The best of bluegrass was celebrated Thursday night at the International Bluegrass Music Awards.
And while many acts were repeat winners, there were a few musicians who won awards for the first time in their nominated categories.
Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers took home the top Entertainer of the Year Award for the first time. It also was the first year they were nominated in the category, though they have collected plenty of IBMA awards before this year. That includes Song of the Year last year and Emerging Artists of the Year in 2012. Mullins also has won Broadcaster of the Year in 2016.
The group also won the award for Collaborative Recording of the Year for “The Guitar Song,” with Del McCoury.
The 30th annual awards were held at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in downtown Raleigh, capping off the IBMA’s conference and leading into a weekend of free bluegrass music at Wide Open Bluegrass.
Other musicians who won their categories for the first time are:
▪ Sister Sadie, Vocal Group of the Year
▪ Billy Strings, Guitar Player of the Year (his first nomination). Strings also won New Artist of the Year.
▪ Alan Bibey, Mandolin Player of the Year
The awards are given in 17 categories, voted on by the IBMA’s professional membership, according to a news release.
Mike Auldridge, Bill Emerson and The Kentucky Colonels were honored Thursday as inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
Del McCoury and Jim Lauderdale hosted the awards.
2019 International Bluegrass Music Awards winners
Here is the complete list of winners, according to a news release:
▪ Entertainer of the Year: Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers (1st win in category)
▪ Vocal Group of the Year: Sister Sadie (1st win in category)
▪ Instrumental Group of the Year: Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (5th win in category)
▪ Song of the Year: “Thunder Dan” – Sideline (artist), Josh Manning (writer) Tim Surrett (producer), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
▪ Album of the Year: “Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass” – Del McCoury Band (artist), Del and Ronnie McCoury (producer), McCoury Music (label) (2nd win in this category, with a previous win in 2004)
▪ Gospel Recording of the Year: “Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout” – Claire Lynch (artist), Jerry Salley (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
▪ Instrumental Recording of the Year: “Darlin’ Pal(s) of Mine” – Missy Raines with Alison Brown, Mike Bub, and Todd Phillips (artist), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
▪ New Artist of the Year: Billy Strings
▪ Collaborative Recording of the Year: “The Guitar Song” – Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers with Del McCoury (artists), Joe Mullins (producer), Jerry Salley (associate producer) Billy Blue (label)
▪ Female Vocalist of the Year: Brooke Aldridge (3rd third win in category)
▪ Male Vocalist of the Year: Russell Moore (6th win in category)
▪ Banjo Player of the Year: Kristin Scott Benson (5th win in category)
▪ Bass Player of the Year: Missy Raines (8th win in category)
▪ Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year: Phil Leadbetter (3rd win in category)
▪ Fiddle Player of the Year: Michael Cleveland (12th win in category)
▪ Guitar Player of the Year: Billy Strings (1st win in category)
▪ Mandolin Player of the Year: Alan Bibey (1st win in category)
IBMA Industry Awards
▪ Broadcaster of the Year: Michelle Lee
▪ Event of the Year: Blueberry Bluegrass Festival – Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada
▪ Liner Notes of the Year: “Epilogue: A Tribute to John Duffey,” Akira Otsuka, Dudley Connell, Jeff Place, Katy Daley
▪ Graphic Designer of the Year: Michael Armistead
▪ Writer of the Year: David Morris
▪ Songwriter of the Year: Jerry Salley
▪ Sound Engineer of the Year: Ben Surratt
▪ Distinguished Achievement Awards: Katy Daley, Mickey Gamble, Dan Hays, Allen Mills, and Moonshiner