At the World of Bluegrass in Raleigh—Part 2 of Our Trip South

[Note: Part 1 is HERE.  Part 3 is HERE.]

Winning a Distinguished Achievement Award got Dr Janie and me tickets to the Thursday evening 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards.  Indeed, as VIPs (Virtually Invisible Personages?), upon entering the grounds of the Duke Center for the Performing Arts, we were shepherded onto a bona fide Red Carpet (a tad musty, it seemed, but that might have been the surrounding vegetation) and a phalanx of TV and press, including WAMU’s Katy Daley with a microphone, who gave me a 10-second interview and moved on to the next in line.  I wonder how many cutting-room floors I ended up on.

But I did (unintentionally) ‘photo-bomb’ the cover shot of the IBMA’s International Bluegrass magazine (IB) after the event.  Here I am, wearing my Hillbilly at Harvard cap (thanks to Larry Flint and Sheila Anderson, who had it made), out-of-focus behind bluegrass luminaries Noam Pikelney (who won two awards, in front) and Del McCoury:

IB-me,Del,NoamActually, it wasn’t a photo bomb, because Taylor Coughlin, the delightful behind-the-scenes Special Projects Director and Publications Editor at the IBMA in Nashville, says, “I did notice Cousin Lynn in the background!  Thought [it] was neat.”

In the aisle walking up to our seats with Hillbilly Fred Bartenstein, we encountered Alison Brown (of Compass Records, and a cohost of “Living Traditions in Bluegrass” on WHRB many moons ago); Fred quickly noted that here were three WHRBies assembled!

The Awards Show was quite a production, beginning with a bluegrass-song-and-dance routine, before a star-(and moon-) spangled set.  I attempted a shot with my iPhone, and sent it off to the kids:

IBMA Awards ShowEven though we had ‘orchestra’ seats, we were pretty far back (should have brought my Opry glasses!), but you get the idea.  This was going to give the TV awards shows a run for their money!  And by my lights, it did.  We had country-music star Lee Ann Womack co-hosting, along with Dobro master Jerry Douglas; Lee Ann even did one of her radio hits (acoustified of course).  The highlight, by any measure, was the the Hall of Fame award to the original Seldom Scene, and the ensemble performance of “Wait a Minute,” by the three surviving original members and all (or nearly all) of the subsequent ones.

An edited version of the Awards show will be broadcast early next year:

IBMA Announces TV Broadcast of 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced plans to air an edited version of the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards on U.S. television. The Awards show, filmed live on October 2, 2014 in the Memorial Theatre at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina and hosted by Lee Ann Womack and Jerry Douglas, will be part of American Public Television’s “Music City Roots” series in 2015. The syndicated series aired in 71 PBS markets across the United States this past year.

A one-hour edit of the Awards show is expected to air in late February or early March 2015. . .

The evening wasn’t over for me.  Dr Janie retired to our room, while I prowled the hallways and showcase rooms of the Marriott.  In the California Bluegrass Association room on the third floor I heard an fine band from Kansas, called Driven.  Here they are at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO a year ago:

Down in the function rooms, which hosted a number of showcase stages, I caught the last song (darn!) from Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice, then wandered over to another room and sat down while a familiar-looking fellow with a banjo ambled onstage.  It took me a minute to remember the name of the long-time associate of Russell Moore and Third Tyme Out, Steve Dilling.  Only a few years ago Steve and Russell had visited the WHRB studio, plugging an appearance for the Boston Bluegrass Union; but without Russell, I blanked out.  Steve Dilling left Third Tyme Out because of health problems, and subsequently formed his own band, with a less-intensive touring schedule, hence Sideline.  He has also has joined Jordan Entertainment, managing Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road and her festivals. So here was Sideline in a room hosted by Make Welcome Entertainment of Washington, DC, which handles publicity for Lorraine Jordan.

It was about 1:30 AM, and I was about to throw in the towel and head to bed.  But another band was setting up, called IdleTymes (apparently bluegrass bands like this old-tymie spelling), so I yawned and decided to stick around.  I’m glad I did, as IdleTymes turned out to be anything but idle: a solid and energetic band from West Virginia, with an excellent baritone named Chris Long doing the leads.  I took out my iPhone and recorded a little of the old “Blue Ridge Mountain Home”:

The band features some fine Dobro work from Bruce Jones (off the stage because it wasn’t wide enough), Ronnie Seebaugh on banjo, Dustin Frame on mandolin, Glenn Jarvis on fiddle, and Craig Jarvis on bass and tenor harmonies.  The band’s latest album is called Poor Mountain Home, and contains a lot of good originals.  See their website, here.

I traded a business card for a CD, chatted with the Make Welcome gals for a minute, and then headed upstairs.  More anon. /CL

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