ETSU students, alumni take home five IBMA awards

Published 8:25 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University students and alumni took home five International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards recently in Raleigh, North Carolina. These recipients were among 17 individuals nominated in 25 categories associated with ETSU’s Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program in the Department of Appalachian Studies.

Current student Tray Wellington was named as one of the two IBMA Momentum Instrumentalists of the Year. He received a second award with his band, Mill Road, which was named IBMA Momentum Band of the Year.

Alumni Troy Boone and Daniel Greeson both received awards for their work on “Thunder Dan,” which won Song of the Year. Alumnus Tyler Griffith received his second IBMA award for Instrumental Group of the Year, once again for his work with Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper.

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The band Sister Sadie, which featured alumna Beth Lawrence through the award eligibility period, became the first all-female group ever to win Vocal Group of the Year. Though Lawrence has departed the group, fellow ETSU alumna, Hasee Ciaccio, now holds her position in the band on upright bass.

The winners were announced at the 2019 IBMA Awards Show, held Sept. 26 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. Momentum Awards were presented the previous day at the 2019 IBMA Momentum Awards Luncheon.

For more information on the IBMA Awards, visit  To learn more about Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies at ETSU, visit