NASHVILLE, TN – Each year, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) recognizes up to five individuals for their significant contributions to bluegrass music with its highest honor outside of induction into the Hall of Fame--the Distinguished Achievement Award. This year’s recipients of IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards include:
Deering Banjo Company: Greg and Janet Deering started the Deering Banjo Company as a family business in 1975. In its 39-year history, the company has created more than 100,000 banjos, all built by hand in Deering’s Spring Valley, California facility. The company’s mission statement is “to champion the banjo and inspire creativity around the globe by supplying the best quality, American-made banjos to players of all abilities.” Noted Deering players are many, and include Béla Fleck, Jens Kruger and Eric Gibson.
The Delmore Brothers: The brother-style duets of the Delmore Brothers have influenced generations of performers, but many would argue that it is their superb songwriting that cemented the duo’s stamp on bluegrass history. Artists from Vince Gill to the late Doc Watson have recorded songs from brothers Rabon and Alton Delmore’s rich catalog. “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar,” “Blues Stay Away From Me” and “Big River Blues” (also known as “Deep River Blues”) are just some of the signature songs that have left a lasting impression on bluegrass music.
European Bluegrass Music Association: Since its inception in 1995, the European Bluegrass Music Association has worked to support bluegrass music across borders, both regional and national. The non-profit organization produces a magazine (Bluegrass Europe) for its members, promotes bluegrass festivals held throughout Europe, and holds regular gatherings, known as Bluegrass Summits, aimed at supporting and encouraging the burgeoning bluegrass scene across Europe.
Hillbilly at Harvard: The radio show Hillbilly at Harvard, broadcast weekly over Harvard's student-run radio station, WHRB, has been an influence and inspiration for generations of bluegrass and country fans in New England since it debuted in 1948. Billed as "Boston's original Saturday morning country-music jamboree," it directly influenced the founders of Rounder Records (now in its 44th year) and the Boston Bluegrass Union, formed in 1976. The show has also had an ongoing impact on many generations of musicians in the fertile Northeastern scene, and now, via the Internet, can be heard all across the globe.
Bill Keith: Bill Keith has had a great impact on modern banjo playing, particularly in what is often termed “newgrass.” Influenced by both Earl Scruggs and Pete Seeger, Keith developed his own unique style, which became known as the melodic, chromatic or “Keith”- picking style. Keith has toured and performed with top bluegrass bands – including a brief stint with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in the early 1960s - and with artists like Jonathan Edwards, Ian & Sylvia, Judy Collins, The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Muleskinner.
The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented at a Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 2 during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event. Those who would like to attend must purchase a business conference pass for Thursday.
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 – October 2; the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2; the Wide Open Bluegrass, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 – October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass website. Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival starts as low as $50, with a three-day Bluegrass Ramble pass available for $75. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.
Performers for the free Street Festival portion of Wide Open Bluegrass will be announced in the coming weeks.
Official hashtags: #WOB, #IBMA, #Raleigh
Judy McDonough, JEMMedia
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Taylor Coughlin, IBMA
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