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!

Dr. B

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

Explore posts in the same categories: Banjo players I know, memorable gigs


You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

6 Comments on “Kristin Scott Benson”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    This morning, Sunday, Kristin and the Larry Stephenson band played part of the all Gospel show that closes IBMA. They all wore black suits and ties, while Kristen wore a red blouse and black pants suit, and looked terrific. Stephenson has one of those pure tenor voices that comes from pretty far down and doesn’t get stuck in his nose. Kristen’s voice blends perfectly with his on the trios, and her picking is restrained, contained, and subperb. And Doc’s right, too; she’s about as nice as they come. Come on over to my place and check out the pictures from IBMA, especially those of Mrs. Benson. – Ted

  2. drtombibey Says:


    She’s the best banjo player in the world -2008. Y’all check out Kristin Scott Benson at Ted’s blog. The link is:

    Dr. B

  3. pandemonic Says:

    I’m checking it out.

  4. drtombibey Says:


    Kristin is a fine person, and as evidenced by the award, one h$## of a player.

    Dr. B

  5. Ted Lehmann Says:

    While winning Banjo Player of the Year for 2008, Kristin is not the first woman to win it. Allison Brown won in 1991. Brown now plays largely jazz grass, where she excels. – Ted

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Folks the English Professor is a walking bluegrass encylopedia. I did not realize Allison won- she is a great player too.

    Allison Brown was a Wall Street bond broker before she went into bluegrass full time. Too bad she didn’t stay at it- maybe we wouldn’t be in such a mess now if a bluegrass person was in charge.

    Dr. B

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: