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Bluegrass Musicians Honored in Nashville

The annual conference of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) was held recently in Nashville, Tennessee. VOA's Katherine Cole attended, and filed this report on the 16th annual IBMA awards, held at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium.

The IBMA awards show began with a live performance by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Skaggs, heard there performing "Sis Draper," co-hosted the evening award ceremony with Alison Krauss, and won his seventh award for Instrumental Group of the Year.

Larry Sparks performed "John Deere Tractor" during the IBMA awards show. He won Male Vocalist honors for the second consecutive year. He also received awards for Best Album, and Recorded Event for his album 40, a title that refers to the length of his career.

Another eagerly awaited award was for Female Vocalist of the Year. The nominees were: Dale Ann Bradley, Cia Cherryholmes, Sonya Isaacs, Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent.

"I don't stand on this stage those 300 days we're on the road," said Ms. Vincent after winning. "I don't travel in the Martha White Bluegrass Express, or travel or stand on that stage by myself. I want to recognize these guys who stand here with me, my band; Josh Williams, Kenny Ingram, Hunter Berry and Nicky Harris. And I just feel like they're some of the greatest musicians in bluegrass music!"

The Grascals, who spent much of the year on tour with Dolly Parton, won Emerging Artist of the Year. The group also won Song of the Year for "Me And John And Paul," a tune written by Harley Allen.

The family group Cherryholmes won Entertainer of the Year, the top award of the evening.

The Cherryholmes' achievement is a remarkable one, as the group has been playing music for just about five years. Jere and Sandy Cherryholmes started their family band after attending a bluegrass festival in 1999. At the time, the family was looking to raise their spirits, not start a new life. Jere Cherryholmes' acceptance speech started out seriously, but ended on a lighthearted note.

The International Bluegrass Music Awards are selected by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association, the trade organization for the bluegrass music industry.

The 2005 Awards program ended with a performance of Bill Monroe's "Bluegrass Breakdown" by Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury and others. That bluegrass supergroup played the song in honor of Monroe and his band that had introduced bluegrass music on that same Ryman Auditorium stage 60 years earlier.