IBMA Announces Nominees For Special Awards, Momentum Awards

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced the nominees for this year’s Special Awards and Momentum Awards. The recipients of both categories will be presented with their awards at luncheons on Sept. 26-27 in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event Sept. 25-29. Thursday’s Awards Luncheon will include a segment honoring the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Achievement Awards. Registration for the IBMA Business Conference is required to attend the events.

“The virtuosity of bluegrass musicians is recognized worldwide. With the Special Awards, we recognize that same quality, found in our industry professionals who make vital contributions felt by everyone,” says IBMA’s Executive Director Paul Schiminger. “The Momentum Awards celebrate both the incredible achievements of the rising stars in our music, and the generosity of those who mentor them.  Congratulations to each and every nominee for being recognized by your peers!”

The Special Awards recognize outstanding work in categories including Broadcaster of the Year, Bluegrass Event of the Year, Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project, Best Liner Notes for a Recorded Project, Print/Media Person of the Year and Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year. New this year will be Sound Engineer of the Year, in recognition of audio professionals in both live and studio settings.

The Momentum Awards recognize both musicians and bluegrass industry professionals who, in the early stages of their careers, are making significant contributions to or are having a significant influence upon bluegrass music. These contributions can be to bluegrass music in general, or to a specific sector of the industry. The Mentor Award, in contrast to the other Momentum Awards, recognizes a bluegrass professional who has made a significant impact on the lives and careers of newcomers to the bluegrass industry.

The 2018 IBMA Special Awards nominees are:
Graphic Design:
Drew Bolen & Whitney Beard – Project: Old Salt Unionby Old Salt Union
Lou Everhart – Project: A Heart Never Knowsby The Price Sisters
Richard Hakalski – Project: Portraits and Fiddlesby Mike Barnett
Corey Johnson – Project: Sounds of Kentuckyby Carolina Blue
Karen Key – Project: Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition by Various Artists

Liner Notes:
Craig Havighurst – Project: The Story We Tell by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
Steve Martin – Project: The Long Awaited Album by Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
Joe Mullins – Project: Sounds of Kentucky Grassby Carolina Blue
Ted Olson – Project: Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Traditionby Various Artists
Peter Wernick – Project: Carter Stanley’s Eyesby Peter Rowan

Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year:
Larry Carter
Michelle Lee
Steve Martin
Alan Tompkins
Kris Truelsen

Print Media Person of the Year:
Derek Halsey
Chris Jones
Ted Lehmann
David Morris
Neil Rosenberg

Songwriter of the Year:
Becky Buller
Thomm Jutz
Jerry Salley
Donna Ulisse
Jon Weisberger

Event of the Year:
Bluegrass on the Green – Frankfort, IL
County Bluegrass – Fort Fairfield, ME
Emelin Theatre – Mamaroneck, NY
Flagler Museum’s Bluegrass in the Pavilion – Palm Beach, FL
FreshGrass Festival – North Adams, MA

Sound Engineer of the Year:
Dave Sinko
Stephen Mougin
Gary Paczosa
Tim Reitnouer
Ben Surratt

Momentum Award nominees:
Anderson Bluegrass Festival – SC
Farm & Fun Time – VA
Hovander Homestead Bluegrass Festival – WA
Red Wing Roots Music Festival – VA
SamJam Bluegrass Festival – OH

Industry Involvement:
Megan Lynch Chowning and Adam Chowning
Justin Hiltner
Kris Truelsen

Daniel Boner
Cathy Fink
Scott Napier
Jon Weisberger
Pete Wernick

Cane Mill Road
Man About a Horse
Midnight Skyracer
The Trailblazers
Wood Belly

Ellie Hakanson (Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Greg Blake Band)
Will Jones (Terry Baucom & the Dukes of Drive)
AJ Lee (AJ Lee & Blue Summit)
Evan Murphy (Mile Twelve)
Daniel Thrailkill (The Trailblazers)

Instrumentalist [three are chosen in this category]:
Tabitha Agnew (Midnight Skyracer)
David Benedict (Mile Twelve)
Catherine (“BB”) Bowness (Mile Twelve)
Thomas Cassell (Circus No. 9)
Hasee Ciaccio (Molly Tuttle Band)
Matthew Davis (Circus No. 9)
Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (Mile Twelve)
Aynsley Porchak (Carolina Blue)
Trajan Wellington (Cane Mill Road)



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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at

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