2021 IBMA Hall of Fame Inductees & Bluegrass Music Award Winners List: Billy Strings, Alison Krauss, Sierra Hull, Dale Ann Bradley

On Thursday, September 30, The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) hosted the 32nd Annual Bluegrass Music Awards at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The awards show was part of the IBMA World of Bluegrass Festival—a five-day immersive experience to celebrate regionally-bred music traditions. In 2013, IBMA moved the event from its previous Nashville home to North Carolina’s capital city. In June, the association announced has extended its contract with the City of Raleigh through 2024, ensuring that Raleigh will remain a destination for bluegrass music for years to come.

After a virtual 2020 event, live music flooded the downtown streets. Friday (October 1) and Saturday (October 2), ticketed shows on the Main Stage featured sets from Béla Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart, featuring Michael Cleveland, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz & Bryan Sutton; The Del McCoury Band; Steep Canyon Rangers; Yonder Mountain String Band; and Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer & Odessa Settles. Additionally, four StreetFest stages were set up for locals and visitors to enjoy free performances throughout the weekend.

Hosted by the Infamous Stringdusters, the Award Show featured performances from Sister Sadie, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, The Del McCoury Band, Balsam Range, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, and the Stringdusters. The ceremony also included special performances to honor each of the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Inductees—The Stoneman Family, Lynn Morris, and Alison Krauss.

Following the release of his third full-length Renewal, Billy Strings was named both Entertainer of the Year and Guitar Player of the Year. The recognition is a remarkable evolution for the breakthrough talent who won New Artist of the Year at the 2019 show.

Keeping pace with the 28-year-old phenom, there were a few other multi-award winners from the evening. Appalachian Road Show stepped behind Strings to take New Artist of the Year, as well as Instrumental Group. The enduring roots music matriarch, Dale Ann Bradley was recognized as Female Vocalist for the sixth time. Her Gospel Recording, “After While” tied with “In the Resurrection Morning,” Sacred Reunion featuring Doyle Lawson, Vince Gill, Barry Abernathy, Tim Stafford, Mark Wheeler, Jim VanCleve, Phil Leadbetter, Jason Moore for the 2021 title. Breakthrough Bluegrass star Sierra Hull—who performed a headliner with Belá Fleck on Friday—won Mandolinist of the Year. Her second award came as part of the team of artists recognized for Collaborative Recording of the Year on Bobby Osborne’s “White Line Fever.”

The domineering all-female quartet Sister Sadie took home Vocal Group of the Year for the third time in a row. But this year, their newest, youngest member Jaeleee Roberts was honored with Momentum Vocalist of the Year at the 2021 Momentum Awards held Wednesday, September 29 as part of the Festival.

Complete list of IBMA Bluegrass Music Award winners:

Entertainer of the year

Balsam Range

*Billy Strings

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

The Del McCoury Band

The Po’ Ramblin’ BOys

Vocal Group of the year:

Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Balsam Range

Blue Highway

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

*Sister Sadie

Instrumental group of the year:

*Appalachian Road Show

Billy Strings

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

The Infamous Stringdusters

The Travelin’ McCourys

Song of the year:

“Banjo Player’s Blues,” High Fidelity

“Hitchhiking to California,” Alan Bibey & Grasstowne

“Just Load the Wagon,” Junior Sisk

“Leaving on Her Mind,” Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

*“Richest Man,” Balsam Range (artist), Jim Beavers/Jimmy Yeary/Connie Harrington (songwriters), Balsam Range (producer), Mountain Home Records (label)

Album of the year

Bluegrass 2020, Scott Vestal, Patrick McAvinue, Cody Kilby, Dominick Leslie, Curtis Vestal

Distance and Time, Becky Buller

Fall Like Rain, Justin Moses

*Industrial Strength Bluegrass: Southwestern Ohio’s Musical Legacy,  Various Artists, Joe Mullins (producer), Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Load the Wagon, Junior Sisk

Still Here, Steve Gulley & Tom Stafford

Gospel Recording of the year (tie): 

*“After While,” Dale Ann Bradley

“Grit and Grace,” Balsam Range

“Hear Jerusalem Calling,” Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

* “In the Resurrection Morning,” Sacred Reunion featuring Doyle Lawson, Vince Gill, Barry Abernathy, Tim Stafford, Mark Wheeler, Jim VanCleve, Phil Leadbetter, Jason Moore

“When He Calls My Name,” Alan Bibey & Grasstowne

Instrumental Recording of the Year:

“The Appalachian Road,” Appalachian Road Show

“Foggy Mountain Chimes,” Scott Vestel, Patric McAvinue, Cody Kilby, Dominick Leslie, Curtis Vestal

*“Ground Speed,” Kristin Scott Benson, Skip Cherryholmes, Jeremy Garrett, Kevin Kehrberg, Darren Nicholson

“Mountain Strings,” Sierra Hull

“Taxland,” Justin Moses with Sierra Hull

New Artist of the Year:

*Appalachian Road Show

Carolina Blue

Gina Furtado Project

High Fidelity

Merle Monroe

Collaborative Recording of the Year:

“Birmingham Jail,” Barry Abernathy with Vince Gill

“In the Resurrection Morning,” Sacred Reunion featuring Doyle Lawson, Vince Gill, Barry Abernathy, Tim Stafford, Mark Wheeler, Jim VanCleve, Phil Leadbetter, Jason Moore

“My Baby’s Gone,” Justin Moses with Del McCoury

“Tears of Regret,” High Fidelity with Jesse McReynolds

*“White Line Fever,” Bobby Osborne with Tim O’Brien, Trey Hensley, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Todd Phillips, Alison Brown

Female Vocalist of the Year:

Brooke Aldridge

*Dale Ann Bradley

Sierra Hull

Molly Tuttle

Rhonda Vincent

Male Vocalist of the Year (tie): 

Ronnie Bowman

*Danny Paisley

*Del McCoury

Junior Sisk

Larry Sparks

Banjo Player of the Year:

Gena Britt

Gina Furtado

Rob McCoury

Kristin Scott Benson

*Scott Vestal

Bass Player of the Year: 

Mike Bub

Todd Phillips

*Missy Raines

Mark Schatz

Marshall Wilborn

Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year: 

Jerry Douglas

Andy Hall

Rob Ickes

Phil Leadbetter

*Justin Moses

Fiddle Player of the Year: 

Jason Carter

Michael Cleveland

Stuart Duncan

*Bronwyn Keith-Hynes

Deanie Richardson

Guitar Player of the Year: 

Trey Hensley

*Billy Strings

Bryan Sutton

Molly Tuttle

Jake Workman

Mandolin Player of the Year: 

Jesse Brock

Sam Bush

*Sierra Hull

Ronnie McCoury

Tristan Scroggins

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