Posted tagged ‘IBMA Awards’

I Thought I’d Seen it All

July 17, 2010

        Along the way I’ve converted more than a few folks to our music. Every so often someone will ask, “Doc, what is it about this music you love so? I just don’t get it.”

        I might give ’em a CD, or better yet, take ’em out to eat and then to a show. Every time I do this and take them to see Darin and Brooke Aldridge they end up quoting their song title, “I thought I’d seen it all. Wow are they good!”

        Your father’s bluegrass was great music and I love it, but the young artists have gone to a whole new level.

        Darin and Brooke are natural musicians, but they’ve worked hard too. As a kid, Darin would stay up all night and dissect out his last show for even the smallest of errors. By the time he auditioned for Charlie Waller it was, as Charlie said, “like he’s been playing with me for years.” He hired Darin on the spot.

        Brooke is a cute little country girl with the big voice. Hear her one time and you’ll never forget her. She’s sung in church and wowed crowds at County Fairs since she was a tyke. You hear about family values; well these young people live it and share the family talent with us somewhere on the bluegrass road almost every weekend.

        You can nominate them for any IBMA award and not go wrong, but the categories of “Emerging Artist,” “Female Vocalist” and “Gospel Project” seem extra apropos. Check out their website: Hearing is believing. Don’t take my word for it. Go see ’em.

       They are in Boone today at the High Country Festival along with my other favorites, Balsam Range, the Harris Brothers and more. Here’s that link:

        The grass needs cutting but my Marfar said, “Oh honey you can work any time. Today you need to play.”

        How could a man not love a woman like that?

        I’ll be back to fiction next week, but I wanted to tell you of my friends first. See you then.

Dr. B


IBMA Nominations 2010, Wayne Benson -Mandolin

July 14, 2010

        I just got my ballot for the IBMA nominations for 2010. I am only one country doctor, and not a pro, so my opinion is only worth so much. On the other hand, it’s my blog so it counts for something, huh? Over the next couple posts I want to share with you the reasons I support certain artists. After that I’ll get back to my physician bluegrass fiction gig.

        The first one I want to tell you about is Wayne Benson. Y’all already know him well. Wayne is a multiple SPBGMA winner but somehow has been overlooked for the IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year award. 

        I first posted about this around the time of the first ballot on May 26, 2010. (see my archives) I always found Russell Moore and III Tyme Out to be one of the most influential groups of the second generation of bluegrass. Except for a brief stint when he toured with John Cowan, Wayne has been the mandolin voice for III Tyme Out almost the entire journey. He has influenced countless numbers of young pickers. To me he reset the bar for bluegrass mandolin excellence in the 90s.

        Wayne is a tireless and patient teacher whose depth of understanding of the mandolin fretboard and practical theory is endless. He participates in seminars and workshops, and gives his time to all sorts of mandolin community experiences to share his love of the instrument. (Often with little compensation for his generosity) He and his wife Kristin now have a home studio and they help many emerging bands with their upcoming projects. Wayne is front and center as a performer but does more behind the scenes than most folks will ever know.

       I hope you will join me and consider your support for this great artist for IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year, 2010. It is an oversight I feel overdue for correction. I’d be glad to answer any questions about Wayne you might have. Trust me, you won’t find a better mandolin man to represent us anywhere. The cat is too modest to brag on himself, so I’m gonna do it for him.

       Thanks so much for your consideration.

Dr. B

Hey, the guy has taught me a bunch of mandolin and he’s more photogenic than old Doc too! Y’all nominate him while he’s still young and can enjoy it.

Wayne Benson and the 2010 IBMA Mandolin Award

May 26, 2010

        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

Bluegrass Music: It’ll Cure What Ails You

October 1, 2009

        It was a great 48 hours in Nashville.  I just couldn’t be gone a week.  It was our first full week in the new office and they wanted the senior partner (the one with the most gray hair) around.

       This morning Joe greeted me at the back door.  “Got you some muskee-dines, Doc.  You ain’t gonna go be one of them bluegrass stars are ya?”

        “No, Joe.  Trust me. These guys are good.  I wouldn’t have a chance.  Besides, Doc is all I know.”


        I went into my office and set my briefcase down.  A picture of Lester and Earl hangs on my wall right across from my desk at the five foot mark.  (for the lady of the house’s eye level; my wife.)  Lester was up to his ears in charts and messages; a bad sign.  All I could see was his hat and a bit of his Martin guitar headstock.  Les is a very accuate predictor of your day.  Anything beyond his chest is gonna rock. 

          It was a “Doc, my bowels are locked up and my nature’s done left me” kind of day.  I didn’t see Lester’s eyeballs till near lunch.  There were several emergencies and one unstable myocardial ischemia.  (light heart attack)  Almost everyone was somewhere in between lonely, tired, mad, scared, or hurting.  I did my best to sort through it all. 

        I never tell a woman’s age, but one nice lady in triple digits asked if it would be too much trouble to get a flu shot.  I coulda hugged her neck.

        Don’t feel sorry for me.  It’s just my job.  Everyone on the other end of the stethoscope was worse off than me.  Say a prayer for them.  I am lucky the Lord gave more stamina than what I deserve and the right temperament to deal with it all. 

        And it isn’t that hard.  It sure ain’t rocket science.  The sound man for Sam Bush has a more technical job than I do.  The cat runs three computers and rack full of EQ technology to tweak the boss’s sound.  His is more than rocket science; it is more like quantum mechanics mixed with magic.  He is obsessed to get the best sound possible.  Of course, he has a lot to work with.  Tiger Wood’s swing coach does pretty good too.

       I got ten minutes at lunch and downed a sandwich and played a few bars of “Who Will Sing for Me?”  I was told several folks in Nashville did so today.  In spite of all the suffering I could hear the music.  Every one of you who has ever played a note of this music has saved a day for me somewhere along the way. 

        Good luck to all of you at the Awards Ceremony.  If it was up to me it be like a middle school soccer game where every one of you would win.  You all deserve it.  Even though I gotta keep doctoring, I plan to lead as many folks to our music as possible.  It sustains me and I want my people to be as blessed as I have been all my life because of it.

        When I got home a book I had wanted was on my desk.  One of my bluegrass pals had called my wife to see if I had it yet, and had it sent to the house.  It was Jill Bolte Taylor’s ‘My Stroke of Insight.’  What a nice surprise; a new book after a tough day.  Bluegrass folks are the best.  I’m gonna read it this weekend.

        While y’all are singing, how ’bout doing one for my heart attack patient?  She needs it more than I do, and I think y’all might just cure what ails her.  Bluegrass has a way of doing that.

        Gotta run.  Will try to catch part of the Awards Ceremony.  All the best guys.

Dr. B

Kristin Scott Benson

October 4, 2008

        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