IBMA Special Awards nominees for 2018

This morning the International Bluegrass Music Association has released the names of the nominees for their Special Awards, a set of honors for members of the industry who work behind the scenes, and their Momentum Awards, designated for artists in the early stages of their careers.

The winners of these Special Awards are announced during a ceremony earlier in the day on September 27 before the big International Bluegrass Music Awards that evening on Raleigh, NC. Momentum Award winners are announced during  luncheon the day before.

And the 2018 nominees are…

Graphic Design

  • Drew Bolen & Whitney Beard – Project: Old Salt Unionby Old Salt Union 
  • Lou Everhart – Project: A Heart Never Knowsby The Price Sisters 
  • Richard Hakalski – Project: Portraits and Fiddlesby Mike Barnett 
  • Corey Johnson – Project: Sounds of Kentuckyby Carolina Blue 
  • Karen Key – Project: Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition by Various Artists 

Liner Notes

  • Craig Havighurst – Project: The Story We Tellby Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers 
  • Steve Martin – Project: The Long Awaited Albumby Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers 
  • Joe Mullins – Project: Sounds of Kentucky Grassby Carolina Blue 
  • Ted Olson – Project: Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Traditionby Various Artists 
  • Peter Wernick – Project: Carter Stanley’s Eyesby Peter Rowan 

Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year

  • Larry Carter  
  • Michelle Lee 
  • Steve Martin 
  • Alan Tompkins 
  • Kris Truelsen 

Print Media Person of the Year

  • Derek Halsey 
  • Chris Jones  
  • Ted Lehmann 
  • David Morris 
  • Neil Rosenberg 

Songwriter of the Year

  • Becky Buller  
  • Thomm Jutz 
  • Jerry Salley 
  • Donna Ulisse 
  • Jon Weisberger 

Event of the Year

  • Bluegrass on the Green – Frankfort, IL 
  • County Bluegrass – Fort Fairfield, ME 
  • Emelin Theatre – Mamaroneck, NY  
  • Flagler Museum’s Bluegrass in the Pavilion – Palm Beach, FL 
  • FreshGrass Festival – North Adams, MA 

Sound Engineer of the Year

  • Dave Sinco  
  • Stephen Mougin 
  • Gary Paczosa 
  • Tim Reitnouer  
  • Ben Surratt  



  • Anderson Bluegrass Festival – SC 
  • Farm & Fun Time – VA 
  • Hovander Homestead Bluegrass Festival – WA 
  • Red Wing Roots Music Festival – VA 
  • SamJam Bluegrass Festival – OH 

Industry Involvement

  • Megan Lynch Chowning and Adam Chowning 
  • Justin Hiltner 
  • Kris Truelsen 


  • Daniel Boner 
  • Cathy Fink 
  • Scott Napier 
  • Jon Weisberger 
  • Pete Wernick 


  • Cane Mill Road – NC
  • Man About a Horse – PA
  • Midnight Skyracer – UK
  • The Trailblazers – NC
  • Wood Belly – CO


  • Ellie Hakanson (Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Greg Blake Band)  
  • Will Jones (Terry Baucom & the Dukes of Drive)  
  • AJ Lee (AJ Lee & Blue Summit) 
  • Evan Murphy (Mile Twelve) 
  • Daniel Thrailkill (The Trailblazers) 

Instrumentalist [three are chosen in this category]

  • Tabitha Agnew  (Midnight Skyracer)
  • David Benedict  (Mile Twelve)
  • Catherine (“BB”) Bowness  (Mile Twelve)
  • Thomas Cassell  (Circus No. 9)
  • Hasee Ciaccio (Molly Tuttle Band)
  • Matthew Davis (Circus No. 9)
  • Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (Mile Twelve)
  • Aynsley Porchak (Carolina Blue)
  • Trajan Wellington (Cane Mill Road)

Both the nominees and the winners of the Special and Momentum Awards are chosen by different panels of industry experts.

Congratulations and best of luck to them all!

Share this:

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.