Bluegrass music filled the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday night as the 26th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards were presented. The big winners of the night were bluegrass supergroup the Earls of Leicester, who took the trophies for Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year (for The Earls of Leicester), Instrumental Group of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year (for “Who Will Sing for Me”). Band members Shawn Camp and Jerry Douglas also won the awards for Male Vocalist and Dobro Player of the Year, respectively. The five-piece group also includes bass player Barry Bales, fiddle player Johnny Warren and banjo picker Charlie Cushman.
Other big winners at the show, which coincides with the annual International Bluegrass Music Association conference, include Balsam Range, who were named Vocal Group of the Year. The group’s “Moon Over Memphis” was chosen as Song of the Year, with the group’s Tim Surrett earning Bass Player of the Year. Legendary players Bill Keith and Larry Sparks were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
The IBMA Awards were hosted by Gibson Brothers band members Eric and Leigh Gibson) who also performed during the ceremony. Other performers included Hot Rize, the Del McCoury Band and a surprise performance by Alison Krauss and Larry Sparks.