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2017 43rd SPBGMA Awards Winners Announced

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SPBGMA LogoThe Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Bluegrass Music Award presentations took place Sunday, February 5, 2017. Dean Eaton was generous enough to post the awards as they were announced on his Facebook page. The 43rd Annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards took place during the 34th National SPBGMA Convention held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The awards show is definitely the highlight of the annual event and bluegrass music's biggest stars are always there participating in performances as well as collecting their respective trophies.

The SPBGMA awards are also primarily fan driven and many feel they are a truer representation of the best in bluegrass music today. The awards generally have a greater diversity in award winners than the other major bluegrass music awards, the International Bluegrass Music Awards, presented by the IBMA. While this year's awards took place during the Super Bowl, bluegrass fans focused primarily on the music as social media was alive and well with commentary across the spectrum of media sites.

The Farm Hands scored well this year capturing Song of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Gospel Group of the Year and Album of the Year. This group has been steadily growing their fan base for the past several years and their latest album, Dig in the Dirt, was surely a boost to their success during these awards.

This year was a sad year due to the loss of the founder of SPBGMA, Chuck Stearman, who passed away last year. Stearman took his place in the Hall of Greats in an induction ceremony where the award was presented to his wife, Diane Stearman. Not only the founder of SPBGMA, Stearman was also a festival promoter and a major player in the promotion of bluegrass music as his conventions and festivals draw bluegrass fans from across the nation to gather and enjoy their music.

SPBGMA serves to preserve the traditional spirit and art form of Bluegrass music. The organization also offers a management service for any community desiring to hold a Bluegrass festival and/or to organize and conduct Bluegrass Band competitions. In all SPBGMA sponsored events, instruments must be traditional acoustic instruments, no electrified instruments permitted. SPBGMA encourages professionalism in appearance and showmanship by the performers at SPBGMA events as well as encouraging the support of various Bluegrass publications and associations.

This event is always a favorite and includes the Showcase of Bands, Workshops, opportunities for promoters and talent buyers to view new and existing artists to see what's new. There are trade exhibits, record companies and more available for the artists and the fans. Of course, this is also an exciting time in bluegrass music where the fans and their favorite artists get to mingle and socialize as well. It is definitely and friendly, up close and personal experience for all involved.
This year's awards are:

  • Bluegrass Promoter of the Year – DA Callaway
  • Bluegrass Radio Station of the Year – Sirius XM 061-Bluegrass Junction
  • Bluegrass DJ of the Year – Kyle Cantrell Sirius XM 061
  • Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year – Daryl Mosely
  • Bluegrass Album of the Year – Dig in the Dirt by The Farm Hands on Pinecastle Records
  • Bluegrass Bass Fiddle Performer of the Year – Mickey Harris
  • Bluegrass Dobro Performer of the Year – Tim Graves
  • Bluegrass Guitar Performer of the Year – Josh Williams
  • Bluegrass Fiddle Performer of the Year – Hunter Berry
  • Bluegrass Banjo Performer of the Year – Aaron McDaris
  • Bluegrass Mandolin Performer of the Year (a tie) – Larry Stephenson & Danny Roberts
  • Female Vocalist of the Year (Overall) – Charli Robertson
  • Male Vocalist of the Year (Overall) – Junior Sisk
  • Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year – The Farm Hands
  • Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year – Flatt Lonesome
  • Bluegrass Instrumental Group of the Year – Rhonda Vincent & The Rage
  • Bluegrass Band of the Year (Overall) – Flatt Lonesome
  • Bluegrass Song of the Year – Dig in the Dirt by The Farm Hands on Pinecastle Records
  • Bluegrass Entertainer(s) of the Year – The Farm Hands

Another exciting area where SPBGMA fans pay close attention is to the Annual Band Competition. This year, the winner was the bluegrass group Mashtag. Second place went to Trailblazers while Dead End Road captured the third place trophy. Together, fourteen bands competed for the award.

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