2020 winners of the International Bluegrass Music Awards

Tonight, the IBMA hosted their very first all virtual International Bluegrass Music Awards presented by Count On Me NC. Streamed live online for the whole world to see, the show celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Original Bluegrass Band – Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise, and Howard Watts – and their debut as Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys in 1945.

Viewers were treated to live (on tape) performances by all of the nominees for Entertainer of the Year award, plus a special tribute to Doc Watson featuring all five of the Guitar Player of the Year nominees on Black Mountain Rag. A real highlight was Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, with Taj Mahal, doing a delta blues-influenced version of Sitting On Top of the World

For banjo lovers, all of the Banjo Player of the Year award nominees showed up to pay homage to the great J.D. Crowe with a warp speed take on Blackjack. And four of the Female Vocalist of the Year nominees united for an accapella arrangement of Down In The River To Pray, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the soundtrack from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

There were also emotional inductions to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame for J.T. Gray, owner of Nashville’s Station Inn, Johnson Mountain Boys, and New Grass Revival. Presenters included numerous bluegrass icons, and country stars Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, and Garth Brooks.

The 2.5 hour program concluded with the old favorite, a cluster plucked version of Will The Circle Be Unbroken, featuring dozens of artists, including many of tonight’s nominees.

And the winners are…

Entertainer Of The Year – Sister Sadie

Vocal Group Of The Year – Sister Sadie

Instrumental Group Of The Year – Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

New Artist Of The Year – Mile Twelve

Song Of The Year – Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Becky Buller/Missy Raines/Alison Brown (writers), Compass Records, Alison Brown (producer)

Album Of The Year – Live In Prague, Czech Republic – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Billy Blue Records, Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producers)

Gospel Recording Of The Year – Gonna Rise And Shine – Alan Bibey & Grasstowne (artist), Mark Hodges (producer), Mountain Fever Records (label)

Instrumental Recording Of The Year – Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland (artist), Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers), Compass Records (label)

Collaborative Recording Of The Year – 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)

Male Vocalist Of The Year – Danny Paisley

Female Vocalist Of The Year – Brooke Aldridge

Instrumental Performers Of The Year

Banjo – Scott Vestal

Bass – Missy Raines

Fiddle – Deanie Richardson

Resophonic Guitar – Justin Moses

Guitar – Jake Workman

Mandolin – Alan Bibey

Many congratulations to all of tonight’s winners, and to our newest members of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Well done all!

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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.