Sister Sadie, an all-female bluegrass group, won entertainer of the year at the 31st annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards, which were presented online Thursday evening (Oct. 1).
In addition, the group took vocal group of the year for the second year in a row, while one of its members, Deanie Richardson, won fiddle player of the year for the first time.
The awards are usually presented in the Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, N.C, the city where the IBMA is based. The COVID-19 crisis forced the event to go online. But there was one saving grace: The producers were able to use an empty Ryman Auditorium in Nashville as a location for several performances as well as anchor hosting by four musicians — Sierra Hull, Rhonda Vincent, Joe Newberry and Tim O’Brien.
Garth Brooks, Ronnie McCoury and Vince Gill inducted this year’s three new members of the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
Brooks inducted New Grass Revival, one of the top progressive bluegrass bands of the 1970s and ’80s. McCoury inducted The Johnson Mountain Boys, hardcore bluegrass traditionalists. Gill inducted J.T. Gray, owner of the iconic Station Inn in Nashville. In his remarks, Gill said the venue is “far more than a venue or a club. It’s a home.” The Station Inn was also the setting of a performance by Po’ Ramblin’ Boys.
Brooke Aldridge took female vocalist of the year for the fourth year in a row. Danny Paisley won male vocalist of the year for the second time. He previously won in 2016.
Four past winners of female vocalist of the year — Vincent, Aldridge, Amanda Smith and Dale Ann Bradley — sang “Down to The River to Pray” a cappella to mark the 20th anniversary of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
Album of the year went to a live recording by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. It marked the first time a live album has won in the category since 2003, when Alison Krauss and Union Station’s double-disk Live won the award.
Michael Cleveland won in both the instrumental group and instrumental recording categories.
Here’s a complete list of recipients of the 2020 IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards:
Entertainer of the year: Sister Sadie
Female vocalist of the year: Brooke Aldridge
Male vocalist of the year: Danny Paisley
Vocal group of the year: Sister Sadie
Instrumental group of the year: Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
New artist of the year: Mile Twelve
Song of the year: “Chicago Barn Dance” – Special Consensus with Michael Cleveland & Becky Buller (artists), Becky Buller/Missy Raines/Alison Brown (writers), Alison Brown (producer), Compass Records (label)
Album of the year: Live in Prague, Czech Republic – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artist), Doyle Lawson and Rosta Capek (producers), Billy Blue Records (label)
Gospel recording of the year: “Gonna Rise and Shine” – Alan Bibey & Grasstowne (artist), Mark Hodges (producer), Mountain Fever Records (label)
Instrumental recording of the year: “Tall Fiddler” – Michael Cleveland with Tommy Emmanuel (artists), Jeff White, Michael Cleveland, Sean Sullivan (producers), Compass Records (label)
Collaborative recording of the year: “The Barber’s Fiddle” – Becky Buller with Shawn Camp, Jason Carter, Laurie Lewis, Kati Penn, Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Johnny Warren, Stuart Duncan, Deanie Richardson, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Jason Barie, Fred Carpenter, Tyler Andal, Nate Lee, Dan Boner, Brian Christianson, and Laura Orshaw (artists), Stephen Mougin (producer), Dark Shadow Recording (label)
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: Deanie Richardson
Guitar player of the year: Jake Workman
Mandolin player of the year: Alan Bibey