Notes and Nuggets from IBMA

Get ready for some great, new music.

While many of us will slow down a bit after IBMA’s World of Bluegrass and Fan Fest, some major bands are in the studio or will heading there shortly.

Dailey and Vincent’s new one, due out soon, will be straight-ahead bluegrass, Jamie Daley says. And you can bet the new one from Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice will be the same. Look for that one in early March, with a single sooner.

Fans of the Gibson Brothers heard a sneak preview of their new album. The band performed They Call It Music during the IBMA awards show. Eric Gibson wrote the song after songwriter Joe Newberry suggested the title. Joe, who wrote Singing As We Rise, the Gibsons’ Gospel song of the year in 2012, has another cut on the project, too.

Also coming: Projects from the Claire Lynch Band, the Missy Werner Band, Missy Raines and the New Hip, Dale Ann Bradley (listen for some duets with Steve Gulley), Nu-Blu, The Travelers (a band that includes former Bluegrass Cardinal and Country Gentleman, Norman Wright) and the debut project for Republik Steele, a band from eastern Kentucky that just signed with Rural Rhythm Records.

Some of those projects will be out in time to be eligible for next year’s IBMA awards, which will be the first given out in Raleigh, N.C.


IBMA will lose money again this year, but after a string of five-figure deficits, President Stan Zdonik expects to end the year in the hole by about $2,500. That puts the organization in position to run a surplus next year, and board members are counting on the move to Raleigh making that possible.

The board also hopes the move will encourage more folks to join. There are about 2,000 members, down from 2,600 several years ago.

During a town hall meeting for members in Nashville last week, the board announced that its first detailed independent audit has been completed. No retroactive corrective actions were required, but Zdonik said the board would implement a number of suggestions that the auditors offered.

Copies of the full audit report will be available for members this week through the IBMA office in Nashville. I’ll review it carefully and report back to Bluegrass Today readers, but anyone interested in IBMA and its future should have a look.

The audit covers 2010. The next audit will cover 2011 and 2012.


The best line I heard all week in Nashville came from Junior Sisk a few days before taking home song-of-the-year and album-of-the-year trophies. As he was introduced at a showcase by WAMU’s Katy Daley, he bumped her head while giving her “rabbit ears.” When Katy jokingly asked, “Why are messing with the back of my head?” Junior responded, “Because the front of your face was busy.”

The second-best line I heard came from an unidentified female fan, who told her companion, “It was strange. They counted off the song in German, but every word they sang was English.”


The Gibson Brothers’s streak of good luck at IBMA continued this year, as the band took home trophies for gospel song of the year (Singing As We Rise) and entertainer of the year. Last year, the band was honored as the top vocal group and for album of the year (Help My Brother). And two years ago, the song Ring the Bell was selected song of the year and Gospel song of the year.


One nominee was disappointed when Sammy Shelor was named banjo player of the year – Sammy himself. “I wanted J.D. to win it,” he said, referring to the legendary J.D. Crowe, who is retiring at the end of the year. Sammy told me the same thing the night before the awards. “If J.D. don’t win it, something’s wrong,” he said as he stood outside the Lonesome River Band’s bus.

J.D. was probably happy, though. Two years ago at IBMA, when I wished him good luck, he said he hoped not to hear his name called. “I’ve won enough. It’s someone else’s turn.”

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.