The International Bluegrass Music Association, or IBMA, recently held its annual convention and festival in Nashville, Tennessee. VOA's Katherine Cole reports on one of the highlights of "bluegrass week", the 19th annual IBMA Awards Show, honoring the genre's best singers, songwriters and performers.
For the second year in a row, Dale Ann Bradley was named the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year. Michael Cleveland received his sixth Fiddle Player of the Year win, and he and his band, Flamekeeper, took the Instrumental Group of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Instrumental Album of the year went to Andy Hall. "Sounds of the Steel Guitar" is the first solo release for Hall, perhaps best-known as a member of the Infamous Stringdusters, the band named IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year last year.
A few new names were among the Instrumental Performers of the Year. Josh Williams won his very first award for Guitar Player of the Year, and Kristin Scott Benson was named Banjo Player of the Year for the first time. Adam Steffey received his sixth award for mandolin playing, and, for a record 10th time, Rob Ickes of the band Blue Highway was named Dobro Player of the Year. Blue Highway's "Through the Window of a Train," written by band members Tim Stafford and Steve Gulley, took Song of the Year honors.
But the name heard most often during this year's IBMA Awards belonged to a band that hadn't played a single show at this time last year, Daily and Vincent.
When the 2007 IBMA awards were handed out, Jamie Dailey was best known as the lead singer of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and Darrin Vincent was working with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. The duo of Dailey and Vincent played their first official show last October, and released their first CD in January, which makes it all the more incredible that when this year's IBMA nominations were announced eight months later, Dailey and Vincent received 10 nominations.
In an interview just hours before the awards cermeony, both men still sounded shocked by their good fortune.
"We're very thankful to have 10 nominations," Vincent said. "It's overwhelming, exciting …"
"We were crying. During the press conference, Darrin and I both stood there and cried," Dailey said. "I mean, we were blown away! We did not expect that. We thought, 'Man, if we can get one nomination we are going to be so happy!' And we got 10, and we could not believe what we were hearing! We are so humbled, too, because we know that what we have today could be gone tomorrow. So we're living for the moment and enjoying it. It's wonderful!
In the end, Dailey and Vincent dominated the evening, taking home seven awards between them. Jamie Dailey was named IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and Darrin Vincent received an award for his contribution to "Everett Lilly and Everybody and Their Brother," the Recorded Event of the Year. As a duo, the pair won the prestigious Entertainer of the Year trophy, along with the awards for Vocal Group, Emerging Artist, Gospel Recorded Performance, and Album of the Year.
If this sounds like something you'd like to see for yourself, the 20th International Bluegrass Music Awards are scheduled for October 2009. Visit IBMA.org for more information.