Tonight was bluegrass music’s big moment to shine, Though attendance is off this year at World of Bluegrass owing to contagion fears and vaccine requirements, there was still a strong showing at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts at the 7:30 p.m. start of the 2021 IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards.
There were stellar performances on stage from Balsam Range, hosts The Infamous Stringdusters, The Del McCoury Band, Sister Sadie, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, and several others, plus special musical performances in honor of the Hall of Fame inductees. But nothing could top the spirited mini-set from The Stonemans. Ronnie and Donna are as entertaining as ever, and they joked and picked through a hilarious mashup of House of the Rising Sun with Amazing Grace, followed by Bluegrass Breakdown.
Alison Krauss shared an audio message of thanks for her induction into the Hall of Fame, and Lynn Morris was there to thank everyone in person and express her love for the entire bluegrass community.
And the winners are:
- Banjo Player of the Year – Scott Vestal
- Bass Player of the Year – Missy Raines
- Mandolin Player of the Year – Sierra Hull
- Vocal Group of the Year – Sister Sadie
- Gospel Recording of the Year – (tie) After While – Dale Ann Bradley (artist), Public Domain, Dale Ann Bradley (producer), Pinecastle Records (label); In the Resurrection Morning – Sacred Reunion featuring Doyle Lawson, Vince Gill, Barry Abernathy, Tim Stafford, Mark Wheeler, Jim VanCleve, Phil Leadbetter, Jason Moore (artists), Mark Wheeler (songwriter), Barry Abernathy, Jim VanCleve (producers), Dottie Leonard Miller (Executive Producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
- Collaborative Recording of the Year – White Line Fever – Bobby Osborne with Tim O’Brien, Trey Hensley, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Todd Phillips, Alison Brown (artists), Merle Haggard/Jeff Tweedy (songwriters) Alison Brown, Garry West (producers), Compass Records (label)
- Fiddle Player of the Year – Bronwyn Keith-Hynes
- Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year – Justin Moses
- Guitar Player of the Year – Billy Strings
- Instrumental Recording of theYear- Ground Speed – Kristin Scott Benson, Skip Cherryholmes, Jeremy Garrett, Kevin Kehrberg, Darren Nicholson(artists), Earl Scruggs (songwriter), Jon Weisberger (producer), Mountain Home Music (label)
- Female Vocalist of the Year – Dale Ann Bradly
- Male Vocalist of the Year – (tie) Danny Paisley and Del McCoury
- New Artist of the Year – Appalachian Road Show
- Song of the Year – Richest Man – Balsam Range (artist), Jim Beavers/Jimmy Yeary/Connie Harrington (songwriters), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)
- Album of the Year – Industrial Strength Bluegrass: Southwestern Ohio’s Musical Legacy – Various Artists, Joe Mullins (producers), Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (label)
- Instrumental Group of the Year – Appalachian Road Show
- Entertainer of the Year – Billy Strings
Congratulations to all the winners, and hats off to everyone involved in the production of the show. Back pats and hearty handshakes all around!