Bluegrass music comes together to honor its best

The International Bluegrass Music Association hosted its annual week-long celebration of the genre in Raleigh recently.
Thousands poured into the city’s clubs, venues and hotels to see countless concerts by established artists such as David Davis and the Warrior River Boys of Alabama, hopefuls such as the Baker Family of Missouri, and Rebekah Long of Nashville, who desire to expand their career success into national and international strides.

I visited with Davis in his band’s booth (https://www.daviddavisandwrb.com/).
“It’s been an amazing week,” Davis said, who is riding high on the success of his latest Rounder release “Didn’t He Ramble : Songs of Charlie Poole.” “We have met with fans, event promoters, disc jockeys and all types of media folks. It’s like a musical family reunion with old friends and new ones.”

I ran across Trustin Baker, the 2018 Grand Master Fiddler Champion, in the hallway of the Marriott. He had traveled from Missouri to perform with his family (thebakerfamilybluegrass.com/).  He actually joined in a jam session playing a tune with my fiddle.
Rebekah Long told me she was having a great time at the event appearing on numerous showcases with her band with her producer Donna Ulisse in tow. Long’s recent CDs include “Run Away” and “Here I Am” (www.rebekahlong.com).
Awards were handed out highlighting the greatest successes of the past year. Some of the winners include: Balsam Range as  entertainer of the year; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver as vocal group; The Travelin’ McCourys as instrumental group; Buddy Melton as male vocalist; Brooke Aldridge as female vocalist; Sierra Hull as mandolin player; Molly Tuttle as guitar player; Michael Cleveland as fiddle player; The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys as emerging artist; Becky Buller brought home gospel recorded performance with “Speakin’ to That Mountain;” “Swept Away” with Missy Raines, Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Hull and Tuttle won recorded event.

Hall of Fame inductees included Ricky Skaggs, Paul Williams and Tom T. and Dixie Hall.
I applaud these additions to the hall. All have contributed amazingly to the genre!

I was privileged to return to direct a portion of the awards welcoming multi-Grammy winner Jerry Douglas to host the Distinguished Achievement Awards and several special awards. The IBMA’s second highest honor went to Curtis McPeake, Walter Saunders, Chris Thile, Christopher Howard-Williams, and George Gruhn. My old friend Jerry Salley was awarded as bluegrass songwriter of the year.

Learn more about the music and the organization at ibma.org.