Recipients of First IBMA Momentum Awards Announced: Appalachian Uprising, Emily Bankester, Mike Bub, Samson Grisman, Alex Hargreaves, Monroeville, Christian Ward, Emilee Warner

L-R: Matt Munsey (Monroeville), Emily Bankester (The Bankesters), producers of Appalachian Uprising; photo by Alane Anno

The International Bluegrass Music Association’s new Momentum Awards, designed to recognize promising new talent, were presented during World of Bluegrass this week at the Nashville Convention Center.

The Momentum Awards focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music. Five artists received performance awards, while three industry awards went to key contributors in the bluegrass industry.

Momentum Awards for Industry Achievement (Emilee Warner); Instrumentalists of the Year (Alex Hargreaves, Samson Grisman and Christian Ward); and Mentor of the Year (Mike Bub) were presented Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 5:45 p.m. on the showcase stage on Level 1 at the Nashville Convention Center.

Event/Venue of the Year (Appalachian Uprising, produced by Steve Cielic); Band of the Year (Monroeville); and Vocalist of the Year (Emily Bankester) were presented on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 5:45 p.m. before evening artist showcases.


The three instrumentalists recognized this year include fiddler Alex Hargreaves from Oregon, who performs with Sarah Jarosz; bassist Samson Grisman with The Deadly Gentlemen; and Christian Ward, who plays fiddle with Sierra Hull. Grisman (the son of legendary mandolinist David “Dawg” Grisman) and Ward are both from California.

The first Momentum Award for Industry Achievement goes to Crash Avenue publicist Emilee Warner in New York City. Warner is active on IBMA committees and serves on the Americana Music Association board of directors. 

Five-time IBMA Bass Player of the Year and producer Mike Bub was recognized for his work as a Mentor to young musicians. 

Appalachian Uprising, a festival in Scottown, Ohio held every summer in June, presents artists ranging from Melvin Goins and Junior Sisk to the Infamous Stringdusters, David Mayfield Parade, and the Vespers.

Monroeville, a new band with young but veteran members, released a self-titled EP on its own label in 2011, hosted the first Hard Rock Cafe AcoustiCana Series show during last year's World of Bluegrass, and is as likely to perform at schools across the country as at festivals and clubs.   

Emily Bankester, from Illinois, sings and plays fiddle with The Bankesters. The family band’s new album, Looking Forward, includes the song “Don’t Try to Be Anyone Else,” for which a new video was released this month.

“The talents of emerging artists and industry professionals are essential to keeping bluegrass alive and growing, and the IBMA board feels these individuals deserve special recognition for the hard work and the contributions they are making to the industry as a whole,” says IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “The Momentum Awards are a supplement to the current IBMA Awards structure, created to encourage growth and a wider sense of ownership and pride in the organization.”

IBMA Momentum Awards are intended to encourage professionalism in bluegrass music among every generation. For more info, please contact the IBMA office at 888-GET-IBMA or info@ibma.org

Photo by Alane Anno