WAMU’s Bluegrass Country is broadcasting live from Nashville September 26-30. Click here for a complete schedule of our live programming. In addition to our broadcast, we’ll also be blogging daily. Today’s blogger is Bluegrass Country production coordinator Jerad Walker.
Support for today’s blog comes from Make Welcome Entertainment.
There’s a lot to do in the Nashville. Great BBQ to eat, plenty of loud honky tonks filled with young gunslingers and party-goers, museums, concerts, and more.
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass only adds to that excitement with artist showcases, endless amounts of jamming, and even the odd Steve Martin sighting (photo below). That being said, you might be surprised to find out that my absolute favorite thing about Nashville and the World of Bluegrass week is a lunch. But this isn’t just any lunch.
The IBMA Special Awards Luncheon happens each year at around 11:30 am on the same day as the more well-known and publicized IBMA Award Show. What the luncheon lacks in publicity it more than makes up for in drama and feel-good feelings.
During this luncheon IBMA awards for excellence in print and broadcast media, festival planning, and album packaging are given out. Additionally, IBMA gives out the Distguished Achievement Awards– honors which recognize individuals in the bluegrass music industry who have fostered the music’s image with developments that will broaden the genre’s recognition and accessibility. These presentations are typically dramatic, never undeserved, and often lead to tears both on the stage and in the crowd. This year was no exception.
Our very own Katy Daley won the IBMA Broadcaster of the Year award, the second of her illustrious career. We just couldn’t be prouder of Katy.
And another Washington DC area bluegrasser (and sometime WAMU contributer), Juli Thanki also won the award for Bluegrass Print Media Personality of the Year. Here’s a great photo of the two of them with their awards and Eric Gibson of The Gibson Brothers…
Bill Knowlton (below with Leigh Gibson) was presented with the first Distinguished Achievement Award of the day by Leigh Gibson of The Gibson Brothers. Bill was a pioneer of bluegrass broadcasting and festival organizing in New York during the 1970s, has hosted the Bluegrass Ramble radio show for nearly 40 years, and gives Jim Lauderdale a good for his money when it comes to having the best pants in bluegrass. However, Bill’s outfit for the evening was surprisingly understated, i must say.
Lilly Pavlak (below) was acknowledged for her pioneering work as a bluegrass journalist, manager/tour promoter, and photographer in the European bluegrass community. Lilly shared a wonderful story about a bluegrass mix tape that she had smuggled to friends behind the Iron Curtain in her native country of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). A little over a decade after sending the tape, she was hitchhiking in the newly free and open democratic nation. She hopped into a car and the occupants were listening to a copy of a copy of a copy of her original tape. She said at that moment, she was truly home.
Geoff Stelling (below with his wife) was honored for his work with Stelling Banjo Works and his invention of the innovative “pivot-pin” tailpiece for the banjo.
Roland White (below) was recognized for his influential and illustrious career that included stints with The Country Gazette, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, and The Kentucky Colonels, just to name a few. Roland somehow misplaced his speech, but gave an emotional replacement on the spot.
Greg Cahill won the final Distinguished Achievement Award of the day for his work with Special Consensus, IBMA (he was once the IBMA Board of Directors President), and Traditional American Music Program,one of the first (if not the first) organizations to ever promote the study of bluegrass music in schools. Greg and his band Special Consensus will be my guests tomorrow at 3 pm ET (4 pm CT). If you are in Nashville, please stop by our room (107) at the Nashville Convention Center to watch the interview and performance and tell Greg “Congratulations!” in person.