Rhonda Vincent Takes Five SPBGMA Awards

Show Drags in Spite of Fine Performances

An absent Rhonda Vincent won five trophies — including entertainer of the year — Sunday (Feb. 8) at the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America’s 30th anniversary awards show. The four-hour event was held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville and butted heads with the Grammy presentations, which were scheduled for the same time in Los Angeles. Vincent, who also dominated last year’s SPBGMA awards, was on tour in the Southwest.

In addition to copping the top prize, Vincent also won best contemporary female vocalist, best overall bluegrass band, best album (One Step Ahead) and best song (“Kentucky Borderline”). The band IIIrd Tyme Out was the only other multiple winner. It took the best entertaining group and best contemporary gospel group honors.

Cliff Waldron, who founded New Shades of Grass and whose band, Emerson & Waldron, introduced “Fox on the Run” into the bluegrass songbook, was inducted into SPBGMA’s Preservation Hall of Greats.

Ace bluegrass musician Ronnie Reno hosted the program, which alternated brief performance sets with clusters of awards presentations. The acts that performed were the Mark Newton Band, Honi Deaton & Dream, the Rarely Herd, IIIrd Tyme Out, Kenny & Amanda Smith, the Lonesome River Band, the Lewis Family and Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time.

Early in the show, the father of musician and producer Carl Jackson came on stage to announce that the Louvin Brothers tribute his son had produced had won two Grammys — one for best country album (Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’: Songs of the Louvin Brothers) and the other for best country collaboration with vocals (James Taylor and Alison Krauss’ duet of “How’s the World Treating You.”) Jackson hosted the SPBGMA show last year and has long been a respected bluegrass musician and songwriter.

As usual, the awards show drew a crowd of several hundred fans, most of whom were attending SPBGMA’s annual convention, which began Feb. 5. The show was so loosely scripted and directed that it seemed to inch along in spite of particularly impressive performances by the Lewis Family and Cordle and his band. By the time Cordle wrapped up the evening with “Highway 40 Blues,” only a couple of hundred people remained.

This year’s SPBGMA winners:

Entertainer: Rhonda Vincent
Bluegrass Band (overall): Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
Entertaining Group: IIIrd Tyme Out
Vocal Group: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Instrumental Group: the Del McCoury Band
Song: “Kentucky Borderline,” as recorded by Rhonda Vincent
Songwriter(s): Tom T. Hall and Dixie Hall
Album: One Step Ahead, Rhonda Vincent
Female Vocalist (contemporary): Rhonda Vincent
Female Vocalist (traditional): Lynn Morris
Male Vocalist (contemporary): Larry Stephenson
Male Vocalist (traditional): Dan Tyminski
Gospel Group (overall): Mountain Heart
Gospel Group (contemporary): IIIrd Tyme Out
Gospel Group (traditional): The Lewis Family
Bass: Missy Raines
Dobro: Tim Graves
Guitar: Kenny Smith
Mandolin: Ronnie McCoury
Banjo: Sammy Shelor
Fiddle: Hunter Berry
Promoter: Deana Stephenson
Radio Station: WSM-AM, Nashville, Tenn.
DJ: Eddie Stubbs, WSM-AM, Nashville, Tenn.
Club Newsletter: Inside Bluegrass, Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association

Masters Gold Awards
Best Contemporary Male Vocalist: Russell Moore
Best Traditional Gospel Group: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Best Overall Gospel Group: The Lewis Family
Best Promoter: Norman Adams

2004 Inductee, SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats: Cliff Waldron

Set List:

Mark Newton Band
“Covered Meadow”

Honi Deaton & Dream
“Jesus Is Risen From the Dead”
“Send Me the Pillow You Dream On”
“It’s Too Late to Walk the Floor”

The Rarely Herd
“Miss Me But Let Me Go”
“The Old Church Bell”
“A Hundred Years From Now”

IIIrd Tyme Out
“Broken Hearted Lover”
“Come Back to Me in My Dreams”
“How Great Thou Art”
“When My Time Comes to Go”
“Only You”

Kenny & Amanda Smith
“Winter’s Come and Gone”
“House Down the Block”
“I Know Where Love Lives”
“Big Ball in Boston”

Lonesome River Band
“Who Needs You”
“Tune of a Twenty-Dollar Bill”
“Rounder’s Spirit”
“Bringing in the Georgia Mail”

The Lewis Family
“America the Beautiful”
“When I Reach That City on the Hill”
“Family and Friends”
“The Flight That Is Leaving Soon”
“Gospel Boogie”
“In the Garden”
“A Brand New Song”
“The Old Family Table”
Instrumental Medley: “Lonesome Road Blues”/Shuckin’ the Corn”/”Foggy Mountain Breakdown”/”Dueling Banjos”

Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time
“Anything Southbound”
“Black Diamond Strings”
“Plumb Sideways”
“Murder on Music Row”
“Highway 40 Blues”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.