Dailey & Vincent continued their winning ways during the 21st annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Thursday at the Ryman Auditorium. The act collected five trophies, including its third consecutive Entertainer of the Year honor.
Dailey & Vincent also won Vocal Group and Recorded Event of the Year, the latter shared with Larry Stephenson for “Give This Message To Your Heart.” Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers, recorded for Cracker Barrel, led the band to two additional victories: Album of the Year and Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project.
Appropriately, they performed “Elizabeth” during the awards show with a guest appearance on the third verse by Jimmy Fortune, who wrote and sang lead on the Statlers’ original 1984 release.
The Statlers “were really, really great singers and great entertainers,” said Jamie Dailey, who called the project his “dream album.”
Inspired by the Statlers and a raft of bluegrass predecessors, Dailey & Vincent take the entertainment component of their gig seriously. They are regularly reminded, Dailey said, that many members of their audience on any given night are going through difficult times with the economy, health or family.
“It’s our job,” Dailey said, to “entertain those people and to make their cares go away for an hour and a half.”
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper figured in three awards. The band walked off with Instrumental Group of the Year, and two members were recognized among the IBMA’s musician winners: Michael Cleveland took the fiddle trophy and Marshall Wilborn claimed bass. Josh Williams, the Gibson Brothers, “Ring The Bell” songwriter Chet O’Keefe and former Union Station mandolin player Adam Steffey were all double winners.
Hosted by Jerry Douglas with Sharon and Cheryl White, the awards included plenty of praise for the Ryman, which provided a historic link on several occasions. The Sam Bush Band played its nominated song “The Ballad Of Stringbean And Estelle,” which recounted the night comedian Stringbean and his wife were ambushed and killed by robbers in November 1973. The crime took place when they returned home after his performance on the Grand Ole Opry, then held at the Ryman.
The Whites and Alison Krauss + Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas played a trio of songs from the 10-year-old O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, much of which was performed live at the Ryman for the first time in May 2000.
And Earl, Randy and Gary Scruggs performed “You Are My Flower” after the late Louise Scruggs was inducted in the IBMA Hall of Fame. Earl’s first performance with Lester Flatt in Bill Monroe’s band, at the Ryman in 1945, is a seminal moment in bluegrass history. It was also at the Ryman that Earl and Louise met.
Also installed in the Hall of Fame was John Hartford, who was hailed as a forerunner of the newgrass movement and as a gregarious musician with a load of wit and wisdom.
“Do what you love,” presenter Tim O’Brien remembered him saying. “That way, if it doesn’t work out, you didn’t waste your time.”
Appropriately, the John Hartford String Band led the night’s final performance, joined by Jamie Hartford, Dobro players Tut Taylor and Jerry Douglas, banjo player Allison Brown, mandolinists Sam Bush and Tim O’Brien and vocalist Peter Rowan. They collectively turned in a joyfully reverent version of “Gentle On My Mind,” the Grammy-winning standard John wrote for Glen Campbell.
Winners of the 21st annual IBMA Awards include:
• ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR: Dailey & Vincent
• VOCAL GROUP: Dailey & Vincent
• INSTRUMENTAL GROUP: Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
• MALE VOCALIST: Russell Moore
• FEMALE VOCALIST: Claire Lynch
• SONG: “Ring The Bell”, The Gibson Brothers (artists); Chet O’Keefe (songwriter)
• ALBUM: Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers, Dailey & Vincent (artists & producers)
• RECORDED EVENT: “Give This Message To Your Heart”, Larry Stephenson featuring Dailey & Vincent (artists), Ben Surratt & Larry Stephenson (producers)
• INSTRUMENTAL RECORDED PERFORMANCE: “Durang’s Hornpipe,” Adam Steffey (artist), Barry Bales & Gary Paczosa (producers)
• GOSPEL RECORDED PERFORMANCE: “Ring The Bell”, The Gibson Brothers (artists & producers), Chet O’Keefe (songwriter)
• EMERGING ARTIST: Josh Williams Band
• BANJO: Kristin Scott Benson
• BASS: Marshall Wilborn
• FIDDLE: Michael Cleveland
• DOBRO: Rob Ickes
• GUITAR: Josh Williams
• MANDOLIN: Adam Steffey
• DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Benjamin “Tex” Logan, Sherry Boyd, Lynn Morris, Richard Weize, Pete Wernick
• BLUEGRASS BROADCASTER: Kyle Cantrell, Sirius XM Satellite Radio
• PRINT MEDIA PERSON: Eddie Dean, Dr. Ralph Stanley, authors of Man Of Constant Sorrow: My Life And Times
• LINER NOTES FOR A RECORDED PROJECT: Dr. Ted Olson (writer), Appalachia Music from Home, Various Artists
• BEST GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR A RECORDED PROJECT: Julie Craig, Cracker Barrel (designer); Dailey & Vincent; Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers
• BLUEGRASS EVENT: 14th Annual Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, East Hartford, Ct.