The 20th International Bluegrass Music Awards will be handed out in Nashville on the 1st of October.  The nomination list this year is dominated by former sidemen-turned-bandleaders.

Dan Tyminski is best known for singing and playing the guitar with Alison Krauss and Union Station. But when Alison opted to tour with singer Robert Plant and leave the bluegrass boys at home this year, the longtime sideman decided to put together his own band and went into the studio and recorded Wheels. 

Smart move on his part, as the CD earned Dan and his band nine IBMA nominations including Entertainer, Instrumental Group, Male Vocalist and Album of the Year.

But Dan isn't the only one to score big with a side project.

Academy Award and Grammy winning actor, author, comedian and banjo player Steve Martin received six nominations for his first ever CD made up of solely banjo music.

The title track to The Crow earned Steve and his sidemen (including banjo legend Earl Scruggs!) nominations for Instrumental Recorded Performance and Recorded Event of the Year.  That last award goes to a project that isn't your ordinary album and Steve's CD -- produced by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McCuen and including appearances by world famous banjo players including Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka, and Bela Fleck -- is just that! 

The other nominees are Rob Ickes and Andy Leftwich for Angeline the Baker, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeepers Jerusalem Ridge, Struttin' to Ferrum by the Lonesome River Band, and Don't Tread on Me by Kristin Scott Benson.

If you're only familiar with Steve Martin from his movies, you may not know that he has been playing the banjo for many years.  He learned to play as a teenager, but put put it aside while concentrating on his comedy, acting and writing careers.

Steve Martin's return to bluegrass didn't surprise fellow nominee (and banjo player) Eric Gibson of The Gibson Brothers. "You see artists all the time that have played bluegrass when they were young, and then go off and play other kinds of music," Gibson said.  "They always come back to it. Once you start liking bluegrass and playing bluegrass I think it gets hold of you and it never lets go." 

The Gibson Brothers Iron and Diamonds is one of the five tunes nominated for the IBMA Song of the Year, and is the only one in the category this year that was written by the artist who performs it. The other nominees are: Don't Throw Mama's Flowers Away written by Chris Stuart and Ivan Rosenberg and performed by Danny Paisley and Southern Grass, Tom T. Hall's Leaving Baker County recorded by Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, John Herald's Moneyland, sung by The Del McCoury Band, and Dan Tyminski's version of Patrick MacDougal's Wheels.

Duo Dailey & Vincent are up for seven awards this year, including Entertainer, Vocal Group and Album of the Year for their second CD Brothers From Different Mothers.

Jamie Dailey has also been nominated for Male Vocalist of the year, a trophy he took home last year.

Other groups with multiple nominations include Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper with six, and Blue Highway, The Isaacs, Danny Paisley, The Del McCoury Band, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, and Rhonda Vincent & The Rage with four each.

The 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards show will be hosted by singer Kathy Mattea and the band Hot Rize, and will be broadcast on VOA's Roots and Branches, beginning 13 October. For a complete list of nominees, visit the IBMA website.