, Lonesome River Band, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, NewTown, Donna Ulisse, Gina Clowes, Kristin Scott Benson, The Cleverlys, Danny Roberts, Lawson and Williams, Sideline, The Snyder Family Band, and Unspoken Tradition. Established in 1993, Crossroads is a market leader in the Bluegrass, Americana, and Christian Music fields.