Bluegrass Nominations Mix Fresh With Familiar

Jul 26, 2017

The International Bluegrass Music Association revealed its 2017 awards nominees and new hall of famers on Wednesday morning in Nashville. The names among the top prospects have long and illustrious history on the IBMA Awards stage.

Classic bluegrass band the Earls of Leicester and Balsam Range led all nominees with eight apiece, including Entertainer of the Year. They and fellow nominee The Gibson Brothers collectively account for all the top entertainer winners going back to 2012. But nominations of veterans Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and new industry stars Flatt Lonesome offer the prospect of a first time winner in the category.

Conspicuous on the list in several ways is Nashville-based Molly Tuttle. Her nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year came as no surprise. But with only two EPs released, she was tapped for Female Vocalist of the Year and she was named the first ever female nominee as Guitar Player of the Year, an historic breakthrough for a prize that’s been given since 1990.

Other Emerging Artist prospects include all female string and vocal group Sister Sadie, Boston-based Lonely Heartstring Band, repeat nominees Volume 5 and Bay Area-born, Nashville-based Front Country.

Artists earning Album of the Year nominations were The Gibson Brothers, Balsam Range, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, The Earls of Leicester and genre icon Bobby Osborne, who put out the acclaimed album Original at age 85.

IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger announced the much anticipated Hall of Fame inductees for this year.

Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard are arguably the most influential female duo in bluegrass history. Individually and together they set an example for songwriting and song revival in the old mountain style. They were social activists as well. Dickens died in 2011 while Gerrard remains active in Durham NC.

Bobby Hicks is one of the great fiddle players who spent years with Bill Monroe and his protégé Ricky Skaggs.

And Roland White, mandolinist and singer with The Kentucky Colonels in the 1960s became a career mainstay via the Nashville Bluegrass Band and his own ensemble from the 1980s onward.

Artist Sierra Hull, a nominee again in the Mandolinist of the Year category she won last year, announced the IBMA’s distinguished achievement award winners for 2017. They encompass artists, events and media that have served bluegrass music in a historically significant way. Recipients will be guitarist/songwriter Norman Blake, online news outlet Bluegrass Today, fiddler and educator Fletcher Bright, music venue Silver Dollar City and songwriting champion Louisa Branscomb.

The IBMA Awards will take place on Thursday, September 28 in Raleigh, NC as part of the multi-day World of Bluegrass convention and festival.

A complete list of nominees follows:

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Balsam Range

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

The Earls of Leicester

Flatt Lonesome

The Gibson Brothers

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

Balsam Range

Blue Highway

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Flatt Lonesome

The Gibson Brothers

INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

Balsam Range

The Earls of Leicester

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

Punch Brothers

SONG OF THE YEAR

“Blue Collar Dreams”

Balsam Range (artist), Aaron Bibelhauser (writer)

“Going Back to Bristol”

Shawn Camp (artist), Mac Wiseman/Thomm Jutz/Peter Cooper (writers)

“I Am a Drifter”

Volume Five (artist), Donna Ulisse/Marc Rossi (writers)

“Someday Soon”

Darin & Brooke Aldridge (artist), Ian Tyson (writer)

“The Train That Carried My Girl from Town”

The Earls of Leicester (artist), Frank Hutchison (writer)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Fiddler’s Dream

Michael Cleveland (artist), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Compass Records (label)

In the Ground

The Gibson Brothers (artist), Eric Gibson, Leigh Gibson, and Mike Barber (producers), Rounder Records (label)

Mountain Voodoo

Balsam Range (artist), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)

Original

Bobby Osborne (artist), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)

Rattle & Roar

The Earls of Leicester (artist), Jerry Douglas (producer), Rounder Records (label)

GOSPEL RECORDED PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

“Give Me Jesus”

Larry Cordle (artist), Traditional/Larry Cordle (writer), Give Me Jesus (album), Larry Cordle (producer), Mighty Cord Records (label)

“Hallelujah”

Blue Highway (artist), Public Domain arranged by Blue Highway (writer), Original Traditional (album), Blue Highway (producer), Rounder Records (label)

“I Found a Church Today”

The Gibson Brothers (artist), Eric Gibson/Leigh Gibson (writers), In the Ground (album), Eric Gibson, Leigh Gibson, and Mike Barber (producers), Rounder Records (label)

“Sacred Memories”

Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers with Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White Skaggs (artist), Dolly Parton (writer), Sacred Memories (album), Joe Mullins (producer), Rebel Records (label)

“Wish You Were Here”

Balsam Range (artist), James Stover/Michael Williams (writers), Mountain Voodoo (album), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)

INSTRUMENTAL RECORDED PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR

“Fiddler’s Dream”

Michael Cleveland (artist), Arthur Smith (writer), Fiddler’s Dream (album), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Compass Records (label)

“Great Waterton”

Kristin Scott Benson (artist), Kristin Scott Benson (writer), Stringworks (album), Kristin Scott Benson (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)

“Greenbrier”

Sam Bush (artist), Sam Bush/Scott Vestal (writers), Storyman (album), Sugar Hill Records (label)

“Little Liza Jane”

Adam Steffey (artist), Tommy Duncan/James Robert Wills (writers), Here to Stay (album), Adam Steffey (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)

“Flint Hill Special”

The Earls of Leicester (artist), Earl Scruggs (writer), Rattle & Roar (album), Jerry Douglas (producer), Rounder Records (label)

EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Front Country

The Lonely Heartstring Band

Molly Tuttle

Sister Sadie

Volume Five

RECORDED EVENT OF THE YEAR

“East Virginia Blues”

Ricky Wasson and Dan Tyminski (artists), Croweology: The Study of J.D. Crowe’s Musical Legacy (album), Rickey Wasson (producer), Truegrass Entertainment (label)

“Going Back to Bristol”

Shawn Camp with Mac Wiseman, Peter Cooper, Thomm Jutz (artists), I Sang the Song (Life of the Voice with a Heart) (album), Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz (producers), Mountain Fever Records (label)

“I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”

Bobby Osborne with Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, Rob Ickes, Stuart Duncan, Trey Hensley, Todd Phillips, Kenny Malone, Claire Lynch, and Bryan McDowell (artists), Original (album), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)

“Steamboat Whistle Blues”

Michael Cleveland featuring Sam Bush (artists), Fiddler’s Dream (album), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Compass Records (label)

“’Tis Sweet to Be Remembered”

Mac Wiseman and Alison Krauss (artists), I Sang the Song (Life of the Voice with a Heart) (album), Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz (producers), Mountain Fever Records (label)

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Shawn Camp

Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson

Buddy Melton

Russell Moore

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Brooke Aldridge

Dale Ann Bradley

Sierra Hull

Amanda Smith

Molly Tuttle

BANJO PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ned Luberecki

Joe Mullins

Noam Pikelny

Kristin Scott Benson

Sammy Shelor

BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Barry Bales

Alan Bartram

Mike Bub

Missy Raines

Tim Surrett

FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (6 candidates due to a tie vote)

Becky Buller

Jason Carter

Michael Cleveland

Stuart Duncan

Patrick McAvinue

Ron Stewart

DOBRO PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jerry Douglas

Andy Hall

Rob Ickes

Phil Leadbetter

Josh Swift

GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jim Hurst

Kenny Smith

Bryan Sutton

Molly Tuttle

Josh Williams

MANDOLIN PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jesse Brock

Sam Bush

Sierra Hull

Frank Solivan

Adam Steffey