The 30th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards took place in Raleigh, North Carolina, Thursday night with Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers taking the top prize, Entertainer of the Year, with their very first nomination in that category. Mullins and band also shared the Collaborative Recording of the Year, for “The Guitar Song,” with Del McCoury, who adds to his already impressive tally of awards with a second win in the Album of the Year category for Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass.
Other first-time honorees include Vocal Group of the Year Sister Sadie, the quartet led by five-time IBMA Female Vocalist winner Dale Ann Bradley; Mandolin Player of the Year Alan Bibey; and Guitar Player of the Year Billy Strings, who was also named New Artist of the Year. Among several musicians adding to their previous wins are Instrumental Group winners Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, notching their fifth win in that category, with Cleveland earning his 12th Fiddle Player of the Year honor; Brooke Aldridge, taking her third consecutive trophy as Female Vocalist; and six-time Male Vocalist Russell Moore.
Hosted by Del McCoury and Jim Lauderdale at Raleigh’s Duke Energy Performing Arts Center, the awards are voted on by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). The IBMA’s annual “World of Bluegrass” gathering of industry professionals and fans from around the globe began Tuesday and the celebration of the genre concludes with the star-studded Wide Open Bluegrass festival on Friday and Saturday.
In addition to the IBMA’s awards, the ceremony honored the 2019 Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees, musicians Mike Auldridge, Bill Emerson, and the Kentucky Colonels, with other special awards for achievement and distinguished service to the bluegrass community also recognized.
Here’s the complete list of winners of the 30th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards
Entertainer of the Year: Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers
Vocal Group of the Year: Sister Sadie
Instrumental Group of the Year: Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper
Song of the Year: “Thunder Dan,” Sideline
Album of the Year: Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass, Del McCoury Band
Gospel Recording of the Year: “Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout,” Claire Lynch
Instrumental Recording of the Year: “Darlin’ Pal(s) of Mine,” Missy Raines with Alison Brown, Mike Bub and Todd Phillips
New Artist of the Year: Billy Strings
Collaborative Recording of the Year: “The Guitar Song,” Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers with Del McCoury
Female Vocalist of the Year: Brooke Aldridge
Male Vocalist of the Year: Russell Moore
Banjo Player of the Year: Kristin Scott Benson
Bass Player of the Year: Missy Raines
Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year: Phil Leadbetter
Fiddle Player of the Year: Michael Cleveland
Guitar Player of the Year: Billy Strings
Mandolin Player of the Year: Alan Bibey