All four top seeds have advanced through the first two rounds to make the “Sweet 16” of our “IBMAdness Bluegrass Bracket,” and they’ve done so rather comfortably. We’ll see if any tougher tussles await going forward -- it seems like a good bet that at least one will go down this round, given some of the matchups.
Taking in results from the second round, region by region:
Group One: The Ramblers
Bill Monroe, the overall No. 1 seed as “The Father of Bluegrass,” cruised past 8 seed Sam Bush by a comfortable margin in the second round. Round three brings him up against 5 seed Doyle Lawson, who won out handily over the 4th-seeded Dillards.
The other side of “The Ramblers” bracket is an epic matchup between 3 seed Doc Watson and 2 seed Del McCoury after they handily dispatched the 11th-seeded Steep Canyon Rangers and 7th-seeded Tony Rice, respectively.
Group Two: The Pickers
Flatt & Scruggs is No. 1 here and they continue to dominate, easily getting by 8 seed Rhonda Vincent in the second round. That takes them into an intriguing old-versus-new contest against 5 seed banjo omnivore Bela Fleck, a second-round winner over 4 seed Seldom Scene.
Improbably, three 6 seeds have made it to this point and Dobro deity Jerry Douglas is one of them after beating Cinderella 14 seed the Lonesome River Band. The third round pits him against the 2nd-seeded Carter Family, who narrowly beat 7 seed John Hartford by less than 10 votes (the closest margin of the second round).
Group Three: The Travelers
The top-seeded Stanley Brothers doubled up 8 seed Hot Rize in the second round. And in another intriguing inter-generational matchup, round three puts them up against Alison Krauss, a 4 seed, who overwhelmed 5 seed J.D. Crowe by more than a three-to-one margin in the second round.
Yet another 6 seed, Nickel Creek, is still alive after surprising 3 seed Jimmy Martin in the second seed. Next up for Nickel Creek is 2 seed Ricky Skaggs, an easy second-round winner over 7 seed the Gibson Brothers.
Group Four: The Rounders
The wildest region by far except for the No. 1 Osborne Brothers, who easily outdistanced 8 seed Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out in the second round. But nothing else about this bracket has gone according to form, starting with the Osbornes’ third-round opponent — 12 seed Steve Martin, the banjo-playing funnyman, who outpaced 13 seed seed Claire Lynch in a second-round matchup between dueling Cinderellas. That makes Martin the lowest seed still standing.
Peter Rowan, meanwhile, is the third 6 seed still going after upsetting 3 seed Jim & Jesse. His next opponent is 10 seed Dolly Parton, who easily took out 15 seed Infamous Stringdusters.
Third-round voting is open and goes until noon Eastern Time Monday. Go to nando.com/bluegrassbracket to register and vote, which registers you for the grand-prize drawing.