Also announced at the press conference were this year’s inductees to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame – bluegrass ambassador and leader of one of the most awarded bands in the history of IBMA, Del McCoury and pioneering bass player and guitar stylist George Shuffler and the five recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award: Greg Cahill, Bill Knowlton, Lilly Pavlak, Geoff Stelling and Roland White.
The Entertainer of the Year category includes the two bands who have received the title the past five years: Dailey and Vincent (2008-2010) and The Grascals (2006-2007). The Boxcars, The Gibson Brothers and Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers are all first-time nominees for the prestigious award which recognizes excellence in all aspects of the entertainment field—including recorded and in-person performance, public acceptance, attitude, leadership and overall contributions to the image of bluegrass music.
The Boxcars, a band that features the talents of Adam Steffey, Ron Stewart, John R. Bowman, Keith Garrett and Harold Nixon, lead in all categories with IBMA Award nominations for Entertainer of the Year; Instrumental Group of the Year; Album of the Year (The Boxcars, self-produced for the Mountain Home label); Gospel Recorded Performance (“In God’s Hands,” written by John Benjamin Rochester); Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (“Jumpin’ the Track,” written by Ron Stewart); Emerging Artist of the Year; Banjo Player and Fiddle Player (Ron Stewart) and Mandolin Player (Adam Steffey).
With nominations for both Entertainer of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year, The Boxcars join the rarified company of acts like Dailey & Vincent and Cherryholmes, who emerged and rose straight to the top in the eyes of their peers the same year. They’re not an overnight success, of course. Adam Steffey is the reigning and seven-time IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year. Ron Stewart, the only musician in the history of the IBMA Awards who has been a frequent finalist in two instrumental categories, was the Fiddle Player of the Year in 2000.
Rural Rhythm recording artists Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have been nominated in eight categories including Vocal Group of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year (Moore) and Mandolin Player (Benson). Their other nods are testimony that the group plays well with others, including: Album of the Year—for their role in the multi-artist recording The All-Star Jam: Live at Graves Mountain (Rural Rhythm); Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year (“Sailing On,” recorded by Russell Moore and Dale Ann Bradley); Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (“Ground Speed,” featuring IIIrd Tyme Out mandolinist Wayne Benson in The Rural Rhythm All-Stars); Recorded Event of the Year (“Graves Mountain Memories,” recorded by the Rural Rhythm All-Stars featuring Russell Moore with several other artists); and another Recorded Event of the Year (“Lonesome River,” recorded by Lou Reid & Carolina featuring Russell Moore). IIIrd Tyme Out is a perennial fan favorite, with seven crystal trophies on the mantle for Vocal Group of the Year. Moore is the current Male Vocalist of the Year, an award he also received in 1994 and 1997.
IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year in 1998, The Gibson Brothers (Eric and Leigh) took home trophies for Song of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance at the 2010 Awards. After a year of radio chart-topping success and a strong touring schedule, the Compass Records recording artists are back with seven nominations for 2011: Entertainer of the Year; Vocal Group of the Year; Album of the Year for Help My Brother, produced by Eric & Leigh Gibson and Mike Barber for Compass; two Song of the Year nods for “Help My Brother” (written by Leigh Gibson) and “Walkin’ West to Memphis” (written by Chris Henry); Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “He Can Be Found,” written by Ella Barrett & Faye Cunningham; and Male Vocalist of the Year (Leigh Gibson).
Much to the delight of bluegrass fans everywhere, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas are back on the tour bus in 2011. Their new album, Paper Airplane (Rounder Records) is currently at the top of Billboard’s Bluegrass Album sales chart. Alison and the guys are nominated in seven categories including: Female Vocalist (Krauss); Male Vocalist (Dan Tyminski); Banjo Player (Ron Block); Bass Player (Barry Bales) and Dobro Player (Jerry Douglas). Alison is also a finalist for Song of the Year (“I’ll Take Love,” collaboration with Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley written by Louisa Branscomb) and Recorded Event of the Year for the same song from the Compass Records album I’ll Take Love, from the pen of Louisa Branscomb.
Members of the Lonesome River Band have five IBMA nominations, including Album of the Year for their participation on The All-Star Jam: Live At Graves Mountain on the Rural Rhythm label. They received two nods for Instrumental Recorded performance of the Year for “Pretty Little Girl,” on the album, Still Learning (Rural Rhythm), and also for band members Sammy Shelor, Brandon Rickman and Mike Hartgrove’s work on “Ground Speed,” by The Rural Rhythm All-Stars (Rural Rhythm). LRB has a Recorded Event of the Year nomination for the song, “Graves Mountain Memories,” recorded by the Rural Rhythm All-Stars (including Sammy Shelor and Mike Hartgrove) on The All-Star Jam: Live at Graves Mountain album; and band leader Sammy Shelor is nominated for Banjo Player of the Year, an award he received four consecutive years from 1995-1998.
Movie star, comedian, author and proud banjo geek at heart Steve Martin has released his second album on the Rounder Label, Rare Bird Alert , with touring band mates The Steep Canyon Rangers. Martin and the Steeps also have nominations in five IBMA categories: Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year (Rare Bird Alert), Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (“Rare Bird Alert,” written by Martin), Best Liner Notes for a Recorded Project for Rare Bird Alert (Martin – writer, Rounder), and also Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project for the same album (G. Carr and Salli Ratts – designers, Rounder).
The International Bluegrass Music Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), which serves as the trade association for the bluegrass music industry. The IBMA Awards Show is the centerpiece of the World of Bluegrass Week September 26 – October 2 in Nashville, Tenn., which also includes the IBMA Business Conference and Bluegrass Fan Fest.
For more information on World of Bluegrass week, including tickets to the International Bluegrass Music Awards, go to www.worldofbluegrass.org, join us on Facebook, or call 615-256-3222 (1-888-GET-IBMA).
The IBMA Awards will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction, Channel 61) and also will be syndicated to more than 300 U.S. markets and 14 foreign networks thanks to the sponsorship of Martha White, Deering Banjos, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, “Bluegrass, Moonshine & The Birth of NASCAR – The Movie,” Compass Records and the Academy of Bluegrass. Program directors and station managers may sign up to be affiliates by calling (615) 256-3222 or emailing ji**@ib**.org.