O’Brien Not ‘Upset’ At IBMAs

There were many expected wins and a few twists during the September 28th International Bluegrass Music Association Awards ceremony at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, the most apparent being the male vocalist of the year award.

In a surprise victory, Tim O’Brien took home both male vocalist and song of the year for “Look Down That Lonesome Road.” Larry Sparks had won the award at the last two IBMAs.

“This is an upset, but I’m not,” O’Brien said.

The Grascals picked up the entertainer of the year award, proving that the group’s emerging artist and song of the year wins at the 2005 IBMAs were not flukes.

Keeping with tradition, Rhonda Vincent was named female vocalist for the seventh straight year, besting Alison Krauss + Union Station, the top nominee for the night with 11 nods. Krauss and her cohorts were shut out of most categories.

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder took home its eighth straight instrumental group of the year award. Skagg’s label, Skaggs Family Records, also released the album of the year winner, Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancers – a bluegrass compilation featuring some of the year’s IBMA nominees and winners.

Skaggs performed at the ceremony, backed by a 20-piece orchestra. Other performers included Cherryholmes and Blue Hawaii.

The late Sydney Nathan, founder of King Records, was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Honor, along with bluegrass gospel group the Lewis Family, which hosted a weekly gospel television show from 1954-1992 in Georgia.