Owensboro, KY -- Award winning bluegrass music artists and Hall of Fame inductees Doyle Lawson (2012) and Del McCoury (2011) had their Hall of Fame plaques unveiled at this year's ROMP festival. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has a committee that selects the inductees for each year. The two artists saw their Hall of Fame Plaques unveiled between sets at ROMP Fest in Owensboro this past Thursday. Both the Del McCoury Band and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver performed during ROMP on Thursday. The plaque unveiling is a major tribute to these Hall of Fame Inductees.
Induction into the Hall of Fame is determined by a committee appointed by the International Bluegrass Music Association (a sister-organization that is wholly independent from this museum). Selection takes place each year in two stages: nomination and election. A nominating committee consisting of music industry leaders creates a slate of 10-15 candidates. From these names, a panel of the candidates’ peers in the music industry cast ballots to narrow the nominees to five finalists. There are over 200 electors. To be an elector, one must have personally and actively participated in bluegrass for at least 10 years and have merited respect and recognition for their accomplishments and knowledge in one or more aspects of the field.
After the five finalists have been selected, the panel again votes to select the inductee(s) for that year. The balloting is conducted by an independent accounting firm. The name(s) of the newest IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee(s) are made public immediately following the final stage of balloting. Formal induction takes place each year during the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show in Nashville, TN.
After induction, the Hall of Fame plaques are installed in the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Hall of Fame in Owensboro, Kentucky. An Unveiling Ceremony takes place at the museum on Opening Day of ROMP. Thereafter, the plaques are on permanent exhibit.
A native Tennessean, Doyle Lawson was honored in February 2012 by Governor Bill Haslam and the State of Tennessee for his contributions to the state and America through his music (Senate Joint Resolution 467).
Lawson was heralded by journalist Craig Havighurst as “one of music’s lions” following his band’s performance at the 2011 IBMA Awards Press Conference in Nashville. Of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s performance — which garnered three standing ovations from a sold-out crowd in Nashville — Havighurst wrote: “There was no question who was going to close the show. Doyle Lawson is one of music’s lions at this point, and when he came out in perhaps the most beautiful western jacket I’ve ever seen... he was a holy vision. ... When DLQ, in quartet mode, nailed the final chorus of the a cappella gospel song “He Made It All Right,” I swear we were mainlining the holy spirit. You know how the word awesome gets overused and misused? Here’s where it applies.”
Legendary in the Bluegrass genre and called a “mandolin virtuoso” with “perfectly silken harmony” by The New York Times, Doyle Lawson broke new ground in 2011 with a benchmark Children’s Hospital and Arena Tour, the first tour of its kind in any genre, combining National Anthem performances at major sporting arenas with performances for boys and girls at Children’s Hospitals in the same cities or regions. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver performed for nearly 108,000 people during six games in 2011 alone — not including Live broadcast audiences for the NBA and NCAA games — as well as for countless children, families, and staff in visits to children’s hospitals. DLQ sang their first NASCAR Anthem in 2012, kicking off Sprint All-Star Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR’s second largest track with 165,000 screaming fans, as they performed the National Anthem for NASCAR’s Education Lottery 200 in May, with other superstars on hand for the weekend including Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton. Pretty impressive numbers and company from the little boy from Kingsport, who grew up to be a Legend.
Del McCoury is something special, a living link to the days when bluegrass was made only in hillbilly honkytonks, schoolhouse shows and on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, yet also a commandingly vital presence today, from prime time and late night talk show TV to music festivals where audiences number in the hundreds of thousands. "Here's a guy who has been playing for fifty years, and he's still experimenting-still looking to do things outside the box, to bring other kinds of music into bluegrass form,"says Americana music icon Richard Thompson, who saw his "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"turned into a bluegrass standard when McCoury brought it into the fold. "I think that's the best bluegrass band, period. That's it."
Born in southeastern Pennsylvania seventy years ago, Del McCoury would once have seemed an unlikely candidate for legendary status. Bitten hard by the bluegrass bug when he heard Earl Scruggs' banjo in the early 50s- "everybody else was crazy about Elvis, but I loved Earl,"he says with a chuckle-McCoury became a banjo picker himself, working in the rough but lively Baltimore and D.C. bar scene into the early 1960s. He got his first taste of the limelight when he joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in early 1963; the Father of Bluegrass moved McCoury from the banjo to guitar, made him his lead singer, and gave him a lifetime's worth of bluegrass tutelage direct from the source in the course of little more than a year. But rather than parlay his gig with the master into a full-time career of his own, he returned to Pennsylvania in the mid-60s to provide steady support for his new and growing family.
Within a few years, McCoury had settled into work in the logging industry-and formed his own band, the Dixie Pals. For the next decade and a half, he piloted the group through a part-time career built mostly around weekend appearances at bluegrass festivals and recordings for labels ranging from the short-lived and obscure, to roots music institutions like Arhoolie and Rounder Records. And while there were the inevitable personnel changes and struggles to contend with, McCoury was also building a songbook filled with classics remade in his own image and a growing number of originals-songs like "High On A Mountain," "Are You Teasing Me,""Dark Hollow,""Bluest Man In Town,""Rain And Snow," "Good Man Like Me,""Rain Please Go Away"and more-that would become an important part of his legacy in years to come.
The first big sign of change came in 1981, when McCoury's 14 year old son, Ronnie, joined the Dixie Pals as their mandolin player. Banjo playing younger brother Rob came on board five years later, and by the end of the decade, the three McCourys were ready to make a move. "We came to Nashville in 1992," Ron recalls, "and it was dad's idea. He'd been watching bluegrass on TNN-Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse-and thought that it was the place to be, that we'd have a new outlet there, where we could get some more attention. And without a doubt, moving to Nashville and just going for it turned out to be really big." If anything, the younger McCoury's understating the case. Armed with a new Rounder Records association-and a newly named Del McCoury Band that soon included not only his sons but a complete cast of youngsters-Del McCoury's career soared. Del himself got the ball rolling early in the decade with three consecutive Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), and in 1994 the quintet began an astonishing streak of top.
Entertainer of the Year honors that would net them 9 trophies in an 11 year stretch-along with ongoing honors for Ronnie (8 straight Mandolin Player of the Year awards), fiddler Jason Carter (3 Fiddle Player of the Year trophies), and a wide array of projects featuring Del and the ensemble.
The 2014 Hall of Fame inductee announcements will be formally made prior to the IBMA's World of Bluegrass Awards Show that takes place later this year. The plaques will be entered into the International Bluegrass Music Museum's hall following the formal ceremonies which will again take place in Raleigh, North Carolina this year.