PREVIEW: IBMA World of Bluegrass
IBMA’s “World of Bluegrass” is the Kentucky Derby of bluegrass. Except the grass is just a little bit bluer here in North Carolina. So, when IBMA moved the annual five-day bluegrass extravaganza to Raleigh, it not only bolstered economics and tourism, it showed the world bluegrass has a home here in North Carolina; historically, presently, and eternally. Bluegrass is ours.
The World of Bluegrass is comprised of four distinct events: the IBMA Business Conference, the Bluegrass Ramble, the 30th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass. Events during the five days of World of Bluegrass will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Red Hat Amphitheater, and at multiple venues around town.
THE FESTIVAL: Wide Open Bluegrass is the festival portion of the event that is free and open to the public (subject to venue capacity). Held September 27-28 at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater, and on 7 additional stages in downtown Raleigh, Wide Open Bluegrass is now the biggest free urban bluegrass festival in the world. Making the music free and accessible to all is a strong statement, and achievement, when it comes to the promotion and preservation of traditional music here in our state. Music is important to us here in NC. Especially when its a genre that was shaped on our soil.
Below is the schedule for the Main Stage performances at Red Hat Amphitheater for the 2019 Wide Open Bluegrass Festival:
Friday, September 27
5:00 Sister Sadie
6:05 Balsam Range
7:15 Molly Tuttle
8:25 I’m With Her – Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarsoz, Aoife O’Donovan
9:45 The Ringers featuring Jerry Douglas, Ronnie McCoury, Todd Phillips, Christian Sedelmyer, and Dan Tyminski
Saturday, September 28
5:00 “You Gave Me a Song”: Celebrating the Music of Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard
THE SHOWCASES: The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) picked 30 Official Showcase Artists for this year’s Bluegrass Ramble. The highly selective process, which drew applicants from all over the world, presents a wide array styles and forms of modern bluegrass. Each Bluegrass Ramble artist will perform at least twice over the three days, giving ticket holders an opportunity hit a variety of venues, and see the next generation of bluegrass artists in diverse environments. The Bluegrass Ramble is held September 24-26, and tickets are available here.
Here are the 30 Bluegrass Ramble Acts:
Aaron Burdett – Saluda, NC, USA
Alex Leach – Jacksboro, TN, USA
Andrew Collins Trio – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons – Seattle, WA, USA
Blue Canyon Boys – Denver, CO, USA
Blue Summit – Santa Cruz, CA, USA
ClayBank – West Jefferson, NC, USA
Damn Tall Buildings – Brooklyn, NY, USA
Evie Ladin Band – Oakland, CA, USA
George Jackson Band – Nashville, TN, USA
Henhouse Prowlers – Chicago, IL, USA
Hoot and Holler – Asheville, NC, USA
Jaelee Roberts – Murfreesboro, TN, USA
Jeff Parker & Company– Berea, KY, USA
Meadow Mountain – Denver, CO, USA
Mile Twelve – Boston, MA, USA
Nick Chandler and Delivered – Asheville, NC, USA
Rapidgrass – Golden, CO, USA
Rod McCormack – Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia
Slocan Ramblers – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Songs From The Road Band– Asheville, NC, USA
Tellico – Asheville, NC, USA
The Dead South – Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Gina Furtado Project – Winchester, VA, USA
The Price Sisters – Sardis, OH, USA
Trout Steak Revival – Denver, CO, USA
Troy Engle & Southern Skies – Glen Rock, PA, USA
Twisted Pine – Boston, MA, USA
US Navy Band Country Current Bluegrass Ensemble – Washington, DC, USA
Zoe & Cloyd – Asheville, NC, USA
The Bluegrass Ramble showcases will be held in the following venues: The Architect Bar & Social House, Kings, Lincoln Theatre, Pour House Music Hall, Vintage Church, Raleigh Convention Center. Schedule is yet to be released.
THE AWARDS: The IBMA Awards are not about competition; they are about excellence. Some players are considered virtuoso’s or child prodigy’s. Others have excelled via elbow grease. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the bluegrass community is it’s welcoming nature. Any child who picks up a banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle, or guitar will find an army of support at a pickin’ session in their hometown. And adults who are fumbling over strings for their first time will never get laughed at. That’s just the way it is in bluegrass. It’s not about being cool. It’s about being a part of. That spirit continues into the professional side of bluegrass. More so than any other genre. Although anyone who picks up an instrument and learns its language deserves a trophy, IBMA has chosen the musicians that shined the most brightly in 2019. The IBMA Awards Ceremony will be held at Duke Energy For The Performing Arts in Raleigh on September 26, 2019. Tickets are available here.
Below is the full list of the 2019 IBMA Awards Nominees.
SONG OF THE YEAR: (7 nominees, due to a tie): “Dance, Dance, Dance” by Appalachian Road Show, “The Girl Who Invented the Wheel” by Balsam Range, “The Guitar Song” by Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers with Del McCoury, “The Light in Carter Stanley’s Eyes” by Peter Rowan, “Next Train South” by The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, “Take the Journey” by Molly Tuttle, “Thunder Dan” by Sideline
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: City on a Hill by Mile Twelve, Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass by Del McCoury Band, For the Record by Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, I Hear Bluegrass Calling Me by Carolina Blue, Sister Sadie II by Sister Sadie
GOSPEL RECORDING OF THE YEAR: “Acres of Diamonds” by Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, “Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout” by Claire Lynch, “I Am a Pilgrim” by Roland White and Friends, “I See God” by Marty Raybon, “Let My Life Be a Light” by Balsam Range
INSTRUMENTAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR: “Cotton Eyed Joe” by Sideline, “Darlin’ Pal(s) of Mine” by Missy Raines with Alison Brown, Mike Bub and Todd Phillips, “Earl’s Breakdown” by The Earls of Leicester, “Fried Taters and Onions” by Carolina Blue, “Sunrise” by Sam Bush & Bela Fleck
COLLABORATIVE RECORDING OF THE YEAR: “Burning Georgia Down” by Balsam Range with Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, “Darlin’ Pal(s) of Mine” by Missy Raines with Alison Brown, Mike Bub and Todd Phillips, “The Guitar Song” by Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers with Del McCoury, “Please” by Rhonda Vincent and Dolly Parton, “Soldier's Joy/Ragtime Annie” by Roland White with Justin Hiltner, Jon Weisberger, Patrick McAvinue, and Molly Tuttle
THE CONFERENCE: The bluegrass business is booming. And the IBMA Business Conference is the epicenter of the industry. Whether you are an artist that wants to learn how to navigate the business side of the music, or a music industry professional looking to hone your edge, the opportunities are endless. Networking events help you meet the right people. The Bluegrass Ramble Showcases help you identify the next rising stars and understand the current musical landscape. The 40 educational sessions and workshops cover topics such as: touring, marketing, radio, digital media, contract negotiation and anything else a music industry professional or business savvy musician needs to know. Bluegrass did’t get to where it was just because of the sounds. It also took a village of managers, publicists, booking agents, venue owners, recording engineers, radio dj’s, and writers to bring the genre into the forefront. If you are looking to join the bluegrass revolution, or are currently active in the cause, the IBMA Business Conference is the best training ground you can find.
NC Music Magazine looks forward to seeing you at the 2019 IBMA World of Bluegrass.