The Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene and Boone Creek took top honors in the seventh annual Muleskinner News bluegrass awards.
The Gentlemen, based in Washington, were voted bluegrass band of the year and "Ages and Ages Ago," from their latest album, was the song of the year. Charlie Waller, lead singer with the Gentlemen, was selected the best bluegrass singer of the year.
Album of the year, according to Muleskinner readers, was "New Washington, was selected as the best vocal group for 1977.
Ricky Skaggs, formerly with the Gentlemen and with Ralph Stanley, was elected the entertainer of the year. His group, Boone Creek from Lexington, Ky., shared honors for the most promising vocal group with the Pinnacle Boys from Knoxville, Tenn.
Doyle Lawson of the Country Gentlemen finally overtook the "father of bluegrass," Bill Monroe, to be selected mandolin player of the year. Skaggs, whose band is only 2 years old, was voted the most promising mandolin player.
The ballots for best dobro player confirmed the mental conflict of many followers of bluegrass as Mike Auldridge of the Seldom Scene and Jerry Douglas of Boone Creek ended in a tie for the top honors. Most promising dobro player was Don Huckabee from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, who plays with Roanoke.
Tony Rice, formerly with J.D. Corwe and the New South, was voted best guitar player; Wesley Golden of Boone Creek was selected most promising guitar player.
Tom Gray of the Seldom Scene was again chosen bass player of the year. Most promising bass player was Travis Lewis of the gospel singing Lewis Family from Lincolnton, Ga.
Bobby Hicks, a veteran of bluegrass who played will Bill Monroe for six years, was elected the fiddler of the year, and most promising fiddler was J.B. Prince of High Point, N.C.
J.D. Crowe, leader of the New South from Lexington, Ky., was again the banjo picker of the year. James Bailey, who returned a year ago to the Country Gentlemen, won the award for the most promising banjo player.
Lost and Found of Southwest Virginia was selected most promising band of the year. Bud Brewster of the Pinnade Boys was the most promising singer.
More than 5,000 persons over the weekend attended the Original Bluegrass Festival here, where the awards were presented.