Winners from the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Awards
The International Bluegrass Music Association held their annual awards gala on Thursday evening (9-28) as part of their week-long conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Earls of Leicester were once again the big winner for Entertainer of the Year for the third year running, while a couple of young instrumentalists also made big news.
Guitarist Molly Tuttle, on the heels of her most recent album Rise, earned a landmark first for a female in bluegrass when she won for Guitar Player of the Year. The distinction comes mere days after it was announced she had been signed by Compass Records. Tuttle was the first female in the 27-year history of the IBMA’s to even be nominated for the award, let alone win it, and it now puts Tuttle on sure footing for a bright future in the subgenre.
Sierra Hull pulled off a similar feat in 2016 when she became the first woman Mandolin Player of the Year, and Hull took home the distinction again in 2017, along with sharing a portion of Recorded Event of the Year for “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” with Bobby Osborne and Alison Brown. It made Sierra Hull only one of two acts to walk away with multiple awards on the night.
Other big winners on the evening were Balsam Range and Mountain Voodoo for Album of the Year, and “I Am a Drifter” by Volume Five for Song of the Year. Volume Five also scored Emerging Artists of the Year honors. You can see a full list of the winners below.
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▪ Entertainer of the year: Earls of Leicester
▪ Vocal group of the year: Flatt Lonesome
▪ Instrumental group of the year: Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
▪ Song of the year: “I Am a Drifter,” Volume Five (written by Donna Ulisse and Marc Rossi)
▪ Album of the year: Balsam Range, “Mountain Voodoo”
▪ Female vocalist of the year: Brooke Aldridge
▪ Male vocalist of the year: Shawn Camp
▪ Emerging artist of the year: Volume Five
▪ Gospel recorded performance of the year: (tie) Gibson Brothers’ “I Found a Church Today” and Joe Mullins & Radio Ramblers’ “Sacred Memories” (with Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White)
▪ Instrumental recorded performance: Michael Cleveland, “Fiddler’s Dream”
▪ Recorded event of the year: “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” Bobby Osborne with Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, others
▪ Banjo player of the year: Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers)
▪ Bass player of the year: Alan Bartram (Del McCory Band)
▪ Dobro player of the year: Josh Swift (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver)
▪ Fiddle player of the year: Patrick McAvinue
▪ Guitar player of the year: Molly Tuttle
▪ Mandolin player of the year: Sierra Hull
September 29, 2017 @ 9:29 am
The fairer sex seems to be doing just fine in the bluegrass world!
September 29, 2017 @ 9:34 am
I had to look her (MOLLY) up on youtube… wow! I’ve never even seen this guitar style before…She’s playing it like it was a banjo…
September 29, 2017 @ 10:59 am
she used to mainly play banjo in her family’s bluegrass band The Tuttles with A.J. Lee. im a big fan of the band if you enjoy bluegrass you should check out some of their videos on youtube you wont regret it.
September 29, 2017 @ 3:39 pm
I find some videos after reading Triggers article. And have been watching few of them. Had never heard about them before (The Tuttles) they sure are good musician and nice to listening to.
But her singing is a bit to soft for me, not sure if “soft” is the right
word. I just can’t find any other. But I don’t mean any disrespect for her, on the contrary, I have the deepest respect for, and are very happy that so talented people, continue to sing and play this kind of music. Even though they don’t make much money from it..
September 29, 2017 @ 4:18 pm
You hit the nail right on the head with the last couple sentences Kent. Bluegrass musicians do it for the right reasons, love for the music and respect for the innovators that started this genre 80 odd years ago and travelled constantly to spread it throughout the country then the world. Thankfully it isn’t about money so there is no incentive for these artists to pervert their values to get videos played and have chart topping hits. Bluegrass Rules!
September 29, 2017 @ 10:21 am
Patrick McAvenue!!! unbelievable!
if Flamekeeper hadn’t gotten instrumental group I’d be steamed they’re my favorite band but patrick mcavenue is a hot fiddler too
September 29, 2017 @ 11:25 am
She can do some fine picking!
September 29, 2017 @ 2:05 pm
Molly Tuttle is an amazing, accomplished, sweet, wonderful musician. If you love your musicians, your music will love you back. Trust them!
September 29, 2017 @ 8:34 pm
Ya. Trust him. He’s a decent person. 🙂
September 29, 2017 @ 2:21 pm
Where do y’all suggest I start listening to bluegrass?
September 29, 2017 @ 2:37 pm
The two records I personally recommend for folks as good primers to the genre are:
Bill Monroe: Live Recordings 1956-1969 Off The Record by Smithsonian Folkways
Soundtrack: O Brother Where Art Thou
September 29, 2017 @ 3:43 pm
Yes, “O Brother Where Art Thou” is relly a good introduction.
