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With Eight Each, Earls & Balsam Range Lead IBMA Award Nominations

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IBMA Awards LogoNashville, TN -- Nominees for the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Awards were announced today at a press conference in Nashville, Tennessee, with Balsam Range and the Earls of Leicester leading the pack with eight nominations each. Balsam Range received six nominations for the band and two for their individual members, while the Earls pulled in five nominations, plus three for individual members. Close behind are the Gibson Brothers, with seven nominations (band and individuals), and Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, with five nominations (band and individuals). (A full list of nominations appears below.)

Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the trade association for the bluegrass music industry. Results of the balloting will be revealed at the International Bluegrass Music Awards, Thursday, September 28, at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The International Bluegrass Music Awards are the centerpiece of the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week, which is brought to you by Chiesi USA. Tickets for the 28th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show are available by logging onto or by calling 1-800-514-3849. IBMA Business Conference registration and hotel reservation info can also be found on the site.

The IBMA Awards Show will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction) on Thursday, September 28th at 7:30 p.m. EDT, streamed via Facebook Live, and will be made available for rebroadcast by radio stations worldwide, thanks to the sponsorship of Chiesi USA, Virginia Tourism, Deering Banjos, Compass Records, the International Bluegrass Music Museum, BMI, and Boston Bluegrass Union. For more information about the IBMA’s awards or how to obtain a recording of the IBMA Awards Show for rebroadcast, please go to

Individually and as a group, Balsam Range is nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Gospel Performance of the Year, while individual nominations go to members Buddy Melton for Male Vocalist of the Year, and Tim Surrett for Bass Player of the Year.

2016’s Entertainers of the Year, the Earls of Leicester, are nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, while individual nominations go to members Shawn Camp for Male Vocalist of the Year, Jerry Douglas for Dobro Player of the year, and Barry Bales for Bass Player of the Year.

The Gibson Brothers racked up seven nominations in four categories: Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year and Gospel Performance of the Year, with individual nominations go to brothers Leigh and Eric Gibson each for Male Vocalist of the Year, and Jesse Brock for Mandolin Player of the Year. Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, with five nominations, are up for Instrumental Group of the Year, Album of the Year, Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, and Recorded Event of The Year, while Michael Cleveland is nominated as well for Fiddle Player of the Year.

Molly Tuttle is the first woman ever to be nominated for an IBMA Guitar Player of the Year Award. She is nominated as well for Female Vocalist of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year. International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame members Doyle Lawson, Bobby Osborne and Mac Wiseman all have multiple nominations for this year’s awards. Other multiple nominees include Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Blue Highway, Becky Buller Band, Flatt Lonesome, Sierra Hull, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Joe Mullins, the Punch Brothers, Sister Sadie, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and Volume Five.

“Congratulations to each of the Hall of Fame and Distinguished Achievement Award recipients and to the finalist nominees in the announced IBMA Awards Categories,” said IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger. “These deserving awards nominees were selected from ballots where, in most cases, the categories had more than 30 worthy candidates to choose from, with artists ranging from traditional to progressive. It is an honor to be recognized by peers for excellence achieved in our music, especially where so many have incredible talent. Good luck to all, and we look forward to seeing you in Raleigh on September 28th for a spectacular Awards Show!”

The IBMA Award Nominees are:

