From the CBA Website:
The NCBS Bluegrass Awards
Today's column from Mark Varner
Monday, February 7, 2011
Recently I had the pleasure of being a part of the NCBS’s 2011 Northern California Bluegrass Awards. It was part of the Northern California Bluegrass Society’s Bluegrass On Broadway event. This is a three day multi media, multi venue celebration of the art of bluegrass music in its fourth year.
The festival was entirely free, though some of the music was presented in dining places. There were jams and numerous performances by fine bands like Belle Monroe and Her Brewglass Boys, Windy Hill and Bean Creek, and many more. On Sunday the festival hosted the NCBS International Bluegrass Music Museum Film Festival, hosted by CBA founder Carl Pagter.
On Saturday afternoon in the festival’s Tapestry Church venue, after a concert featuring South County Special, Pearly Blue, Bean Creek, Dark Hollow and Jack and Molly Tuttle, came the awards portion of the program. The awards honored our community’s excellent bands and individual performers.
It was pretty fun. The presenters all had their own thing to plug and their own style of presentation. They had my daughter Veronica hand out the award for the best Bass Player. Her partner was Chloe Johnson and the girls gave a spirited reading from a script written for them by Skip Jackson. Ironically the winner is no longer living in California. Dan Booth was certainly a great selection, though!
Deirdre Donovan and Ray Edlund were slick and professional giving out the award for Female Vocalist. Deirdre, who was my original mentor in the world of editing newsletters, is looking younger and younger. Can you guess who won the category? That’s right! AJ Lee! Whoo hoo! Her band, The Tuttles and AJ Lee also won best Bluegrass Band, so big congrats to our young star. One day, when she’s incredibly famous, we’ll all look back on this time and brag on seeing when she was “this high”.
In presenting the Fiddle Player award Pan Logan and I were perhaps less slick. We introduced ourselves and plugged our “special interests”. In my case I promoted the Father’s Day Festival, of course. The crowd seemed to really appreciate the announced addition of the Freight Hoppers to our line up. But Pan had to represent the wonderful Brown Barn and their big problem. This festival, started by CBA co-founder Jake Queesenberry needs a new home! Their old haunts have been sold and Pan gave a plea for help with securing a new location for this fun little festival. Still no word on finding anything, either. It would a real shame if this event faded away. It’s the only South Bay festival.
Quick wrap up of the awards: Guitar Player, Molly Tuttle; Banjo Player, Larry Cohea; Mandolin Player, a tie between Ed Neff and Pete Hicks; Fiddle Player, a tie between Paul Shelasky and Pete “Keep the Awards Coming” Hicks; Dobro Player: a third win for Jim Mintun; Male Vocalist, a fourth win for Billy Pitrone of Bean Creek.
In the Lifetime Achievement category, the NCBS celebrated the importance of radio in promoting and preserving bluegrass music, specifically KVMR and the first public radio station in the nation, the redoubtable KPFA. KPFA bluegrass programmers Ray Edlund, Tom Diamant, and Mary Tilson were awarded for their many years of presenting wonderful old-time and bluegrass music. These DJs have been huge supporters of our local musicians as well.
KVMR’s Eric Rice was honored for broadcasting the CBA’s Father’s Day Festival each year. The broadcast probably represents the largest such in the country.
Excellent performances were interspersed among the awards. I was especially proud of my boy Marty as he and AJ represented for their band OMGG. They put together a performance with young Alex Sharp on fiddle and youthful Luke Abbott on banjo. Uncle Dave Gooding demonstrated his well-proven ability to hang with players a tiny fraction of his age.
The whole gathering was delightful, I thought. Each year more attendees come. The first year practically none of the performers were in attendance to receive their awards. This year most everyone was there, including members of each of the groups nominated for best Bluegrass Band.
If you’d like to know the names of the nominees in each category that information can be found at http://www.ncbs.us.