Kristin Scott Benson
When we left Memphis we had to drop by Nashville for one day. The IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) awards were on for Thursday, and our friend Kristin Scott Benson was nominated for banjo player of the year. I think she’d be the first to tell you she was an underdog- she was up against some legendary players, but we love her style. She and her husband Wayne are fine human beings as well as fabulous players, so we wanted to be supportive.
The presenter read off the names… “Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe… Kristin Scott Benson.” The nomination alone is a huge honor. We were so proud. They fumbled with the envelope for a long moment, then moved into the microphone. And the winner is….”Kristin Scott Benson!”
Now I gotta tell you, I am not much of an emotional sort of guy. If my favorite baseball player hits a home run, I’ll look up from my coffee and say, “Well, I’ll be. Tagged his slider, huh?”
Not this time. I jumped to my feet, threw my hands up in the air and hollered to the top of my lungs. “YES!” My loudest bird dog whistle cut through the crowd. My wife had the same reaction, but she then had to tug my elbow and tell me to hush.
Kristin and Wayne represent some of the best of modern bluegrass music. To look at Kristin you’d say she was the babysitter from next door here to look after the children, but be not fooled. She might be young, but she’s an articulate, educated woman who has made her way in what was a man’s world. In particular the banjo has been that way up to now. After the show I thought about it, and I believe she may be the first woman to ever win that award.
Kristin is much like my wife and daughter- you can’t help but admire it when a lady is both feminine and tough. After all, she is not only a successful professional in a very competitive business, but a fine wife and mother. However, there is no tokenism in bluegrass. Either you can cut the gig or you can’t. And Kristin can cut the gig. In fact, until the award comes up next year (and beyond if my vote counts) she is the best banjo player in the world. Way to go Kristin!
Kristin Scott Benson tours with the Larry Stephenson Band and also Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time. He husband Wayne is a multiple SPBGMA winner on the mandolin and plays with the award winning group Russell Moore and III Tyme Out.
Check out the IBMA pictures at http://tedlehmann.blogspot.com
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