Singers and pickers are the most visible stars in bluegrass, but as with any venture, much of the work and preparation is done by those behind the scenes – the promoters, songwriters, broadcasters, CD and poster designers, and journalists.
But today was their day to shine, as IBMA announced the winners of the 2020 Industry Awards and the Distinguished Achievement Awards.
The winners of the Distinguished Achievement Awards are Wayne Rice, picker and host of the long-running Bluegrass Special radio show on KSON in San Diego; fiddler Darol Anger of the David Grisman Quintet; festival promoters Norman and Judy Adams; Darrel and Phyllis Adkins, who founded Musicians Against Childhood Cancer in memory of their daughter, Mandy; and Jack Tottle, an inventive mandolin player best known for pioneering the bluegrass studies program at East Tennessee State University.
Winners of the Industry Awards:
- Graphic Designer of the Year: Michael Armisted, for the second straight year
- Broadcaster of the Year: Michael Kear, whose show airs in Australia and in the United States
- Liner Notes: Katy Daley, for the re-release of the Seldom Scene’s Live From the Cellar Door on Rebel Records
- Engineer of the Year: Stephen Mougin, of Dark Shadows Recording
- Event of the Year: Augusta Heritage Center’s Bluegrass Week, in Elkins, WV
- Songwriter of the Year: Milan Miller.
- Writer (journalist) of the Year: Derek Halsey.
As an aside, I’m really feeling the pandemic blues today, and mourning the fact that World of Bluegrass is virtual this year. In safer, healthier times, I would have presented the writer trophy to Derek in person, by virtue of winning the award last year. Nobody works harder, and I’m glad to see him recognized after being a finalist so many times (10) that some friends took to calling him the Susan Lucci of bluegrass. Lucci, an actress, finally won an Emmy the 19th time she was nominated.