Doc Watson, Dolly Parton, Del McCoury Band Top Bluegrass Awards Nominees

Watson also to be inducted into IBMA's Hall of Honor.

Two icons of Americana music, the legendary roots and country guitar picker and singer Doc Watson and Country Music Hall of Fame member Dolly Parton, are among the nominees for the 11th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards.

The awards, the bluegrass world's ultimate honor, will be presented Oct. 19 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, Ky., in a ceremony hosted by Marty Stuart. The nominations were announced Thursday by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Reigning Entertainer of the Year the Del McCoury Band received 10 nominations, including nods for vocal group, instrumental group and Entertainer of the Year.

Like Stuart, Parton is better known as a mainstream country artist, but she began her career in bluegrass, singing mountain music in the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. In 1999 she returned to her roots, recording her first all-bluegrass album, The Grass Is Blue (Sugar Hill, 1999).

With tracks such as "Cash on the Barrelhead" (RealAudio excerpt) and "I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open," The Grass Is Blue is nominated for Album of the Year. Parton is also up for top female vocalist honors, along with Rhonda Vincent, Laurie Lewis, Lynn Morris and Claire Lynch.

Watson, who is up for Guitarist of the Year honors, also will be inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Honor this year, joining such giants of the genre as Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, the Stanley Brothers, the Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman, Reno & Smiley, Josh Graves, Chubby Wise, Jim & Jesse, the Country Gentlemen and Jimmy Martin.

Watson, born near Deep Gap in the western North Carolina mountains and blind since age 2, learned guitar in styles ranging from fiddle tunes to blues to old-time music and popular country. After working as a sideman in a country western swing band, he began recording and touring as an acoustic folk artist in the early 1960s.

He has earned respect in bluegrass for his guitar mastery, expressive vocals, invigorating harmonica and clawhammer banjo playing. His discography of several hundred recordings includes the instrumental "Black Mountain Rag" (RealAudio excerpt) and ballads such as "Little Stream of Whiskey, " "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town," "Tennessee Stud" and "Little Sadie" (RealAudio excerpt).

Joining the Hall of Honor with Watson will be bluegrass booking agent and manager, photographer, writer, album producer and festival promoter Lance LeRoy. LeRoy's firm, the Lancer Agency, became one of the earliest, longest-running and most professional operations in bluegrass history, and in 1985, LeRoy was one of the key forces in establishing the IBMA, and he is only the third person to be enshrined in the hall primarily for reasons other than musicianship.

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, winner of the Instrumental Group of the Year award for the past two years, are nominated again in that category. Their album Soldier of the Cross (Skaggs Family), Skaggs' first all-gospel release, has been nominated for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year and the band is also up for Entertainer of the Year.

Vincent's Back Home Again (Rounder Records) is nominated for Album of the Year, as is Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time's controversial indictment of modern country music Murder on Music Row. The title track of the latter album also is up for Song of the Year.

The awards are voted on by the professional membership of the IBMA, which serves as the bluegrass trade organization.

International Bluegrass Music Awards nominees:

Bluegrass Hall of Honor Inductees

Doc Watson

Lance LeRoy

Entertainer of the Year

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Lonesome River Band

Del McCoury Band

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

IIIrd Tyme Out

Instrumental Group of the Year

J.D. Crowe & The New South

Lonesome River Band

Del McCoury Band

Nickel Creek

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

Female Vocalist of the Year

Laurie Lewis

Claire Lynch

Lynn Morris

Dolly Parton

Rhonda Vincent

Male Vocalist of the Year

Ronnie Bowman

Dudley Connell

Del McCoury

Russell Moore

Dan Tyminski

Song of the Year

"Born With a Hammer in My Hand," Blue Highway (artists), Shawn Lane & Tim Stafford (songwriters)

"Murder on Music Row," Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time (artists), Larry Cordle and Larry Shell (songwriters)

"Black Diamond Strings," Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time (artists), Larry Cordle and Larry Shell (songwriters)

"Tall Pines," Laurie Lewis & Her Bluegrass Pals (artists), Damon Black (songwriter)

"John & Mary;" IIIrd Tyme Out (artists); Wayne Benson, Russell Moore and Donnie Carver (songwriters)

Album of the Year:

Blue Highway, Blue Highway (Ceili), produced by Ricky Skaggs and Blue Highway

Murder on Music Row, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time (Shell Point), produced by Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time

The Grass Is Blue, Dolly Parton (Sugar Hill), produced by Steve Buckingham

John & Mary, IIIrd Tyme Out (Rounder), produced by IIIrd Tyme Out and Ken Irwin

Back Home Again, Rhonda Vincent (Rounder), produced by Rhonda Vincent and Ronny Light

Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year

Memories That Bless & Burn, Dry Branch Fire Squad (Rounder), produced by Ken Irwin

Pieces of Our Past, The Isaacs (Horizon), produced by Ben Isaacs

Winding Through Life, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver (Sugar Hill), produced by Doyle Lawson

Soldier of the Cross, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder (Skaggs Family), produced by Doyle Lawson

Old Ways & Old Paths, Paul Williams & The Victory Trio (Rebel), produced by Paul Williams

Instrumental Album of the Year:

Bluegrass 2000, Jeff Autry, Wayne Benson, Randy Kohrs, Mark Schatz, Ron Stewart and Scott Vestal (Pinecastle); produced by Scott Vestal

Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza, David Grisman, Ronnie McCoury, Sam Bush, Frank Wakefield, Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, Ricky Skaggs and Buck White (Acoustic Disc); produced by Ronnie McCoury and David Grisman

A Man Must Carry On, Aubrey Haynie, (Sugar Hill), produced by Aubrey Haynie

Ready To Go, Bryan Sutton, (Sugar Hill), produced by Bryan Sutton

Root 5, Marshall Wilborn (Pinecastle), produced by Marshall Wilborn

Instrumental Performers of the Year


J.D. Crowe

Jim Mills

Rob McCoury

Earl Scruggs

Sammy Shelor


Barry Bales

Mike Bub

Tom Gray

Missy Raines

Marshall Wilborn


Jim Hurst

Tony Rice

Kenny Smith

Bryan Sutton

Doc Watson


Mike Auldridge

Jerry Douglas

Rob Ickes

Phil Leadbetter

Gene Wooten


Jason Carter

Stuart Duncan

Aubrey Haynie

Bobby Hicks

Ronnie Stewart


Wayne Benson

Sam Bush

Ronnie McCoury

Ricky Skaggs

Chris Thile

Recorded Event of the Year

Meet Me by the Moonlight, Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby, (Sugar Hill), produced by Dudley Connell, Don Rigsby and Ronnie Freeland

Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza, David Grisman, Ronnie McCoury, Sam Bush, Frank Wakefield, Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, Ricky Skaggs and Buck White (Acoustic Disc); produced by Ronnie McCoury and David Grisman

The "Big Tiger" Roars Again, Part I, Benny Martin, featuring Tom T. Hall, Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Del McCoury, Crystal Gayle, John Hartford, Bobby Osborne, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Buck White, Ricky Skaggs, Johnny Russell, Terry Eldredge & Jerry Douglas (OMS Records), produced by Hugh Moore & Benny Martin

Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen, Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen (Rounder), produced by Bill Wolf

Third Generation Blues, Doc Watson & Richard Watson (Sugar Hill), produced by Doc Watson and T. Michael Coleman

Emerging Artist of the Year

Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek

Jim Hurst & Missy Raines

Nickel Creek

Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike