Jerry Salley added to 2016 Songwriter of the Year nominees

Jerry SalleyThe International Bluegrass Music Association has announced this afternoon that songwriter Jerry Salley has been added to the nominees for its 2016 Songwriter of the Year award among their Special Awards.

When the nominations were announced last week many people noticed Jerry’s absence, especially given his remarkable run of 42 cuts on bluegrass albums during the eligibility period.

A letter has been sent to IBMA members acknowledging that a formatting error in the materials that were submitted to the selection committee, leading to them not properly considering Salley for the 2016 awards. It also indicated that the committee in question reassembled to reconsider Jerry’s submission, and agreed in toto that his name should be added to the nominees.

Here is the letter from IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger explaining the situation that has occurred.

It is an exciting time of year with the anticipation of IBMA’s World Bluegrass less than a month away. If you haven’t registered for the conference and purchased Awards Show tickets, please do so at

Part of the anticipation centers around the announcement of awards recipients. As we hope you saw, the nominees for the main Artist Awards, Special Awards, and Momentum Awards have been announced. It is a complex and labor-intensive process with the series of candidate submissions, committee efforts, and ballots. We strive for a perfect process each year despite that complexity. The most important priority is to ultimately get the process “right” to recognize those in our community being put forth by their professional peers. To this end, late last week we discovered an issue with how the system formatted the information submitted for consideration of Jerry Salley in the Special Awards Songwriter of the Year category. The problem with the formatting made it difficult for the Songwriter Award Nomination Committee to view that supporting material.

After reconvening the committee to discuss this issue, its members were unanimous that if the supporting information had been apparent during their deliberation, Jerry would have been put forth as a nominee on this year’s ballot. Given that information, the committee was also unanimous that Jerry should be added to the ballot for consideration by the Panel of Electors, who vote to select Special Award recipients. Therefore, this year’s Songwriter of the Year ballot will contain six nominees (shown below), including those previously announced. We recognize that while inadvertent problems like this can arise in a process we wish to be seamlessly executed, our highest objective is to accurately draft a ballot our members and their representatives on this committee would want. Furthermore, each of the other nominees was contacted, and they also unanimously agreed it was proper to make sure the ballot is correct.

2016 Songwriter of the Year Nominees:

Charles Humphrey III
Chris Jones
Tammy Rogers King
Milan Miller
Jerry Salley
Donna Ulisse

Good to see this quickly rectified so that the final committee can consider all of the nominees.

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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.