Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lee Ann Womack and Jerry Douglas to Host IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards

Grammy-winning country vocalist Lee Ann Womack and Grammy-winning musician Jerry Douglas  will host IBMA’s 25th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for October 2 at Raleigh, North Carolina’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Known as bluegrass music’s biggest night of the year, the International Bluegrass Music Awards acknowledges the year’s outstanding talent and achievements, honors new Hall of Fame inductees, and waves the worldwide flag for bluegrass music. 

The International Bluegrass Music Awards is part of International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass 2014 event, which takes place September 30 –  October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina

“Aside from the fact that each has a boatload of undeniable talent and personality, Jerry Douglas and Lee Ann Womack share a musical outlook that has plenty of room for creativity and innovation on the one hand, and for a love and mastery of tradition on the other,” said IBMA Board chair Jon Weisberger. “It’s a perfect combination, and one that exemplifies the enduring vitality of our kinds of music. To say that we’re excited about having these folks hosting our awards is an understatement." 

Womack slipped into Raleigh during last year's World of Bluegrass to enjoy a grassroots fan's perspective, catching Wide Open Bluegrass and street fair artists, listening in to some of the many jam sessions (occasionally acceding to requests to sing from pickers who recognized her), and enjoying the Awards Show that she now looks forward to hosting with Jerry Douglas.

“Last year, I came as a fan – and I loved every moment of World of Bluegrass!” Womack said. “The joy everybody has about the music, the quality of the playing, seeing old friends, discovering new artists and even meeting Tony Rice! To be a part of the IBMA Awards is such an honor, I can’t tell you... and to get to co-host with Jerry Douglas? How lucky can one girl get?!”

"It is my great pleasure to be co-hosting this year's IBMA Awards,” said Douglas. "In the forty years that I have been a professional musician, starting with the Country Gentlemen in 1973, bluegrass music has been my anchor and compass wherever I may go. If that weren't enough, I get to share duties with the beautiful Lee Ann Womack, one of the most amazing singers in the world and a very funny lady. I don't exactly see a night of sticking to the teleprompter with her around, and that is just fine with me. I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful evening for us all!"

Womack, who burst onto the scene with “Never Again Again,” has always been a purist about music. A singer’s singer, in addition to her international multiple week #1 “I Hope You Dance,” recently performed by special request at Maya Angelou’s memorial, the Jacksonville, Texan has recorded with Bryan Sutton on Divided & United, Buddy Miller on multiple projects, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Don Henley, David Nail and Dan Tyminski. The Way I’m Livin’, her much anticipated roots music project on the Sugar Hill label, has already received positive notice from The Wall Street Journal, RollingStone.com and USA Today

Womack's connection to bluegrass goes beyond just being a fan of the music.  Ricky and Sharon White Skaggs put in appearances on her first two albums, while for her epic I Hope You Dance, Womack brought in Ronnie Bowman and a pre-O Brother Dan Tyminski to sing with her on the Don Williams classic, "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good" - and, coincidentally, kicked off the album with Ronnie and Greg Luck's "The Healing Kind."  A few years later, she returned to the well when she tapped a group of bluegrassers that included Bowman and members of the just-forming Infamous Stringdusters to accompany her on a couple of memorable tours, and she's continued to call on Bowman and long-time friend Shawn Lane (Blue Highway) for occasional performances since.  

Internationally recognized as one of the world’s most renowned Dobro players, Douglas ranks among the top contemporary artists in American music. Douglas has garnered 13 Grammy Awards while holding the distinction of being named “Musician of the Year” by The Country Music Association (2002, 2005, 2007), The Academy of Country Music (11 times), and The Americana Music Association (2002, 2003), as well as numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards.  In 2004, the National Endowment for The Arts honored Douglas with a National Heritage Fellowship, acknowledging his artistic excellence and contribution to the nation's traditional arts, their highest such accolade. In addition to his groundbreaking work as a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station, The Country Gentlemen, J.D. Crowe & The New South, Boone Creek, Strength in Numbers, Elvis Costello’s Sugarcanes, and others, Douglas has graced over 2,000 recordings by such distinguished artists as James Taylor, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Elvis Costello, Garth Brooks, Charlie Haden, Earl Scruggs, Phish, Emmylou Harris, Bill Frisell, The Chieftains, and the eight million-plus selling soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?

On September 16, 2014, Rounder Records will release two very special albums featuring Douglas: Three Bells, featuring Douglas collaborating with fellow Dobro masters Mike Auldridge and Rob Ickes, and The Earls of Leicester, a bluegrass supergroup featuring Douglas, Tim O'Brien, Shawn Camp, Barry Bales, Charlie Cushman, and Johnny Warren paying tribute to the music of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs.

Tickets for the Award Show, as well as for the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration and hotel reservations – along with additional details and pricing information – are available through IBMA’s website, ibma.org.

*Information Courtesy of IBMA Press Release

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