LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Rhonda Vincent, a Missouri-born singer and mandolin player, and the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack emerged as top winners at the 12th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards.
Honors were handed out Thursday night at the Kentucky Center for the Arts during a ceremony hosted by country artist Steve Wariner. Vincent and her band, the Rage, were named Entertainer of the Year — the first time the group has claimed the top prize — and Vincent won her second consecutive trophy for Female Vocalist of the Year. Mike Cleveland, the Rage’s popular fiddler, was named Top Fiddle Player.
Vincent picked up a third trophy for Recorded Event of the Year. She was a part of Carry Me Back to the Fold: A Tribute to Women in Bluegrass. Mark Newton coordinated the project, which enlisted 17 women.
Vincent has been in and out of bluegrass over the course of her career. She left a family band in 1985 for a brief stint with country singer and Grand Ole Opry star Jim Ed Brown, and she issued two country albums on Giant Records in the mid ’90s. Vincent marked her return to bluegrass with the release last year of Back Home Again, followed this year by The Storm Still Rages.
Dan Tyminski, a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station, has been in the spotlight since recording “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” for the “O Brother” movie. He was named Male Vocalist of the Year. “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” written by the late Dick Burnett, arranged by Carter Stanley and recorded by the Soggy Bottom Boys, featuring Tyminski, was the IBMA Song of the Year. The “O Brother” soundtrack was Album of the Year.
An accomplished guitarist, Tyminski also picked up an award for Instrumental Album of the Year. He was part of a large cast of pickers featured on the album Knee Deep in Bluegrass: The Acutab Sessions, as was Barry Bales, also a member of both Union Station and the Soggy Bottom Boys.
“I’ll Fly Away,” recorded for the movie by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, won Gospel Recorded Song of the Year. Union Station member Jerry Douglas, who appears several times on the soundtrack, was named Dobro player of the year — his 7th victory in the category — and film directors the Coen Brothers and O Brother album producer T Bone Burnett shared a Distinguished Achievement award.
Two major streaks fell. Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile was named Mandolin Player of the Year, ending an eight-year run by Ronnie McCoury. And Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, known for their tight, gospel-based harmonies, were named Vocal Group of the Year; IIIrd Tyme Out had won the award seven times in a row.
Nickel Creek, last year’s Emerging Artist of the Year, were named Instrumental Group of the Year. The group has had major exposure on CMT through their own videos, with Dolly Parton and as part of a long-form special on emerging artists.
The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show, formed in 1993 by native Texan Shiflett, were named Emerging Artist of the Year. The group recorded its second album, In Full Color, live around a vintage ribbon microphone.
Jim Mills, from Ricky Skaggs’ band, was named Top Banjo Player for the third year in a row. Missy Raines was honored as Top Bassist for the fourth consecutive year. Raines’ performing and recording partner, Jim Hurst, captured honors as Top Guitarist for the first time.
The Carter Family — A.P., Sara and Maybelle — were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Honor. The group’s repertoire — including songs such as “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” — has been a rich source of bluegrass material.
Distinguished achievement awards also went to musician, songwriter and magazine publisher Alice Gerrard; the Gibson Company; the late John Hartford; and photographer Les Leverett.
A number of other special awards were presented. Eddie Stubbs of WSM-AM (650) and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville was named Broadcast Personality of the Year. Richard Smith, author of “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass” was honored as Print Media Personality of the Year. Jon Weisberger’s notes for a John Duffey anthology, Always in Style, were judged Best Liner Notes for a Recorded Project. Sue Meyer’s design for a Doc Watson retrospective, The Doc Watson Guitar Instrumental Collection, 1964-1998, won Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project. And Huck Finn’s Country & Bluegrass Jubilee 2001 in Victorville, California, produced by Don Tucker, was honored as Bluegrass Event of the Year.
The World of Bluegrass 2001 continues through Sunday at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville with the annual Bluegrass Fan Fest. Vincent & the Rage, Lawson & Quicksilver, Shiflett & the Big Country Show, IIIrd Tyme Out and Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder are among the many acts lined up to play.