    • Balsam Range
    • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
    • The Earls of Leicester
    • Flatt Lonesome
    • The Gibson Brothers
    • Balsam Range
    • Blue Highway
    • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
    • Flatt Lonesome
    • The Gibson Brothers
    • Balsam Range
    • The Earls of Leicester
    • Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
    • Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
    • Punch Brothers
    • “Blue Collar Dreams” - Balsam Range (artist), Aaron Bibelhauser (writer)
    • “Going Back to Bristol” - Shawn Camp (artist), Mac Wiseman/Thomm Jutz/Peter Cooper (writers)
    • “I Am a Drifter” - Volume Five (artist), Donna Ulisse/Marc Rossi (writers)
    • “Someday Soon” - Darin & Brooke Aldridge (artist), Ian Tyson (writer)
    • “The Train That Carried My Girl from Town” - The Earls of Leicester (artist), Frank Hutchison (writer)
    • Fiddler’s Dreamr - Michael Cleveland (artist), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Compass Records (label)
    • In the Groundr - The Gibson Brothers (artist), Eric Gibson, Leigh Gibson, and Mike Barber (producers), Rounder Records (label)
    • Mountain Voodoor - Balsam Range (artist), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)
    • Originalr - Bobby Osborne (artist), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
    • Rattle & Roar - The Earls of Leicester (artist), Jerry Douglas (producer), Rounder Records (label)
    • “Give Me Jesus” - Larry Cordle (artist), Traditional/Larry Cordle (writer), Give Me Jesus (album), Larry Cordle (producer), Mighty Cord Records (label)
    • “Hallelujah” - Blue Highway (artist), Public Domain arranged by Blue Highway (writer), Original Traditional (album), Blue Highway (producer), Rounder Records (label)
    • “I Found a Church Today” - The Gibson Brothers (artist), Eric Gibson/Leigh Gibson (writers), In the Ground (album), Eric Gibson, Leigh Gibson, and Mike Barber (producers), Rounder Records (label)
    • “Sacred Memories” - Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers with Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White Skaggs (artist), Dolly Parton (writer), Sacred Memories (album), Joe Mullins (producer), Rebel Records (label)
    • “Wish You Were Here” - Balsam Range (artist), James Stover/Michael Williams (writers), Mountain Voodoo (album), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)
    • “Fiddler’s Dream” - Michael Cleveland (artist), Arthur Smith (writer), Fiddler’s Dream (album), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Compass Records (label)
    • “Great Waterton” - Kristin Scott Benson (artist), Kristin Scott Benson (writer), Stringworks (album), Kristin Scott Benson (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)
    • “Greenbrier” - Sam Bush (artist), Sam Bush/Scott Vestal (writers), Storyman (album), Sugar Hill Records (label)
    • “Little Liza Jane” - Adam Steffey (artist), Tommy Duncan/James Robert Wills (writers), Here to Stay (album), Adam Steffey (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)
    • “Flint Hill Special” - The Earls of Leicester (artist), Earl Scruggs (writer), Rattle & Roar (album), Jerry Douglas (producer), Rounder Records (label)
      • Front Country
      • The Lonely Heartstring Band
      • Molly Tuttle
      • Sister Sadie
      • Volume Five
      • “East Virginia Blues” - Ricky Wasson and Dan Tyminski (artists), Croweology: The Study of J.D. Crowe’s Musical Legacy (album), Rickey Wasson (producer), Truegrass Entertainment (label)
      • “Going Back to Bristol” - Shawn Camp with Mac Wiseman, Peter Cooper, Thomm Jutz (artists), I Sang the Song (Life of the Voice with a Heart) (album), Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz (producers), Mountain Fever Records (label)
      • “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” - Bobby Osborne with Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, Rob Ickes, Stuart Duncan, Trey Hensley, Todd Phillips, Kenny Malone, Claire Lynch, and Bryan McDowell (artists), Original (album), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
      • “Steamboat Whistle Blues” - Michael Cleveland featuring Sam Bush (artists), Fiddler’s Dream (album), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Compass Records (label)
      • “’Tis Sweet to Be Remembered” - Mac Wiseman and Alison Krauss (artists), I Sang the Song (Life of the Voice with a Heart) (album), Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz (producers), Mountain Fever Records (label)
      • Shawn Camp
      • Eric Gibson
      • Leigh Gibson
      • Buddy Melton
      • Russell Moore
      • Brooke Aldridge
      • Dale Ann Bradley
      • Sierra Hull
      • Amanda Smith
      • Molly Tuttle
      • Ned Luberecki
      • Joe Mullins
      • Noam Pikelny
      • Kristin Scott Benson
      • Sammy Shelor
      • Barry Bales
      • Alan Bartram
      • Mike Bub
      • Missy Raines
      • Tim Surrett
    • FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (6 candidates due to a tie vote)
      • Becky Buller
      • Jason Carter
      • Michael Cleveland
      • Stuart Duncan
      • Patrick McAvinue
      • Ron Stewart
      • Jerry Douglas
      • Andy Hall
      • Rob Ickes
      • Phil Leadbetter
      • Josh Swift
      • Jim Hurst
      • Kenny Smith
      • Bryan Sutton
      • Molly Tuttle
      • Josh Williams
      • Jesse Brock
      • Sam Bush
      • Sierra Hull
      • Frank Solivan
      • Adam Steffey

