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David Royko Psy.D

IBMA World of Bluegrass 1998

Chicago Tribune

Friday, October 30, 1998


Arts Watch roundup

International Bluegrass Music Association Awards

By David Duckman [David Royko]

   The International Bluegrass Music Association's convention, awards

ceremony and music fest took place last weekend at the Galt House in

Louisville, and headliners and perennial award winners such as Del

McCoury and IIIrd Tyme Out gave riveting performances for huge crowds.

However, the intimate "Roots and Branches" stage provided some of the

most engrossing moments. The duet of Missy Raines, IBMA's 1998 Bass

Player of the Year, and guitarist Jim Hurst wove bits of bluegrass into

jazz, blues and swing, followed by an intense set by ex-New Grass

Revivalist John Cowan, while guitarist David Grier and mandolinist Matt

Flinner delivered inspired improvising. Friday's Mainstage finale was a

blockbuster of bluegrass classics by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder,

recipient of the 1998 Album of the Year award. Chris Thile sat in for

two numbers, and watching Skaggs, a former child prodigy, and Thile,

just now entering adulthood, engage in a searing mandolin duel on "Get

Up John" augured well for the music's future.