Bill from Wisconsin
September 29, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
Del Mccouray Band
Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys
The Steeldrivers (Chris Stapleton era, I find that people not used to the high lonesome sound find this a little more palatable to start with). Same with Band of Ruhks, which I have come to enjoy lately.
September 29, 2017 @ 7:20 pm
Vincent Black Lightning 1952 is one of my favorite songs of all times.
September 29, 2017 @ 9:41 pm
What a great song!
September 29, 2017 @ 10:11 pm
Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, and Flatt & Scruggs were building block artists. They were first generation performers that laid the foundation for the genre and are still revered today. A good starting place is with those three.
Beyond that, I’d recommend the following:
*J.D. Crowe & the New South
*The Bluegrass Album Band
*Del McCory Band (recommend “Del and the Boys”)
*Alison Krauss & Union Station (recommend “Live”)
*Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (recommend “Bluegrass Rules!,” “Ancient Tones,” and “Brand New Strings”)
October 1, 2017 @ 8:26 pm
Great list, Big Red. I’d also throw in Earls of Leicester as well … can’t go wrong with Jerry Douglas and crew.
Josh – If you want a taste of bluegrass played live, Google Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver doing Blue Train. I’d suggest the version taped on the show Bluegrass Underground. Pretty impressive. My wife and I saw them do Blue Train in concert 3-4 years ago in nice 2000 seat venue, and they blew the top off of the joint.
September 30, 2017 @ 2:47 am
It was this song that got me started to listening to bluegrass and I think it could be
a good introduction to others as well : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r0FtxqR9Pc
From one om my favorite Emmylo Harris album
“Roses In The Snow” (Come to think about it.The whole album is good introduction…)
October 1, 2017 @ 8:19 am
James King Band
September 29, 2017 @ 3:11 pm
Sierra Hull is such a fantastic mandolin player. Glad she’s getting recognition.
September 29, 2017 @ 7:34 pm
Why can’t songwriters write and play with these musicians? What does Shane McAnally have on this kind of depth?
September 30, 2017 @ 6:24 am
A lot of writers are getting cuts in the Bluegrass world. You don’t make a ton of money from one cut, but you get multiple cuts which sort of evens it out a little bit. Trust me, when someone tells you that your songs are too story driven or sad, there’s always room in the growing Bluegrass songwriting camp. The artists are also much more accessible. So there’s none of that song plugger bullshit involved.
No dealing with non musician publishers.
Writing for Bluegrass is very rewarding artistically, and will keep writers from selling out or flipping burgers. You can also write instrumentals which is rad as well.
September 30, 2017 @ 9:32 am
Molly Tuttle wrote “Good Enough.”
Hard to hear the opening bars and not think, “That’s the new Alison Krauss.”
September 30, 2017 @ 12:25 pm
Hey, nothing wrong with that. Cool thing about Alison and a lot of other folks too is that a lot of times when they pick songs they don’t even listen to it first. She will actually read the lyrics without the music/melody before she decides whether she wants to move forward with making a cut. So it actually has to be poetic and/or tell a good story. Then the melody is listened to after the fact. I really dig that approach.
September 29, 2017 @ 8:07 pm
Finally. With Bluegrass music a person has to prove they are an actual musician. They can’t strum along with a whiney voice, making fun of the fans, focused on throwing a glorious lifestyle around, being a legend in their own mind, while destroying the world. That would be something weird to watch.
September 29, 2017 @ 9:56 pm
I appreciate the coverage of the IBMAs here. It amazes me to think that bluegrass used to be heard on country radio – and within my lifetime. I think it’s fair to argue that Saving Country Music requires bluegrass – or certain elements of it, at least: the musicianship, the multiple solos, the Gospel songs.
Also, the awards ceremony can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/intlbluegrass/videos/10155217508958759/
September 30, 2017 @ 10:05 am
Donna Ulisse (co-writer of the Song Of The Year “I Am A Drifter”) released a new album.
Donna Ulisse – Breakin’ Easy – 12 Tracks – Mountain Home Music – Released (09/22)
Pure & simple. Great album!
My Highlights: the ballads “Til I Fin’lly Let Go”, “Whatever Winter Brings”, “A Little Past Lonely” & “Where My Mind Can Find Some Rest”.
October 1, 2017 @ 8:29 am
The weekend is a lot of fun. The big names play at the Red Hat requiring a ticket but there is music on stages all along the downtown area and informal jams on the sidewalks. It is great. The sad thing is I’m 25 miles away but life is so complicated I didn’t even make it out there this year.