Joe Mullins, Del McCoury, Michael Cleveland, Missy Rains and newcomer Billy Strings were multiple winners in the 30th annual bluegrass music awards presented by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
The winners were announced during a gala awards presentation on September 26 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. The awards show is part of World of Bluegrass, the IBMA annual conference/music festival that September 24-28.
Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers took the Entertainer of the Year Award, the Del McCoury Band won Album of the Year for “Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass,” and the Collaborative Recording of the Year was “The Guitar Song,” performed by Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers with Del McCoury.
Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper were the Instrumental Group of the Year, and Cleveland won Fiddle Player of the Year honors. Billy Strings was named New Artist of the Year and Guitar Player of the Year. Missy Rains won Bass Player of the Year and Instrumental Recording of the Year for “Darlin’ Pal(s) of Mine,” a collaboration with Alison Brown, Mike Bubb and Todd Phillips.
The other individual instrument awards went to Kristen Scott Benson (guitar), Alan Bibey (mandolin) and Phil Leadbetter (resophonic guitar).
Top Male and Female Vocalist awards were presented to Russell Moore and Brooke Aldridge, with the Vocal Group of the Year award going to Sister Sadie.
The Song of the Year is Sideline’s “Thunder Dan,” written by John Manning. Gospel Recording of the Year is “Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout” by Claire Lynch.
During the awards show, the IBMA also inducted new members into its Hall of Fame: two legends of Washington-area bluegrass – Dobro player Mike Auldridge and banjoist Bill Emerson, plus the influential California band The Kentucky Colonels.
Other awards were presented during the conference, including Industry Awards and Momentum Awards for rising talent.
Katy Daly, who was a mainstay of WAMU and Bluegrass Country for many years, was the recipient of one of five Distinguished Service Awards. Katy is a two-time IBMA Broadcaster of the Year. Other recipients were Mountain Home Records founder Mickey Gamble, past IBMA executive director Dan Hays, musician Allen Mills and Sab Watanabe for the Japanese bluegrass magazine Moonshiner.