IBMA Controversy In The Blogosphere

The recent IBMA Awards Show in Nashville resulted in some controversy surrounding the performance of some patriotic material performed by the US Navy Band, Country Current. You’ll find all the details in our previous posts here and here. There is also a very popular post in The B on the topic.

While the controversy had its beginning on sites and email lists dedicated to bluegrass music, the story has now moved into the larger blogosphere. Following coverage in The Tennessean over the weekend, it has now been picked up by sites that don’t normally dedicate much, if any, time to covering bluegrass. Predictibly these bloggers have all taken a stand on the issues involved.

The US Navy Bluegrass band asked not to play service anthems? What was IBMA thinking?

The Sheep’s Crib

…if all 300 international members are offended because the IBMA’s annual event has an American patriotic theme, TOO BAD!

Vanishing American

IBMA, keep PC and leftist politics out of bluegrass


Disgusting…. this “tolerance” crap is just the pits.

Sista Smiff

Seriously, there are like 2 people who thought it was wrong. I think they were Canadians.

The Dry Spot

And in a spasm of hypersensitivity, the president of the IBMA, David Crow, immediately resigned…this move comes across as petulant and pouty.

How dare they display American Patriotism at IBMA!

Festival Preview

the salute was clearly meant as a statement of support for our government’s policy of war in Iraq


The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) calls itself an International organization and their awards show this year was an American patriotic presentation.

Just the facts ma’am.

String Theory Media

Nashville Is Talking (News 2)

Eliza’s Music News

John adds: The comments we have received here on Bluegrass Today to date have tended to be from US readers who object to IBMA requesting that the US Navy band not play their medley of service anthems on the Awards Show. My own personal contact with non-US IBMA members has suggested that the patriotic American theme was a non-issue. Other IBMA members, however, have indicated that they collected strong negative impressions from acquaintances who traveled to IBMA from outside the US.

We would be very interested in hearing from our readers on this question: was it appropriate for the IBMA, who present themselves as an international organization, to prominently feature such displays of American patriotism in their major, annual show?

All our readers are encouraged to contribute (either with comments, or by starting a new post on The B), but we are especially interested in hearing from our international readers, who currently make up about 20% of visitors on Bluegrass Today. In particular, we wonder whether non-US readers (and/or IBMA members) find such an Americanized program by IBMA to be offensive, and whether it would affect your support of the organization.

  • John Gillmartin

    Look, the critics are suggesting that what was done was like the UN Security Council having to hear The Star Spangled Banner before a session. Hogwash and applesauce!

    The UN and other forums are not entertainment genres with a bulging historical portfolio … Bluegrass is! It is an American invention and if it weren’t for the blood, sweat, and poverty of our Blue-patriarches and Blue-matriarches the international bluegrass community wouldn’t exist.

    The next thing you know there will be a Muslim picker who wants our Alison Krause off stage or in a head-to-toe burka. Where does this kind of rubish stop once you begin.

    These same types have tried this ploy on God’s word; once you start rejecting bits & pieces of what you believe … just what do you believe?

  • zipi dachimp

    from canada: bluegrass is ‘american’ music, played by musicians all over the world, exactly as jazz is ‘american’ music played everywhere. without americans, none of this music would have existed.

    two issues:
    1. ‘country current’ is a military band playing bluegrass. why would anyone object to them playing their own repertoire?

    2. if there was an objection, why were they invited at all?
    (eg: love me, love my dog!)

    solution: drop the word ‘international’, so we can all belong to the ‘bluegrass music association’.

    thanks, from someone who shook the hand of bill monroe inside ‘the station inn’ january, 1987.

  • colin henry

    I have seen the comment here and in a number of places that bluegrass music is a uniquely American invention. Is this a correct statement? Is it not like saying Earl Scruggs invented banjo picking? Am I not right in saying that bluegrass music is a coming together of a number of musical roots, one of which at least (Ulster Scots/Scots Irish)is distinctly non American.


  • scott fanton

    Bluegrass is AMERICAN music. The fact that there were roots of it that may have originated in other countries does not change the fact that it is distinctly American. That would be like saying that the cheeseburger is not really American because bread and ground beef originated elsewhere. That being said, Webster’s definition is as follows:
    Main Entry: in¬?ter¬?na¬?tion¬?al
    Pronunciation: “in-t&r-‘nash-n&l, -‘na-sh&-n&l
    Function: adjective
    1 : of, relating to, or affecting two or more nations
    2 : of, relating to, or constituting a group or association having members in two or more nations
    Put quite simply, this merely means the group consists of members from more than one nation. No requirement to relinquish their nationality or any aspect of it is implied in any way. It is my opinion that allowing an attitude of hypersensitivity to an overblown political correctness will ruin the very soul of what makes Bluegrass beautiful; Purity, Simplicity, and the Truthfulness that accompany them.