Billy Strings, Michael Cleveland Lead 2020 IBMA Bluegrass Noms

Like so many things in the music world in 2020, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass gathering in Raleigh, North Carolina will not be happening in person, and will be pivoting to an online virtual event to service the bluegrass community as best it can in the current environment.

“While we all would love to gather in Raleigh this year for IBMA World of Bluegrass, the extraordinary circumstances made this decision necessary,” says Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of IBMA. “Maintaining the health and safety of the large crowd we enjoy each year would be such an enormous, uncertain, and risky proposition. However, we know how important this week is to our bluegrass professionals and fans, so we are moving forward in new ways.”

However the 2020 IBMA Awards will go forward as scheduled, sans audience of course, but with an exceptional list of nominees for 2020. Leading all nominees is fiddle player Michael Cleveland with seven nominations total, and entirely worthy after releasing the weal-received album Tall Fiddler. He’s followed by the wondrous Billy Strings who had a breakout year in 2019, and receives four nominations.

The 31st annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards will be streamed online, and will take place during the September 28th to October 3rd virtual World of Bluegrass event, with a date and time to be announced in the future.

Entertainer Of The Year

  • Balsam Range
  • Billy Strings
  • Del McCoury Band
  • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
  • Sister Sadie
  • Special Consensus

Vocal Group Of The Year

  • Balsam Range
  • Blue Highway
  • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
  • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
  • Sister Sadie

Instrumental Group Of The Year

  • Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
  • Mile Twelve
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
  • Sam Bush Band
  • The Travelin’ McCourys

New Artist Of The Year

  • Appalachian Road Show
  • Carolina Blue
  • High Fidelity
  • Merle Monroe
  • Mile Twelve

Song Of The Year

  • Both Ends Of The Train – Blue Highway (artist), Tim Stafford/Steve Gulley (writers), Rounder Records, Blue Highway (producers)
  • Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Becky Buller/Missy Raines/Alison Brown (writers), Compass Records, Alison Brown (producer)
  • Haggard – The Grascals (artist), Harley Allen (writers), Mountain Home Music Company, The Grascals (producers)
  • Hickory, Walnut & Pine – The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (artist), Slaid Cleaves/Nathan Hamilton (writer), Rounder Records, Dave Maggar (producer)
  • Living Like There’s No Tomorrow – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Jim McBride/Roger Alan Murrah (writer), Billy Blue Records, Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producers)

Album Of The Year (tie)

  • Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Compass Records, Alison Brown (producer)
  • Home – Billy Strings (artist), Rounder Records, Glenn Brown (producer)
  • Live In Prague, Czech Republic – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Billy Blue Records, Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producers)
  • New Moon Over My Shoulder – Larry Sparks (artist), Rebel Records, Larry Sparks (producer)
  • Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland (artist), Compass Records, Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers)
  • Toil, Tears & Trouble – The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (artist), Rounder Records, Dave Maggard (producer)
  • Tribulation – Appalachian Road Show (artist), Billy Blue Records, Jim VanCleve, Barry Abernathy, and Appalachian Road Show (producers)

Gospel Recording Of The Year

  • Angel Too Soon – Balsam Range (artist), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Music Company (label)
  • Because He Loved Me – Dale Ann Bradley (artist), Dale Ann Bradley (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)
  • Gonna Rise And Shine – Alan Bibey & Grasstowne (artist), Mark Hodges (producer), Mountain Fever Records (label)
  • I’m Going To Heaven – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Little Black Train – Appalachian Road Show (artist), Barry Abernathy, Darrell Webb, and Ben Isaacs (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)

Instrumental Recording Of The Year

  • Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland (artist), Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers), Compass Records (label)
  • Shenandoah Breakdown – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Soldier’s Joy – Jesse McReynolds with Michael Cleveland (artist), Jesse McReynolds (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)
  • The Appalachian Road – Appalachian Road Show (artist), Jim VanCleve, Barry Abernathy, and Appalachian Road Show (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Guitar Peace – Billy Strings (artist), Glenn Brown (producer), Rounder Records (label)

Collaborative Recording Of The Year

  • Chicago Barn Dance – Special Consensus (artist), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
  • I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Jason Barie featuring Del McCoury & Paul William (artists), Jason Barie (producer), Billy Blue Records (label)
  • Tall Fiddler – Michael Cleveland with Tommy Emmanuel (artist), Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, and Sean Sullivan (producers), Compass Records (label)
  • The Barber’s Fiddle – Becky Buller with Shawn Camp, Jason Carter, Laurie Lewis, Kati Penn, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Johnny Warren, Stuart Duncan, Deanie Richardson, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Jason Barie, Fred Carpenter, Tyler Andal, Nate Lee, Dan Boner, Brian Christianson, and Laura Orshaw (artists), Stephen Mougin (producer), Dark Shadow Recording (label)
  • On and On – Gena Britt with Brooke Aldridge (artists), Gena Britt (producer), Pinecastle Records (label)

Male Vocalist Of The Year

  • Ronnie Bowman
  • Del McCoury
  • Russell Moore
  • Danny Paisley
  • Larry Sparks

Female Vocalist Of The Year

  • Brooke Aldridge
  • Dale Ann Bradley
  • Amanda Smith
  • Molly Tuttle
  • Rhonda Vincent

Instrumental Performers Of The Year


  • Kristin Scott Benson
  • Gena Britt
  • Gina Furtado
  • Ned Luberecki
  • Scott Vestal


  • Barry Bales
  • Mike Bub
  • Todd Phillips
  • Missy Raines
  • Marshall Wilborn


  • Becky Buller
  • Jason Carter
  • Michael Cleveland
  • Stuart Duncan
  • Deanie Richardson

Resophonic Guitar

  • Jerry Douglas
  • Andy Hall
  • Rob Ickes
  • Phil Leadbetter
  • Justin Moses


  • Trey Hensley
  • Billy Strings
  • Bryan Sutton
  • Molly Tuttle
  • Jake Workman


  • Alan Bibey
  • Jesse Brok
  • Sam Bush
  • Sierra Hull
  • Ronnie McCoury

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