Billy Strings, Béla Fleck, Molly Tuttle Win Big at Bluegrass Awards
With the re-formed Hurricane Ian bearing down on the Carolinas Thursday evening, forcing all of the festivities for the biggest gathering in bluegrass each year indoors, the International Bluegrass Music Association, or IBMA held their 33rd annual awards at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina, hosted by Dan Tyminski and Ronnie Bowman.
The IBMAs don’t always draw as much national intrigue as they have done this year due to the rising swell of talent among the bluegrass ranks, namely Billy Strings who’s become one of the hottest things in all of music, and Molly Tuttle who is also setting the bluegrass world on fire with her band Golden Highway. Add on top of that the return of a bluegrass legend in Béla Fleck through his latest album My Bluegrass Heart, and you had one big evening.
Billy Strings won the biggest prize of them all in the IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year. He adds that to his win for Artist of the Year a couple of weeks ago at the Americana Music Awards. Strings also won Song of the Year for the track “Red Daisy” from his latest album Renewal. But it was Béla Fleck who walked away with the most awards, winning Album of the Year for My Bluegrass Heart, Instrumental Group of the Year, as well as Banjo Player of the Year.
Molly Tuttle also had a solid night. Along with being nominated for most of the major awards, she won for Female Vocalist of the Year, while her fiddle player for Golden Highway, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, won for Fiddle Player of the Year.
Dolly Parton, Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson, and Sierra Hull were also big winners, while Rick Faris walked away with New Artist of the Year. See the full results below.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Billy Strings – WINNER
The Del McCoury Band
The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – WINNER
Del McCoury Band
INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
Béla Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart – WINNER
The Travelin’ McCourys
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Rick Faris – WINNER
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Blink of an Eye” – Artist: Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass; Songwriter: Robert Amos
“Deep River” – Artist: Rick Faris; Songwriters: Rick Faris and Brink Brinkman
“I’ll Take the Lonesome Every Time” – Artist: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; Songwriters: Glen Duncan and Jerry Salley
“Red Daisy” – Artist: Billy Strings; Songwriters: Jarrod Walker and Christian Ward – WINNER
“Riding the Chief” – Artist: Chris Jones & The Night Drivers; Songwriters: Chris Jones and Thomm Jutz
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Bluegrass Troubadour – Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass
Crooked Tree – Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
My Bluegrass Heart – Béla Fleck – WINNER
Never Slow Down – The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Renewal – Billy Strings
COLLABORATIVE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
“Blackbird” – Special Consensus with Amanda Smith, Dale Ann Bradley, Rob Ickes, and Alison Brown
“East Bound and Down” – The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys featuring Jason Carter & Bronwyn Keith-Hynes
“Honky Tonk Nights” – Del McCoury Band featuring Vince Gill
“In the Sweet By and By” – Dolly Parton with Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Bradley Walker, and Jerry Salley – WINNER
“One By One” – Dale Ann Bradley with Danny Paisley
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Del McCoury – WINNER
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Dale Ann Bradley
Molly Tuttle – WINNER
BANJO PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Béla Fleck – WINNER
Kristin Scott Benson
BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jason Moore – WINNER
FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Bronwyn Keith-Hynes – WINNER
RESOPHONIC GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Justin Moses – WINNER
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Cody Kilby – WINNER
MANDOLIN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sierra Hull – WINNER
September 30, 2022 @ 6:42 pm
Absolutely the best of the best in bluegrass… every one of them are top notch musicians and singers. Congrats to the winners – and all of the nominees. Bluegrass rocks! 🙂
October 8, 2022 @ 6:54 pm
Country Rocks. Bluegrass Rules.
Country Music Disciple
October 1, 2022 @ 10:00 am
Just saw Billy Strings play last night at the Frost Amphitheater in Palo Alto (Stanford University). This was my third time seeing him and his best show yet. First time was a 500 capacity venue in 2019, second was a 2,800 capacity venue last year and last night was 6,500. He is getting more popular every year. So thankful I first heard about him from Trigger and my family has got to experience his music and shows early in his career. I’ve been to at least 100 concerts of all kinds in my life and never heard so many people talk after/during the show about how blown away they are by Billy and his band. Truly deserving of Entertainer of the Year in any genre of music.
Luke the Drifter
October 1, 2022 @ 2:58 pm
I’m here at IBMA and it’s amazing. Such a strong combination of traditional and progressive bluegrass bands and artists of all ages. The music is in a really good place. Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway absolutely blew me away last night; they put on a show that exceeded my high expectations.
A couple under the radar bands that you should keep your eye on are Buffalo Commons, a Colorado group with drums and a bit of alt-country lyrical vibe but with amazing Cajun/Texas-influenced fiddle that will probably appeal to independent country fans; and my favorite discovery, Catfish in the Sky. They’re Berklee students playing with an innovative lineup of fiddle, cello, ukulele and cajon and playing a high-energy progressive take on Grisman-style jazzgrass and Celtic tunes but also Bill Monroe tunes. On the traditional side East Nash Grass is a strong young band with hard country vocals and great showmanship and banter of the cornpone classic country banter as well as superb musicianship.
weak knee-ed willie
October 2, 2022 @ 8:57 am
We have tix for Bela Fleck in Buffalo and for Billy Strings in Rochester this fall.
October 2, 2022 @ 3:47 pm
Great bunch of nominees and winners. Happy for Justin Moses in particular. He could have been nominated in just about any of the instrumentalist categories, although his wife is pretty tough to beat on mandolin. Hoping maybe Gaven Largent gets some love on resonator next year, but there are so many great players now I don’t envy the folks that have to come up with these nominations.
October 3, 2022 @ 6:24 am
I am very happy for Molly, Billy and Bela! I am also glad to see IBMA recognize folks who are on the progressive side of bluegrass. Their last albums, Crooked Tree, My Bluegrass Heart and Renewal are 5 star albums.
A few years back IBMA awarded the Earls of Leicester Entertainer of the Year. Although they are all incredible musicians, it shows a stagnation in the genre giving your biggest award to what is basically a cover band.