On the Beat

Balsam Range leads NC groups in IBMA nominations


Balsam Range has won numerous IBMA Awards over the past decade, including the prestigious entertainer of the year in 2014. And the Haywood County quintet will also be up for more in 2016, the fourth year the IBMA Awards are to be presented in Raleigh.

In nominations announced Wednesday, Balsam Range is up for a total of three awards, including entertainer and vocal group of the year. Buddy Melton, the group’s fiddler/singer, is nominated in the individual category of male vocalist of the year.

Overall, bluegrass supergroup the Earls of Leicester leads the field with eight nominations, including entertainer of the year (which the group won in 2015). Del McCoury Band is next with six nominations, followed by Flatt Lonesome with five.

As for other North Carolina-connected nominations, they include:

▪ Brevard’s Steep Canyon Rangers (who won entertainer of the year alongside banjoist/humorist Steve Martin in 2011) for song of the year with “Radio,” title track to their 2015 album.

▪ Multiple mountainous acts for emerging artist of the year – Asheville’s Town Mountain (who were also nominated in this category in 2014), and Sylva’s Mountain Faith. This is an award the aforementioned Steep Canyon Rangers won in 2006.

▪ From North Wilkesboro, Jens Kruger (2013 winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo) for banjo player of the year.

▪ Asheville native Bryan Sutton for guitar player of the year.

▪ Mountain Home Music – multiple nominees for song, album, gospel recorded performance and instrumental performance of the year were released by this Arden-based record label.

The IBMA Awards will be presented Sept. 29 at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center. The awards are part of the International Bluegrass Music Awards’ World of Bluegrass festival, Sept. 27-Oct. 1. For details, see ibma.org.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi