Balsam Range Named IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year

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Balsam Range took home the entertainer of the year prize Thursday night (Oct. 2) at the 25th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The North Carolina-based band also claimed awards for vocal group of the year, and the group’s Buddy Melton also picked up the male vocalist trophy.

Amanda Smith was chosen female vocalist of the year. She and Melton are first-time winners in the vocalist categories.

Noam Pikelny was named banjo player of the year, and his Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe won album of the year honors.

Special Consensus won the honors for instrumental recorded performance of the year (for “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” a contribution to the album Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver) and recorded event (for their collaboration with Claire Lynch and Rob Ickes on “Wild Montana Skies”). It marked the band’s first IBMA wins in a 39-year-career.

During their induction into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, three founding members of the Seldom Scene — Ben Eldridge, John Starling and Tom Gray — paid tribute to two of the band’s former members, the late John Duffey and Mike Auldridge in their acceptance speech.

Hosted by Lee Ann Womack and Jerry Douglas at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the awards show featured performances by Balsam Range, Pikelny, Lynch, the Boxcarsthe Gibson BrothersDella MaeBlue Highwaythe Del McCoury Band and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen.

The International Bluegrass Music Awards are voted on by the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association. The awards show is the highlight of the World of Bluegrass Week, which also includes the IBMA Business Conference and Wide Open Bluegrass festival. The events continue through Saturday.

Here’s a complete list of winners at the 2014 International Bluegrass Awards.

Hall of Fame Inductees: Original Seldom Scene, Neil Rosenberg

Entertainer: Balsam Range

Vocal Group: Balsam Range

Instrumental Group: Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

Male Vocalist: Buddy Melton

Female Vocalist: Amanda Smith

Emerging Artist:Flatt Lonesome

Album of the Year: Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, Noam Pikelny (artist), Gabe Witcher (producer), Compass Records

Song of the Year: “Dear Sister,” Claire Lynch (artist), Claire Lynch and Louisa Branscomb (writers)

Instrumental Recorded Performance: “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” Special Consensus with Buddy Spicher, Michael Cleveland and Alison Brown (artists), Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver(album), John Martin Sommers (writer), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records

Gospel Recorded Performance: “Won’t It Be Wonderful There,” Dailey & Vincent (artist), Brothers of the Highway (album), Mildred Styles Johnson (writer), Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent (producers), Rounder Records

Recorded Event: “Wild Montana Skies,” Special Consensus with Claire Lynch and Rob Ickes (artists), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records

Mandolin Player: Adam Steffey

Dobro Player: Phil Leadbetter

Bass Player: Barry Bales

Fiddle Player: Jason Carter

Guitar Player: Bryan Sutton

Banjo Player: Noam Pikelny

Special Awards

Bluegrass Songwriter: Tim Stafford

Broadcaster: Kyle Cantrell, Bluegrass Junction, Sirius XM

Print/Media Person: Chris Jones, writer at Bluegrass Today

Bluegrass Event: Bluegrass Underground

Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project: Lou Everhart (designer), Lonely Comes Easy, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Rebel Records

Best Liner Notes for a Recorded Project: Neil V. Rosenberg, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, Noam Pikelny, Compass Records

Distinguished Achievement Award: Bill Keith, Deering Banjos, the European Bluegrass Music Association, Hillbilly at Harvard and the Delmore Brothers

Momentum Awards 

Instrumentalists: Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Jake Stargel (guitar), Cory Walker (banjo)

Vocalist: Jesse Gregory (Jesse Gregory & Faultline)

Band: The Barefoot Movement

New Festival or Venue: Bluegrass Situation showcases at Bonnaroo and Americana Music Festival

Industry Involvement: Ashlee-Jean Trott, Music City Roots/Bluegrass Underground

Mentor: Tim Surrett