Monday, June 02, 2008

Nominations Are Open

It’s that time of year again when my inbox is flooded with campaign material of another kind. In October, the International Bluegrass Music Association will present awards in 11 categories to bluegrass musicians for their achievements in the last year. This first ballot is a chance to nominate up to five musicians or groups in each of the categories.

Even though it’s only eleven categories and you can nominate up to five people for each category, this first cut is really hard. When I look back over the last year, I think, what did I listen to? What caught my attention? And how many more artists and songs did I miss on top of that? So now it’s time to hunker down and sort through everything that I’ve heard and seen and narrow it down to the live and recorded performances that I feel represent the best in bluegrass. It’s a good opportunity to put aside what I like and really step back and survey the land of bluegrass for the work that really makes it go.

One of the groups I am so pleased to have been introduced to in the last year is the Dixie Bee Liners, a superb band from Virginia who just happens to be passing through Kent this July 11. They had a Fan Fest showcase last year scheduled for 1:15 a.m., and I remember thinking, “Oh hell, I’m not going to come all the way back up here at 1 in the morning.” But time flies at IBMA, and when I got back to my hotel, I looked at the clock. 1:20 a.m. Dang it! So I’m glad I’ll have a chance to see them right here in my backyard. Hats off to DBL, one of my picks in a couple of categories. You can check out a huge number of their tunes and meet the band on their MySpace page here.

Be sure to pay particular attention to the lusty title track of their new release, Ripe, and Dixie Grey to Black, appropriate in these times of war. Lighten things up with Old Charlie Cross. Of course I love She's My Angel, which reminds me of my own little angel.
To learn more about IBMA and how you can help to support bluegrass music and musicians, visit


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