    IBMA Announces 2017 Inductees to International Bluegrass Hall of Fame: Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard; Bobby Hicks; and Roland White

    The International Bluegrass Music Association is proud to announce three inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame: trailblazing bluegrass artists Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, master fiddler Bobby Hicks, and Roland White, whose impressive career includes contributions to several seminal bands. They will be inducted at the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, Thursday, September 28, 2017, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard

    From their first public appearance in 1962 at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention to their final shows together in 1976, pioneers Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard put women front and center in bluegrass at a time when bluegrass was widely perceived as a genre only men could perform. Hazel, from rural West Virginia, and West Coast native Alice were both drawn to the lively Baltimore-Washington area folk and bluegrass music scene, where they met. Of four albums together, their first in 1965 featured performances with a band that included Chubby Wise, David Grisman and Lamar Grier, demonstrating that hard-driving bluegrass could be created by women as well as men. Two later albums, ranging beyond the bluegrass style, featured their original compositions and addressed political issues, including social justice. Both Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard have had numerous awards and honors bestowed upon them. Hazel gained particular acclaim for her songwriting, and Alice has made many contributions in print, through her work at Bluegrass Unlimited and The Old Time Herald. Many of today’s leading women singers and socially conscious musicians acknowledge Hazel & Alice as an important inspiration. Hazel Dickens passed away in 2011. Alice Gerrard remains an active performer and makes her home in Durham, North Carolina.

    Bobby Hicks

    Born in 1933 in North Carolina, influential fiddler Bobby Hicks’ first professional job with Jim Eanes came while he was still a teenager. In 1954, Hicks landed a job playing fiddle for the legendary Bill Monroe and recorded the landmark early instrumentals, “Cheyenne”, “Wheel Hoss”, and “Roanoke”. In later years, he played on the original recordings of other signature Monroe instrumentals including “Panhandle Country” and “Scotland.” Bobby also played on Monroe’s 1988 album, Southern Flavor, the first bluegrass GRAMMY winner. During the 1980s, he recorded extensively with the consummate “super group,” the Bluegrass Album Band. Beginning 1981, he also began working in Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder where he remained for 20 years before leaving to pursue a solo artist career. Today, Hicks continues to perform and makes his home near Asheville, North Carolina.

    Roland White

    Roland White has enjoyed one of the most eventful and enduring careers in bluegrass. Early in his career, brothers Roland, Eric and Clarence began performing extensively as The Country Boys, appearing on two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Changing their name to The Kentucky Colonels, they became one of the most popular West Coast bluegrass bands of the late-50s/early-60s. In 1967, Roland became a Blue Grass Boy, hired by Bill Monroe to play guitar, and he played on such seminal bluegrass recordings as “The Gold Rush,” “Sally Goodin,” and “Walls of Time.” After two years, he was hired to play mandolin with the newly formed Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass, where he remained until 1973. He reunited briefly with brothers Eric and Clarence as the New Kentucky Colonels, until Clarence’s untimely death. Roland joined Alan Munde in the Country Gazette, where he performed for thirteen years. During his tenure with The Nashville Bluegrass Band, beginning in 1987, the band earned numerous IBMA awards, along with two GRAMMY awards and six nominations. Residing in Nashville, Tennessee, he has fronted the GRAMMY nominated Roland White Band for the past sixteen years.

    Founded in 1991, the IBMA’s International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, housed in the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. Each year a nominating committee, consisting of music industry leaders, creates a slate of 10-15 candidates for each of two categories. From these names, a panel of more than 200 electors in the music industry cast ballots to narrow the nominees to five finalists. The panel votes a final time to select the inductee(s) for that year. In the past, two inductees have been honored each year. Beginning in 2017, three inductees are elected - two inductees in the “Open” category and one in the “Early Contribution” category.

