Full Cord Bluegrass performs at the 2022 IBMA Momentum Awards (9/28/22) – photo © Frank Baker
IBMA’s annual Momentum Awards luncheon always serves as a powerful reminder that the future of bluegrass is in good hands. This year, as the pain of COVID and hard times for traveling musicians fades even further into the background, it seems like the talent level was even more ramped up than in years past, and that’s saying something. It’s like everyone had nothing to do except sit at home for the last few years and practice.
The winners this year were:
Industry Involvement – Lillian Werbin, president and co-owner of Elderly Instruments. She’s also on the board of directors of IBMA Foundation and Bluegrass Pride and serves on IBMA’s Arnold Shultz Advisory Committee.
Mentor of the Year – Kimber Ludiker. In addition to touring and performing with Della Mae, she’s director of the California Bluegrass Association’s Youth Academy, co-coordinator of IBMA Kids on Bluegrass, director of the Ashoken Bluegrass Camp, and producer-host of the Bluegrass Academy and Bluegrass Campout. She’s also a member of the Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2016 (the best class ever).
Instrumentalist of the year – The first award went to Harry Clark. The mandolin and guitar player performs with East Nash Grass, the Dan Tyminski Band, and the Wooks. The second award was presented to George Jackson, a fiddle and banjo performer who’s long resume includes playing with Jake Blount, the Tall Poppy String Band, and the George Jackson Local Trio.
Vocalist of the year – Rebekka Nilsson of the Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. She would also have claimed the award for nominee in a category for traveling the longest distance to the ceremony, if such an award existed.
But she would have had to share that with her fellow members of the Norway-based Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. They were one of five finalists for Momentum Band of the Year, and one of only three bands to perform live on the ballroom stage. They won over the luncheon audience right away when announcing their first song, To The West, by referencing how far they had travelled west to be here today.
Full Cord, another in-person performer, won band of the year.
Hats off to all the winners, and all the nominees.