Fervor Coulee & Lonesome Road Review’s 2014 IBMA Award Predictions   Leave a comment

This coming week, the International Bluegrass Music Association will hand out their annual awards in Raleigh, NC. While I long ago allowed my professional membership in the IBMA lapse, I still like to play along each year and predict who I think will take home the hardware. For the last couple years, Aaron from the Lonesome Road Review has asked me to play along with him and our cohort Larry.

This year, we reached consensus on absolutely zero categories. In eleven categories we had consistency between two of us, while in another six we each tossed our votes in different directions. Of note, we selected three different releases as our Album of the Year, either an indication that we have no idea what we are doing, or that there are several worthy candidates.

Our choices are itemized over at the LRR. In a true expression of democracy, we don’t provide commentary or justification for our picks. The awards show will go Thursday evening, and if I get home from work on time- and the live feeds work- I’ll blog along as the awards are handed out, providing my reasons for my picks then. (I’m always torn between picking who I think should win, who I would like to see win, and predicting who I believe will win, and those can be three different choices! With my LRR picks, I ‘think’ I went with who I thought should win, but likely wasn’t completely consistent. And, by the way, I prewed the schooch on one category entirely…not sure what I was thinking!  As much as I appreciate Blue Highway, I meant to choose Balsam Range as my Instrumental Group of the Year.)

Aaron does make a comment that I disagree with. I don’t believe that IBMA award recipients (instrumentation and vocal awards) should have their name retired after four, seven, or twenty wins. If someone has the chops to be named by the industry professionals- and it is admittedly a pretty loose definition- ‘top whatever’ multiple times, I don’t think we should be creating an artificial cap.

While it may be true that Rob Ickes and Michael Cleveland don’t need another trophy, in my opinion it would undermine anyone else who was awarded the recognition should they be no longer allowed on the ballot. Using a sports reference, should Bobby Orr have stopped receiving Norris Trophy recognition after (let’s say) 1970 just so Brad Park could have had a chance at the top prize?

When someone comes along and performs at such a level to legitimately de-throne the perennial winners, it will happen. For example, Rhonda Vincent won female vocal honours seven years in a row until she was unseated by Dale Ann Bradley, and she hasn’t won since although she is annually nominated. Whether tastes changed, skills diminished, or other factors were at play doesn’t matter in my opinion: she had a great run, others started to get more votes, and the competition remains legitimate. Had Vincent been retired after five victories, each time Bradley won the award- or Claire Lynch- the designation would be tarnished by the absence of Vincent on the ballot.

Besides, the entire slate of instrumental awards, excepting hubcap guitar, should go to members of John Reischman & the Jaybirds!

For more insightful commentary on an awards show that receives even less attention than the Americana awards, return to Fervor Coulee on Thursday evening!


Posted 2014 September 26 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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