Our Thursday started with a Sam Bush interview, conducted by Doug McKelway. Sam talked about his new CD, Circles Around Me, due for an October 20 release on Sugar Hill. That interview will be posted in the next few days.
From there we shot for the elevator to make it in time for an interview with Katy Daley at WAMU’s Bluegrass Country. This time, it was Brance and I – and Doug McElway – who were being interviewed, and we had a lovely chat with Katy about that night’s upcoming awards celebrations. The four of us were conspiring for the Awards Show Red Carpet coverage, which was scheduled just a few hours later.
We all hustled down to the ballroom to set up before Thursday’s pre-awards show reception, where we set up our little Red Carpet, with cameras and lights. Katy and Doug, both arrayed in their finest formal duds, spoke to the bluegrass glitterati as they passed along media row. Most of the nominees for the IBMA awards stopped to speak with us, and many a memorable exchange took place.
Some were funny, some more serious, and everyone was in a celebratory mood. Interviews with Doyle Lawson, Dale Ann Bradley, Sammy Shelor, the McCoury family, Dailey & Vincent and many, many more will be included when we start posting these videos over the next few days.
Thursday’s big event, of course, is the awards show, and this one was perhaps the best ever. Producers Cindy Baucom and Chris Stuart did a fine job choosing performers, mixing new and established acts, traditional and modern bands, and it moved along at a very comfortable pace.
Some of the jokes were worse than corny, though. You know what they say about the theater… “Dying is easy – comedy is hard.” Maybe the best plan is to let the musicians do music, and save the comedy for pros in that realm?
The music was the main attraction, though, and boy was it good. Lonesome River Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Hot Rize (with Kathy Mattea), Del McCoury Band, Dan Tyminski Band… Each came on stronger than the next, though it seems safe to suggest that Dailey & Vincent stole the show with their pitch-perfect, a capella performance of Don’t You Want To Go To Heaven When You Die.
The induction of The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers was a highlight, with surviving members Bobby Osborne, Paul Williams and Melvin Goins taking the stage to share some memories, and later laying down a powerful version of Pain In My Heart, a Goins composition.
It has been suggested that The Dillards may have set a new record for acceptance speeches, besting even Jimmy Martin’s time, though I haven’t seen an official count. They were also inducted into the Hall Of Fame, and each of the original members (Rodney Dillard, Doug Dillard, Mitch Jayne and Dean Webb) spoke at the microphone, with Jayne reading a heartfelt message from Andt Griffith who congratulated “the boys” for their honor.
It was a delightful moment, and a fitting way to start the home stretch of the show, which was once again a sellout at the Ryman Auditorium.
It was quite a night, one that made us all proud of bluegrass music.