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Bluegrass Music Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients Announced

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McClain Family BandNashville, TN -- Each year, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) honors five individuals for their pioneering contributions to bluegrass music. The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented at a Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday, September 26 during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events. This year’s recipients of IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards include:

Keith Cas has presented some of the finest acts in bluegrass and roots music for over 30 years, with a professional career that began in Denver, Colorado in 1970. As a talent agent, manager and promoter, he has represented legendary singer songwriters and musicians like John Hartford, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Tony Rice, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. He has been instrumental in breaking notable new acts that went on to amass both popular and critical acclaim—like Alison Krauss & Union Station, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Robert Earl Keen. In addition to leading the premiere traditional music agency in Nashville, Case is also a founding member of IBMA.

The East Mountain Boys are known as the “fathers of bluegrass music” in Japan. Organized and managed by Mr. Tatsuo Arita in 1958, the East Mountain Boys featured Yasushi Ozaki (guitar), Hisashi Ozaki (mandolin), the late Don Sano (banjo), Yoshinobu Kakegawa (fiddle), Hirokazu Uneno (accordion) and Shozo Nakamura (bass). They learned to play by listening to US Armed Forces radio during World War II. As Japan’s first bluegrass band, they influenced later important Japanese groups like the Bluegrass 45, The Nakashima Sisters, and many others.

Vic Jordan, an influential banjo player who toured and recorded with Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper & the Clinch Mountain Clan, Jim & Jesse, James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers, and The Wayne Newton Orchestra—along with decades of television and studio work. That’s Vic’s banjo you hear on Monroe’s recordings of “Gold Rush,” “Sally Goodin,” Virginia Darlin’,” “Is the Blue Moon Still Shinin’,” “Train 45,” “Kentucky Mandolin,” “I Want to Go with You,” “Crossing the Cumberland,” and “Walls of Time.” He also played banjo on the soundtracks for Coal Miner’s Daughter and Smoky & the Bandit II, and he was in the 1992 Hee Haw band.

The McLain Family Band, of Berea, Kentucky, began performing in 1972. One of the first bluegrass bands to perform with symphony orchestras, the group performed in more than 80 countries for the U.S. government as “America’s Ambassadors of Traditional Music.” They hosted their own festival in Berea for 13 years, and they recorded more than a dozen albums on their own Country Life Records label. Fans will remember Raymond W. McLain as a banjo player with Jim & Jesse and mandolin player with Reno and Harrell, and Michael McLain on guitar and banjo with the Claire Lynch Band. The entire family has been involved in teaching bluegrass music for decades, beginning with the elder Raymond K. McLain, who was a professor of musicology at Berea College in Kentucky, and continuing with Raymond W. McLain’s work at East Tennessee State University and Morehead State University in Kentucky, Michael McLain’s work with the bluegrass program at Belmont University in Nashville, Ruth McLain Smith’s teaching at Berea College Morehead State University, and Al White's (husband of Alice McLain and a former member of the McLain Family Band) teaching at Berea College.

Charley Pennell, a library cataloger by trade at the D. H. Hill Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, has quietly and professionally documented an online list of every known bluegrass music recording in existence. His “Bluegrass Discography” site includes info on hundreds—maybe tens of thousands—of bluegrass recordings, including singles, LPs, tapes and CDs.

World of Bluegrass 2013 is a five-day event that consists of three main parts: the IBMA Business Conference, which runs Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 24-26, the 24th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, Sept. 26, and the music festival – newly re-named Wide Open Bluegrass – which takes place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27-28.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s three-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.

For more details and to purchase tickets/register for World of Bluegrass 2013, IBMA Awards, Wide Open Bluegrass weekend festival and Bluegrass Ramble showcase passes, lodging and camping options, and more, visit or call 1-888-GET-IBMA. To purchase festival tickets, go to or call 8888-GET-IBMA.

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