Celebrated banjo virtuoso Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers), first winner of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, received his first Banjo Player of the Year trophy at the International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA). He went back to the podium at the end of the evening to collect the Album of the Year award for Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe – the first time in the 26 year history of the IBMA awards that an all-instrumental album has won top honors. The album also obtained the award for Best Liner Notes earlier in the afternoon for an essay written by 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee Neil Rosenberg.
In accepting his award Pikelny recognized Bill Monroe and Kenny Baker, explaining that the album which began as a personal challenge to accurately replicate Baker’s fiddle performances note for note on the banjo was built on the shoulders of these 2 musical giants. “I’m truly honored,” said Noam Pikelny. “This record was a labor of love for me, and at best I was hoping to not get struck by lightning as retribution for putting my name in the same album title as Kenny Baker’s and Bill Monroe’s.
While I’ve spent most of my career on the far fringes of this music, bluegrass music and its community mean the world to me, so the warm embrace from the IBMA this year is very special. To me, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe is truly a band record, so the album of the year award is shared equally between Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Ronnie McCoury, Mike Bub, and our producer Gabe Witcher. It goes without saying that many a glass was raised after the show last night to Kenny Baker.”
Author: World Music Central News Department
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