2020 IBMA Award nominees announced

Earlier today in Nashville, the International Bluegrass Music Association announced the final nominees for their 31st annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards. Also announced were the 2020 inductees into the Bluegrass Music Hall Of Fame, and recipients of the organization’s Distinguished Achievement Awards. 

This year’s nominees came early, owing to the recent decision to make World of Bluegrass, the IBMA’s annual convention week, into a virtual online event owing to COVID-19 concerns. IBMA has announced that all seminars and showcase performances will be presented online this year, but nothing has yet been shared regarding exactly how the awards show will be handled.

These award nominees are selected in a three part process by the professional membership of the IBMA, consisting of artists, songwriters, label personnel, radio hosts, event producers, managers and agents, publicists, studio engineers, associations, manufacturers, retailers, and others who work in the bluegrass industry. These same voters will choose the actual winners as well.


2020 Hall Of Fame Inductees

  • New Grass Revival
  • The Johnson Mountain Boys
  • J.T. Gray

2020 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients

  • Norman & Judy Adams
  • Daryl & Phyllis Adkins
  • Darol Anger
  • Wayne Rice
  • Jack Tottle


2020 IBMA Bluegrass Music Award Nominations

Entertainer Of The Year (tie)

  • Balsam Range
  • Billy Strings
  • Del McCoury Band
  • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
  • Sister Sadie
  • Special Consensus

Vocal Group Of The Year

  • Balsam Range
  • Blue Highway
  • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
  • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
  • Sister Sadie

Instrumental Group Of The Year

  • Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
  • Mile Twelve
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
  • Sam Bush Band
  • The Travelin’ McCourys

New Artist Of The Year

  • Appalachian Road Show
  • Carolina Blue
  • High Fidelity
  • Merle Monroe
  • Mile Twelve

Song Of The Year

  • Both Ends Of The Train – Blue Highway (artist), Tim Stafford/Steve Gulley (writers), Rounder Records, Blue Highway (producers)
  • Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Becky Buller/Missy Raines/Alison Brown (writers), Compass Records, Alison Brown (producer)
  • Haggard – The Grascals (artist), Harley Allen (writers), Mountain Home Music Company, The Grascals (producers)
  • Hickory, Walnut & Pine – The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (artist), Slaid Cleaves/Nathan Hamilton (writer), Rounder Records, Dave Maggar (producer)
  • Living Like There’s No Tomorrow – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Jim McBride/Roger Alan Murrah (writer), Billy Blue Records, Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producers)

Album Of The Year (tie)

  • Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Compass Records, Alison Brown (producer)
  • Home – Billy Strings (artist), Rounder Records, Glenn Brown (producer)
  • Live In Prague, Czech Republic – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Billy Blue Records, Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producers)
  • New Moon Over My Shoulder – Larry Sparks (artist), Rebel Records, Larry Sparks (producer)
  • Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland (artist), Compass Records, Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers)
  • Toil, Tears & Trouble – The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (artist), Rounder Records, Dave Maggard (producer)
  • Tribulation – Appalachian Road Show (artist), Billy Blue Records, Jim VanCleve, Barry Abernathy, and Appalachian Road Show (producers)

Gospel Recording Of The Year

  • Angel Too Soon – Balsam Range (artist), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
  • Because He Loved Me – Dale Ann Bradley (artist), Dale Ann Bradley (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)
  • Gonna Rise And Shine – Alan Bibey & Grasstowne (artist), Mark Hodges (producer), Mountain Fever Records (label)
  • I’m Going To Heaven – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Little Black Train – Appalachian Road Show (artist), Barry Abernathy, Darrell Webb, and Ben Isaacs (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)

Instrumental Recording Of The Year

  • Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland (artist), Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers), Compass Records (label)
  • Shenandoah Breakdown – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Soldier’s Joy – Jesse McReynolds with Michael Cleveland (artist), Jesse McReynolds (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)
  • The Appalachian Road – Appalachian Road Show (artist), Jim VanCleve, Barry Abernathy, and Appalachian Road Show (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Guitar Peace – Billy Strings (artist), Glenn Brown (producer), Rounder Records (label)

Collaborative Recording Of The Year

  • Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
  • I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Jason Barie featuring Del McCoury & Paul William (artists), Jason Barie (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland with Tommy Emmanuel (artist), Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers), Compass Records (label)
  • The Barber’s Fiddle – Becky Buller with Shawn Camp, Jason Carter, Laurie Lewis, Kati Penn, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Johnny Warren, Stuart Duncan, Deanie Richardson, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Jason Barie, Fred Carpenter, Tyler Andal, Nate Lee, Dan Boner, Brian Christianson, and Laura Orshaw (artists), Stephen Mougin (producer), Dark Shadow Recording (label)
  • On and On – Gena Britt with Brooke Aldridge (artists), Gena Britt (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)

Male Vocalist Of The Year

  • Ronnie Bowman
  • Del McCoury
  • Russell Moore
  • Danny Paisley
  • Larry Sparks

Female Vocalist Of The Year

  • Brooke Aldridge
  • Dale Ann Bradley
  • Amanda Smith
  • Molly Tuttle
  • Rhonda Vincent


Instrumental Performers Of The Year


  • Kristin Scott Benson
  • Gena Britt
  • Gina Furtado
  • Ned Luberecki
  • Scott Vestal


  • Barry Bales
  • Mike Bub
  • Todd Phillips
  • Missy Raines
  • Marshall Wilborn


  • Becky Buller
  • Jason Carter
  • Michael Cleveland
  • Stuart Duncan
  • Deanie Richardson

Resophonic Guitar

  • Jerry Douglas
  • Andy Hall
  • Rob Ickes
  • Phil Leadbetter
  • Justin Moses


  • Trey Hensley
  • Billy Strings
  • Bryan Sutton
  • Molly Tuttle
  • Jake Workman


  • Alan Bibey
  • Jesse Brok
  • Sam Bush
  • Sierra Hull
  • Ronnie McCoury


Nominations for the Industry Awards and Momentum Awards will be announced at a later date.

Congratulations and best of luck to all the 2020 nominees!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.