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2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards Winners Revealed

Steve Martin
Alane Anno

On Thursday evening (September 29), the 22nd annual International Bluegrass Music Awards took place at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, with Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers claiming the top honors as this year’s Entertainers of the Year.

The comedian and actor always included banjo picking in his early stand-up routines, but in recent years has become more serious about recording and performing bluegrass music. In 2009, Martin released his first bluegrass infused album, ‘The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo,’ followed by a second collection of songs titled ‘Rare Bird Alert’ earlier this year.

During his acceptance speech, Martin congratulated the other Entertainer of the Year nominees and jokingly thanked them for losing. He went on to thank producers John McEuen and Tony Trischka, as well as his bandmates. He proceeded to talk about the hard work they’ve put forth into their music, as well as the humor and entertainment aspects of their show, all done without denigrating the music. Martin said that while half of their audience usually comes to see him not knowing anything about bluegrass, “they all leave loving it, and maybe they seek out other musicians. We’re really, really honored to win this award tonight.”

“Working with Steve, we might be the most entertained of all,” added Steep Canyon Rangers’ lead singer Woody Platt. “Most of all we thank Steve for giving us this most amazing ride.”

Back in 2007, Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers took home the IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year trophy following their performance of ‘Me and Paul Revere,’ a song penned by the actor written from the perspective of Revere’s horse.

The 2011 IBMA Awards show was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birthdate of the Father of Bluegrass, the late Bill Monroe. The awards was hosted by legendary mandolin player and band leader Sam Bush.

2011 International Bluegrass Awards Winners:

Hall of Fame Inductees
Del McCoury, George Shuffler

Entertainer of the Year
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Vocal Group of the Year
The Gibson Brothers

Instrumental Group of the Year
The Boxcars

Male Vocalist of the Year
Russell Moore

Female Vocalist of the Year
Dale Ann Bradley

Emerging Artist of the Year
The Boxcars

Album of the Year
Help My Brother’ by the Gibson Brothers (artists), Eric and Leigh Gibson and Mike Barber (producers), Compass (label)

Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year
‘Goin’ Up Dry Branch,’ Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper (artist), Buddy Spicher and Jimmy Martin (songwriters), Jeff White and Michael Cleveland (producers), Rounder (label)

Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year
‘Prayer Bells of Heaven’ by J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams (artists), Ben Isaacs (producer), Mountain Home (label)

Song of the Year
‘Trains I Missed,’ Balsam Range (artists); Walt Wilkins, Gilles Godard and Nicole Witt (songwriters)

Recorded Event of the Year
‘Prayer Bells of Heaven’ by J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams (artists); Ben Isaacs (producer); Mountain Home (label)

Banjo Player of the Year
Kristin Scott Benson and Ron Stewart (tie)

Guitar Player of the Year
Bryan Sutton

Fiddle Player of the Year
Michael Cleveland

Bass Player of the Year
Marshall Wilborn

Mandolin Player of the Year
Adam Steffey

Dobro Player of the Year
Rob Ickes

Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients
Greg Cahill, Bill Knowlton, Lilly Pavlak, Geoff Stelling, Roland White

Broadcaster of the Year
Katy Daley, WAMU Bluegrass Country

Print Media Person of the Year
Juli Thanki, Engine145.com

Bluegrass Event of the Year
Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ Festival; Branson, Mo.

Best Graphic Design
Ricardo Alessio and Erica Harris (designer and artist); Abigail Washburn (artist); Rounder (label)

Best Liner Notes
Colin Escott (writer), ‘A Mother’s Prayer,’ Ralph Stanley (artist); Rebel (label)

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