There is nothing quite like walking through halls of musicians four or five gathered up close together playing and singing reveling in the blessings that the gift of music brings.
I was honored to attend the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh, N.C. That is what I saw as walked around the convention center, the streets, the nearby hotels. What was most endearing is that many of the players appeared to be college and high school age and younger.
It is safe to say that the sounds of the music are safe in many talented hands.
The event features exhibits, numerous concerts, seminars, a film festival, and awards. I was privileged once again to serve as one of the producers helping honor our legendary performers with the Distinguished Achievement Award and new award winners in several categories. I want to congratulate them all but I especially want to recognize banjo legend Bill Keith, who helped redefined how the banjo was played, and The Delmore Brothers, whose music fueled the bluegrass music catalog.
Two shining moments in the evening awards were the induction of historian and musician Neil Rosenberg and the original Seldom Scene into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
The performance by the surviving original members of the Seldom Scene and those who have fostered the legacy throughout the years of their classic song “Wait a Minute” was soul stirring.
Balsam Range was the clear break through of the evening taking Vocal Group, Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year for their Buddy Melton. Emerging Artist of the Year went to a talented group – Flatt Lonesome while Song of the Year is “Dear Sister” performed by Claire Lynch and written by Georgia composer Louisa Branscomb and Lynch. These are just a handful of the evening’s honors and more info can be found at ibma.org. Various nominees sharing the best of what gained them attention in the last year filled the evening with outstanding performances.
The city of Raleigh deserves a great round of applause for all they do to support the event and the IBMA staff and volunteers should receive a standing ovation for coordinating a great success. If you have never attended, I hope you will make plans to do so in 2015. If you love bluegrass, you should spend some time enjoying it there.