Unlikely bluegrass pairings up for 2019

It’s IBMA Awards voting season, and some changes in the process have already been announced for 2019 by the IBMA board of directors. Most are minor procedural changes that may not be terribly interesting to most members (they weren’t even that interesting to the board). For example, the IBMA has been cleared to purge voters from their rolls if they don’t vote often enough. It is estimated this will reduce the number of voters in the IBMA awards process to approximately 63. 

Also, 2018 has seen the introduction of the concept of “ballots that aren’t messed up” (this change was approved by the board last year by a narrow margin). After the initial round of voting, though, and after some polling of the general membership, it has already been decided that this has made the entire voting process too dreary, so plans are underway to return to ballots that all contain some major flaw, requiring that they be reissued at least once per round.

One of the biggest changes planned is in the category of Recorded Event of the Year. This is an award that was already tinkered with once before, as any IBMA members who have been around long enough to remember the barely functioning Galt House elevators may recall. At one time the award was given out to a full album featuring musicians or singers who don’t normally record together. The problem with this award under those guidelines was that there just weren’t enough full albums recorded in a year that fit into this category, so it wasn’t terribly competitive. Additionally, a couple of these recording projects featured massive numbers of participants, which in turn almost bankrupted the IBMA from the heavy burden of trophy costs. 

It was then decided that the award would be given to an individual song or tune, rather than an album, that featured two or more musicians or singers who don’t usually work together, and who are all billed or listed as featured on the recording. This reduced trophy costs, shortened acceptance speech time, and widened the category. But then a different problem emerged: these recordings were now too easy to make, and there came to be too many eligible songs in the category.

To solve this, the IBMA board has proposed that for next year’s awards, recordings will only be eligible for Recorded Event of the Year if they involve two or more musicians or singers who not only don’t usually record together, but who also shouldn’t ever record together and didn’t even want to in the first place. In short, only a truly awkward pairing will be considered for the award.

Fortunately, the record labels have already made plans to be competitive in next year’s revised category with the following proposed releases:   

The Earls of Leicester and Camila Cabello with Young Thug: Polka on a Banjo-ooh na na

Larry Sparks and Pat Boone: Carter’s Blues (featuring Pat scat singing)

Alison Krauss, Darci Lynne Farmer, and a large stuffed bunny: Oh Atlanta

Peter Rowan and Florida Georgia Line: Come All Ye Tenderhearted (from forthcoming album, Carter Stanley’s Hat)

Bobby Osborne, Carol Burnett, and Jay Z:  It’s a Hard Knock Life (from forthcoming album Even More Original)

Don Rigsby and Cat Stevens: Daddy Was a Moonshadow Man

Flatt Lonesome and the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silas: You’re The One (chant version)

It’s going to be a very competitive category.