Southern style with Randall Franks: World of Bluegrass is coming

Randall Franks picMy bluegrass excitement always builds this time of year as I prepare for the coming of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass September 30 to October 4 in Raleigh, NC.

This year I have been asked to assist with directing a portion of the award presentations. A star studded line up is set for the 25th International Bluegrass Music Awards show on Thursday, October 2, at 7:30 p.m. at North Carolina’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (Memorial Auditorium).

Performers include all five of the 2014 Entertainer of the Year nominees: Balsam Range, Blue Highway, Dailey & Vincent, the Gibson Brothers and the Del McCoury Band.

Also scheduled to perform is Female Vocalist/Song of the Year nominee Claire Lynch, Instrumental Group of the Year nominee Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, last year’s Emerging Artist recipient Della Mae and the Boxcars who are leading the pack in 2014 with ten nominations. Awards Show hosts Lee Ann Womack and Jerry Douglas will also perform that evening.

Members of the original Seldom Scene group; Ben Eldridge, Tom Gray and John Starling will be part of a special performance celebrating their induction into the Hall of Fame. Also Emerging Artist of the Year nominee the Spinney Brothers will give tribute to this year’s other Hall of Fame inductee, bluegrass historian Neil Rosenberg.

There is a star studded list of presenters and the awards will be broadcast live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction), streamed live by Music City Roots and available at ibma.org and musiccityroots.com.

The Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest is the free street festival portion of Wide Open Bluegrass on October 3 and 4. The ticketed concerts for both days will take place at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater and the Raleigh Convention Center.

“If you’ve ever wondered what ‘bluegrass heaven’ would be like, you need to come to Raleigh, North Carolina October 3-4,” said IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “You’ll hear some of the best bluegrass music from around the world played by talented musicians of all ages. There will be banners in the street, barbecue wafting through the air, banjos on every corner, red-hot jamming and dancing and a smile on every face.”

“In the Raleigh Convention Center we’ll have a fantastic Bluegrass Expo Hall, a Masters Workshop and celebrity jam sessions plus all sorts of great music and fun outside at the StreetFest. Get your tickets now and make plans to enjoy every joyous part of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival.”

In addition to the free Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest tickets for Red Hat Amphitheater/RCC are limited and expected to sell out before the performance dates. To purchase tickets for this portion of Wide Open Bluegrass or find out more information log on to ibma.org.

(Randall Franks is an award-winning musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” now on WGN America. His latest CD release, “Mississippi Moon,” is by Crimson Records. He is a member of the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame. His latest book is “Encouragers I: Finding the Light.” He is a syndicated columnist for http://randallfranks.com/ and can be reached at rfrankscatoosa@gmail.com.)

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