    IBMA Announces Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients

    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:

    Norman Blake
    Norman Blake has never strayed far from Sulphur Springs, Georgia, close to Tennessee and Alabama. Soaked in the musical influences, history, and imagery of his home region, he has for more than fifty years deftly bridged tradition and innovation. A gifted songwriter (“Last Train from Poor Valley,” “Ginseng Sullivan” and hundreds more), multi-instrumentalist (most notably guitar), singer, recording artist, and nominee for numerous GRAMMY awards, Norman has been a prominent part of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and country music for more than a half century. His career has intertwined with those of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, John Hartford, Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, and countless others. He is included in four movie soundtracks, including O Brother Where Art Thou, and Cold Mountain. Since 1975, he has performed with his wife and musical partner Nancy.

    Bluegrass Today
    Bluegrass Today has been publishing online since 2011, bringing news about the artists, the music, the festivals, and the people that support them to the fans and the wider bluegrass industry. Though the site is the handiwork of a crew of hard-working individuals, it is shepherded by John Lawless, online editor and chief writer, and Terry Herd, CEO. The site followed on the heels of The Bluegrass Blog, which Lawless launched in 2004 with Brance Gillihan who left in 2011 to pursue other interests. Currently, Bluegrass Today is visited by roughly 85,000 individuals each month, generating 2.5 million page views annually.

    Louisa Branscomb
    Songwriter, educator, organizer, and musician Louisa Branscomb is best known for writing 180 recorded songs, including Alison Krauss’ first hit and John Denver’s final hit, “Steel Rails.” Her efforts for the bluegrass songwriting community have proven catalytic in professionalizing that segment of the field. Branscomb founded the IBMA Songwriter Committee, and as its chair drafted the Songwriter of the Year Award proposal. She has advanced a community-building model through her several non-profits to benefit songwriters, including the Woodsong Songwriter Retreat, Bluegrass Songwriting Program in the Schools, KidsWrite, the ScreenDoor Songwriter Alliance, and Southport Songwriters Festival. A member of the Atlanta Music Hall of Fame, Branscomb has won Song of the Year from both SPBGMA and IBMA. The Leadership Bluegrass alumna was nominated for Songwriter of the Year in the IBMA Awards for 2013.

    Fletcher Bright
    Master fiddler, event producer, philanthropist, teacher: there’s hardly a corner of the bluegrass industry that Fletcher Bright hasn’t influenced. Fletcher began his fiddling career in the 1940s when, while still in high school, he founded The Dismembered Tennesseans. Influenced by Chubby Wise and Benny Martin, Fletcher has played that tradition forward as an instructor at camps in the US and abroad. He is also an ardent supporter of the American Roots Music program at Berklee and created a scholarship which is awarded annually to promising young fiddlers. Most recently, Fletcher founded the Three Sisters Bluegrass Festival in Chattanooga, a free two-day event that draws attendees from across the Southeast. A father of five children with seven grandchildren, he lives on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, where he supports his musical addiction with his real estate business.

    Silver Dollar City
    The Branson, Missouri theme park, Silver Dollar City, produced its first music festival, Mountain Folks Music Festival, in 1975. The event ran nine days, and featured regional groups performing exclusively songs in the public domain. Approximately two dozen bands each performed the entire nine days. There were no microphones, and the musicians would play under shade trees scattered around the park. The festival has seen several name and date changes since that time, becoming Bluegrass & BBQ Festival in 2005. After entering its fifth decade in 2015, the event has grown to twenty-three days in length, with seven stages of daily operation. Nearly one hundred bands appear, including national touring acts, regional favorites, and emerging talent in the annual KSMU Youth in Bluegrass Band Contest.

    The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented at a Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday, September 28, during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week. Those who would like to attend must purchase a business conference pass for Thursday by logging onto IBMA Business Conference registration and hotel reservation info can also be found on the site.

    IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, brought to you by Chiesi USA, is a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming, encompassing four events: the IBMA Business Conference, September 26-28; the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases taking place September 26-28 in downtown Raleigh; the 28th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 28; and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, September 29-30, a two-day festival. The ticketed Wide Open Main Stage features the best of the best in bluegrass today, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a charitable fund that helps bluegrass professionals in dire need. The free Wide Open StreetFest brings bluegrass into the community and introduces the music to thousands of new fans every year.

    As in years past, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $11.5 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be a record-breaking 217,225 people. Over 220 acts performed throughout the entire week of World of Bluegrass.

    IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year run in Raleigh is the product of their successful partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Raleigh Convention Center, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

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