Award Show Thoughts

viewpointLast evenings award show brought a few surprises, to most of us I’m sure. Of course the big surprise was Cherryholmes winning Entertainer Of The Year. I’m glad they won, though I had really expected them to win Emerging Artist Of The Year, as did the readers who voted in our poll. My last post was a side by side comparison of the official winners and our poll winners. We’ve talked to a lot of people who have expressed surprise, and in some cases delight, over the awards. We received one email from a reader who did a great job of expressing his view of the awards. Here is his email:

The selections of Cherryholmes, Phil Ledbetter twice, and Bryan Sutton for major awards by the members of IBMS says a great deal about their commitment to the future. Awards ceremonies like the Academy Awards, The Emmies, the Grammies, and CMA frequently take the easy road by giving major awards to performers whose best work is in the past and, they believe, deserve to be recognized by their industry for past accomplishments.

IBMA members have taken a very different approach. They have said that bluegrass music is a young, vigorous, growing form that must reach out to a young audiences with music that appeals to them. At the same time, they continue to honor bluegrass tradtions by giving major awards to Ricky Skaggs and Doyle Lawson.

Few people would argue that Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas are not the foremost masters of their instruments. They have received recognition for their work and the continued adulation of the bluegrass community. By awarding Jim Mills and Phil Ledbetter, the members of IBMA have said that the world of bluegrass is broad and includes many important musicians beyond the easy choices.

The variance between the awards actually given and those voted for in Bluegrass Today poll suggest that IBMA members are more forward looking than the fans voting in the popularity contest sponsored by this blog. That’s an interesting outcome that in no way diminishes the important contribution made by bluegrass blog.

Ted Lehmann

So, share with us your thoughts and opinions of last night’s awards. Please remember that John and I are on site at the IBMA Fan Fest, therefore comment moderation may be delayed slightly.