Three Women Nominated For IBMA Instrumental Awards

Murphy HenryFrom time to time here I’ll be including some posts with feminist leanings. There will almost always be a bluegrass connection, but I realize some of you may not be interested and might rather scoot on over to visit with our buddies at the Banjo Hangout, so I’ll try to remember to give you a heads up. So, heads up!

Today I want to shine a spotlight on the 2008 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards Final Ballot which I received a few weeks ago and promptly marked and mailed back. It’s rare to see female performers nominated as Instrumental Performers but this year THREE women are nominated and I want everybody to know that this is Big News. (Okay, not as big as Sarah Palin being nominated for Vice President, but still and yet big for the world of bluegrass!)

So, who are these brave and bold women who are carving out new turf?

Kristin Scott Benson—nominated for Banjo Player of the Year, her first nomination.

Sierra Hull—nominated for Mandolin Player of the Year, her first nomination. And she is the first woman to be nominated in this category!

Missy Raines—nominated for Bass Player of the Year. Her 16th nomination!

Congratulations to all of you! You’re doing all us womyn proud!

Now, in case you’d like to put this into perspective, I did a little digging.

Since the IBMA Awards were instituted in 1990, only two women have won Instrumental Awards. Alison Brown was the first, winning Banjo Player of the Year in 1991. Missy Raines became the second in 1998, and has since won six more times. (Go Missy!)

Cia Cherryholmes broke new ground last year (2007) when she became the second woman to be nominated for Banjo Player of the Year.

Alison Brown was nominated a total of four times: 1991, 1992, 1993, and 2001.

Dobro player Sally Van Meter represented women well in the nineties being nominated eight consecutive times: 1990-1997.

And fiddler Alison Krauss didn’t do bad, with seven nominations in the nineties: 1990-1996.

Missy’s wins (so far!) have been in 1998-2001, 2004, 2006, and 2007. She was first nominated in 1991 and every year after except for 1994 and 1995. That’s sixteen nominations!

This year’s female nominations still fall short of those in 1991, 1992, and 1993 when there were four women nominated in four different categories: Alison Brown (banjo), Missy Raines (bass), Sally Van Meter (Dobro), and Alison Krauss (fiddle). Those were very good years!

And, to date, there has never been a woman nominated as Guitar Player of the Year. But I have high, high hopes for Megan McCormick who used to play with Missy’s band The New Hip. She’s coming on strong!

Finally, Big Congratulations to all the IBMA Awards nominees, female and male. We’re looking forward to the Awards Show in Nashville on October 2 when the 2008 winners will be announced.