In search of that ‘high, lonesome sound’: IBMA awards showcase celebrates 30 years

Just before he entered the main auditorium of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh this past Thursday evening, Darren Nicholson stood back for a moment as he watched the entire bluegrass industry mingle before his eyes.

Choices and changes: A conversation with Sierra Hull

Though part of the scene most of her life, singer/mandolinist Sierra Hull has been making some big waves in the world of bluegrass in recent years. 

Blue collar dreams: Balsam Range wins big at IBMAs

Sitting on a bench in the lobby of the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium last Thursday evening, Marc Pruett waits quietly for the rest of his band, Balsam Range, to arrive for the International Bluegrass Music Association award show. 

A hard life makes a good song: Jeremy Garrett of The Infamous Stringdusters

Hopping up on my truck tailgate one recent afternoon, fiddler/singer Jeremy Garrett gazed around the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in the rural countryside of Live Oak, Florida. His band — The Infamous Stringdusters — was headlining the Suwannee Spring Reunion that weekend, another feather in the cap of a celebrated acoustic act who this past January was awarded a Grammy Award for “Best Bluegrass Album.” 

A decade in, Balsam Range stands atop WNC music

I’ve lived in Haywood County 1,931 days. It’s also the exact number of days I’ve known Balsam Range.

Within the first hour of my first day in these mountains, I befriended the members of this Western North Carolina bluegrass act. The engine of my truck was still hot due to a nonstop 16-hour/1,000-mile overnight drive from my native Upstate New York to my new gig as the arts and entertainment editor of The Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville.

Balsam Range turns 10 atop IBMA nominations

Leading this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association awards with eight nominations, Haywood County group Balsam Range is atop the mountain of bluegrass.

Waynesville songwriter nominated by IBMAs

Although he resides in Nashville these days, songwriter Milan Miller is never too far away from his Waynesville roots. As one of the hit makers for Haywood County group Balsam Range, several of his melodies have received recognition from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Balsam Range presses on: Haywood County act now a perennial favorite at IBMAs

Though they walked away empty-handed at last week’s International Bluegrass Music Association award show in Raleigh, acclaimed group Balsam Range has plenty to be proud of.

Mountain Faith wins big in Raleigh

What a year.

That is about all you can say about the past 12 months for Jackson County bluegrass act Mountain Faith. And yet, this past Thursday evening was the cherry on top for the rapidly rising family string band when they received “Emerging Artist of the Year” at the International Bluegrass Music Association awards in Raleigh.

SEE ALSO:
• Balsam Range presses on
• Waynesville songwriter nominated by IBMAs
This must be the place: SMN at IBMA

“To be honest, we were just expecting to go to the IBMAs and have a great time jamming and hanging out with our bluegrass friends. We absolutely were not expecting to win an award,” said lead singer Summer McMahan in her trademark modest tone. 

This must be the place

I underestimated it.

Stepping into the grand ballroom at the Raleigh Convention Center last Thursday morning, I really didn’t think the occasion would be as big as it actually was. It was the awards luncheon for the International Bluegrass Music Association and I was among those nominated for “Bluegrass Print/Media Person of the Year.” 

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