Just a few North Carolina acts will be up for International Bluegrass Music Awards this fall – but they’re in impressive and high-profile places.
In nominations released on Wednesday, Haywood County’s Balsam Range co-leads the field with a total of eight nominations, the same number as Jerry Douglas’ Earls of Leicester supergroup. Balsam Range is up for entertainer, vocal group, instrumental group, song, album and gospel performance of the year, while Buddy Melton is nominated as best male vocalist, and Tim Surrett as best bassist.
Both the Earls and Balsam Range are previous entertainer-of-the-year winners, the Earls in 2016 and Balsam Range in 2014.
Also picking up multiple nominations are Darin and Brooke Aldridge. The Cherryville duo’s cover of Ian Tyson’s “Someday Soon” is up for song of the year, while Brooke Aldridge is nominated female vocalist of the year.
North Carolina has two acts being inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame, too. Fiddler Bobby Hicks, a native of Newton, is going in primarily on the strength of his stints playing with Ricky Skaggs and “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe. And longtime Durham resident Alice Gerrard, who picked up her first-ever Grammy nomination at age 80 three years ago, will be inducted as part of her 1960s-vintage folk duo Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard (standing in for Dickens, who died in 2011).
The awards will be presented in Raleigh Sept. 28, co-hosted by Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, as part of the IBMA business conference and overall World of Bluegrass festivities. That includes the Wide Open Bluegrass outdoor programming and “Bluegrass Ramble” nightclub shows.
For details on the awards show and the festival, go to ibma.org.