What’s Happening in the Bluegrass World this Month
Things are starting to return to a bit of normalcy, finally. The San Diego Bluegrass Society is restarting its second Tuesday jam session, which will be held November 9 at the Mainstream Bar and Grill, outdoors, in Poway. A fall bluegrass campout is taking place. The California Bluegrass Association (CBA) is putting on an event called the South State 48 on November 5-7 in Carlsbad, at the Carlsbad by the Sea Hotel (with the big windmill). The event is described by CBA as:
The theme of this inaugural festival, and its name, is take from another CBA event, held annually in Bakersfield, called The Great 48. The number refers to 48 hours of jamming during the winter dry spell for bluegrass, held in a safe, welcoming spot where all day and all night jamming is not only allowed, it is encouraged! There is no charge to attend, other than hotel costs for those who choose to stay on site, and everyone is invited whether you come to pick and sing or just hang out and enjoy the music.
SDBS will be there, as will Summergrass and the North San Diego County Bluegrass and Folk Club. Word is that there are lots of safe outdoor jamming spaces. Also expect interesting vendors and other great activities.
Every year the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) holds its annual awards show and issues the equivalent of Bluegrass Grammys to outstanding bands, musicians, and professionals in the bluegrass world. Here is a rundown on key winners for 2021
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR: Billy Strings
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR: Sister Sadie
INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR: Appalachian Road Show
SONG OF THE YEAR: “Richest Man” by Balsam Range (artist), Jim Beavers/Jimmy Yeary/Connie Harrington (songwriters), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label).
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Industrial Strength Bluegrass: Southwestern Ohio’s Musical Legacy by various artists, Joe Mullins (producer), Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (label).
GOSPEL RECORDING OF THE YEAR (Tie): “After While” by Dale Ann Bradley (artist), Public Domain, Dale Ann Bradley (producers), Pinecastle Records (label). “In the Resurrection Morning” by Sacred Reunion, featuring Doyle Lawson, Vince Gill, Barry Abernathy, Tim Stafford, Mark Wheeler, Jim VanCleve, Phil Leadbetter, Jason Moore (artists), Mark Wheeler (songwriter), Barry Abernathy, Jim VanCleve (producers), Dottie Leonard Miller (executive producer), Billy Blue Records (label).
INSTRUMENTAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR: “Ground Speed” by Kristin Scott Benson, Skip Cherryholmes, Jeremy Garrett, Kevin Kehrberg, Darren Nicholson (artists), Earl Scruggs (songwriter), Jon Weisberger (producer), Mountain Home Music (label).
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Appalachian Road Show
COLLABORATIVE RECORDING OF THE YEAR: “White Line Fever” by Bobby Osborne with Tim O’Brien, Trey Hensley, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Todd Phillips, Alison Brown (artists), Merle Haggard/Jeff Tweedy (songwriters), Alison Brown, Garry West (producers), Compass Records (label).
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR: Dale Ann Bradley
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR (Tie): Danny Paisley, Del McCoury
BANJO PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Scott Vestal
BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Missy Raines
RESOPHONIC GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Justin Moses
FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bronwyn Keith-Hynes
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Billy Strings
MANDOLIN PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Sierra Hull
In a bit of sad news, we want to report that outstanding resophonic guitar player Phil Leadbetter has died after a long battle with cancer. In his immuno- compromised position due to cancer treatments, it was Covid that finally took him down. We send our best to his family and friends. Phil played with Dale Ann Bradley, Grasstown, and others over his long career and was named Dobro Player of the Year by IBMA in 2015.