Wayne Benson and the 2010 IBMA Mandolin Award

        I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you more about my agent and the development of my book, but I wanted to digress today. It’s my day off. I just got my ballot for the IBMA awards and it set me to thinking.

        Folks, Wayne Benson has won the SPBGMA award for “Mandolin Player of the Year” a number of times. I know a lot of people don’t realize this, but somehow he has been overlooked for IBMA mandolin player of the year. I believe this is because people assume he has won it in the past.

        Give Wayne is the long-time mandolin voice of III Tyme Out, one of the most important groups of the second generation of bluegrass, I’m sure serious students of the genre will agree with me this is an inexplicable oversight we need to correct.

        As a long time devoted mandolin enthusiast I realize there are many fine players on the circuit. I’m a good amateur but I can’t carry the cases of journeyman pros out there who are all but unknown. Over time they all deserve this award. But at this time in bluegrass history, at least in this old Doc’s opinion, no one deserves it more than Wayne Benson.

        Not only has Wayne been a virtuoso player for III Tyme Out, but he was a major force in the Bluegrass 95 series, and he also did a stint with John Cowan, singer extraordinaire. Russell Moore has won the IBMA male vocalist award a number of times, and I am sure he would tell you there is no one in the world he’d rather have back him up on the mandolin than Wayne Benson.

        In addition to all that, Wayne is a superb teacher. I have worked with him over two years now. He is a very intelligent man. Over years of study he has honed a sophisticated but quite teachable approach to practical mandolin theory. He understands the ”why” of how he plays, and is able to articulate it to the less gifted, (like me) better than any great mandolinist I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve known more than a few.

        Wayne can play Monroe style with the best. He is not only true bluegrass, but has command of chord melody, jazz, and classical work. He is an artist. In addition he is an ambassador for the mandolin community. He’s forever interested in the mandolin network, and has participated in countless workshops to help students of all levels.  

        Folks, I know Wayne. He’s a humble guy who won’t brag on himself. He’ll not tell you how good he is. In fact, I don’t think the man realizes how good he is. So I figured it was up to me to do it.

        When someone’s music makes our lives that much better we should take the time to thank them, so Wayne Benson has my vote for IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year in 2010. I hope you will give him full consideration for your vote too.

        Thanks so much.

Dr. B

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2 Comments on “Wayne Benson and the 2010 IBMA Mandolin Award”

  1. Jim Beaver Says:

    You are right on the money here about Wayne Benson. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Wayne with 3TO in the early ’90s. He blew me away. To this day he is one of my favorite mandolin pickers — extraordinarily inventive and proficient. The other thing that blew me away is that he is from my hometown of Concord, NC. I wish I had known him when I was there, but alas I’m a good bit older and was gone by the time he was in his formative years. Wayne’s got my vote.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Thanks so much. Wayne is a player, a fine man, and way overdue for this award. Let’s do what we can for him. He makes N.C. (and all of bluegrass) proud.

      Dr. B

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