The members of the Del McCoury Band, singularly and collectively, will contend for top honors in 10 of 17 categories at the 11th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards. Trophies will be handed out during a gala event hosted by Marty Stuart on October 19 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts during IBMA’s weeklong “World of Bluegrass” trade show and bluegrass fan festival in Louisville.
Incumbents of the prestigious Entertainer of the Year field, McCoury and his band will compete for their fifth award in that category. The quintet, dubbed “The First Family of Bluegrass,” also is up for Instrumental Group of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. Band members Ronnie McCoury (mandolin), Rob McCoury (banjo), Mike Bub (bass) and Jason Carter (fiddle) are all nominated on their respective instruments. Ronnie McCoury — vying for his eighth straight victory in the mandolin field — also picked up nods for Instrumental Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year for his participation on Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza, a multi-artist project he played on and co-produced. Perennial favorite Del McCoury is up for Male Vocalist of the Year, and he earned a citation for Recorded Event of the Year, for his work on Benny Martin’s The “Big Tiger” Roars Again, Part I. In all, the McCoury gang has 11 citations, but the group members are represented in only 10 categories with both Ronnie and Del recognized in the same field for Recorded Event of the Year.
Following The Del McCoury Band in this year’s tally is Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, with nominations in eight categories. Voted top Instrumental Group for two years running, Skaggs and company are tapped again for the same honor. The group is also up for Entertainer of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year, for the album Soldier of the Cross. Like Ronnie McCoury, Skaggs is nominated in the mandolin category and his participation on Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza has earned him citations in the Instrumental Album and Recorded Event of the Year divisions. He competes against himself in the latter category, getting a second nod in the field for his appearance on Martin’s album. Kentucky Thunder’s Bobby Hicks (fiddle) and “Smilin'” Jim Mills (banjo) earned nominations on their instruments.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Dolly Parton, who made her first full-fledged foray into bluegrass last year with The Grass Is Blue, was received well by the voting membership of the IBMA. Parton earned nods for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year.
Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time’s original recording of “Murder on Music Row,” a Top 40 country hit for George Strait and Alan Jackson, is up for Song of the Year. Cordle’s CD of the same name competes for Album of the Year.
Other acts with multiple nominations include the Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Nickel Creek, J.D. Crowe & The New South, Rhonda Vincent and Doc Watson, among others.
Guitar legend Watson will be inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Honor during the awards ceremony. Also elected into the Hall of Honor is Lance LeRoy, a booking agent and manager who has represented Lester Flatt, The Osborne Brothers, Del McCoury and others.