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Season's Greetings Idaho Bluegrass Lovers!

Noteworthy News from the annual IBA members meeting of December 2---
Election Results for 2021: We elected a full slate of Board members, and I am happy to announce that our president elect for 2021 is Dr. Mike Murray. Mike is a newly retired engineer. Most of us know him as an excellent flat-picking guitarist and amazing luthier. Please join me in welcoming Mike to the IBA leadership team.

Also elected for 2021 are Joe Gobel, vice-president; Mark McDonagh, treasurer; Barbara Kemp, Secretary; and Board members Adam King, Mark Stolpe, and Petra Schwarthoff.  Except for Mike as incoming president, the rest are returning Board members--gluttons for the glory I suppose!  Thank you all for volunteering to serve our bluegrass community!
Top Pickin' Bluegrass Citizen of the Year Award:
This new award will be given annually to recognize an individual, non-profit, or for-profit business for outstanding contributions to the presentation, preservation, or promotion of bluegrass music in Idaho.

We are pleased and proud to present the first annual, 2020
Top Pickin' Bluegrass Citizen of the Year Award  to  Jason Homey.

Jason’s contributions to our bluegrass community are, as we all know, both broad and deep. In addition to the banjo, guitar, and mandolin lessons he provides to many individuals, Jason has been holding weekly teaching jams in Boise since 2012 for both beginner and intermediate groups. When the weekly jams were interrupted in March 2020 for safety reasons, Jason began creating and sending teaching/play-along videos to all students and jammers. These weekly videos have been invaluable in keeping us practicing, learning, and connected until we can meet again face to face. And so the community continues...

This award also is in recognition of Jason’s many years of bluegrass performances in bands including The Clumsy Lovers, Reilly Coyote, Friday Night Jam, Dry Buck, Highland Hillstomp, Possum Livin’, Tokosha, and Jason Homey and the Snake River Boys. We look forward to whatever post-covid musical adventures Jason has up his sleeve.

Also, we must not neglect mention and thanks for Jason’s great performances at Liquid Open-Mic Nights of songs taught at beginner jams—to demonstrate how we all might one day, with practice and persistence, become our best pickin’ selves! Thanks, Jason!

Words from our incoming president, Mike Murray, sum it up nicely:  "When I first heard that the IBA was going to have this award, I immediately thought of Jason. I can’t think of anyone more deserving for the first annual award. His contribution to bluegrass music in Idaho, and the lives he has impacted through his teaching and example is tremendous. Congratulations Jason!"

Jason's award is accompanied by a $500 check and an award plaque.

Criteria and nomination process for the Top Pickin' award are explained below in "Other News."

The Year In Review
Many of us are anxious to put this year behind us and move on to a better and brighter 2021. Me included. But, before we do, I’d like to take a moment to be thankful during this holiday season for what we have. It is true that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Oh, how we all miss and greatly appreciate the weekly jams, monthly acoustic showcases,  open mics,  and all the events where we connect with friends to share the music we love.

Though many of our scheduled events had to be cancelled in 2020, we are most grateful for the success of the 1st annual Idaho Winterfest  in January 2020. Held at the Ironwood Bar and Grill, the Winterfest rustled up 13 bands, 7 hours of bluegrass music, and 600 participants, supporters, and listeners. It's hard to believe that was only 11 months ago.

We are most grateful for the efforts of all who helped keep us connected during these physically distant times. Thank you to those who participated in our Virtualgrass online festival in the spring.

Again, a huge shout-out and thank you to Jason Homey for his weekly “Jam with Jason” posts on YouTube.

The Year Ahead
We see a brighter and more music filled 2021!  Though we are moving cautiously, we are moving! We are planning an outdoor Memorial Day Bluegrass Festival for 2021 (May 31) to be held in the Treasure Valley. Venue and details TBD. Please follow the website for more details.

We have scheduled the Weiser Bluegrass and Banjo Camp for May 20-23, 2021, at the site of the National Oldtime Fiddle Festival in Weiser. We have engaged 8 nationally known instrutors and we can enroll a maximum of 120 students.


Message from Joe

Thanks to each one of you for the opportunity to serve as president during the last three years. It has been an honor. During the last three years, the Idaho Bluegrass Association has grown from approximately 50 to nearly 700 members. We have increased the number of weekly jams and expanded the 4-day music camps. We also initiated the monthly open-mic night, the monthly acoustic showcase, and seasonal events including our Memorial Day Bluegrass Festival and Winterfest. Thanks to the generous support of IBA members throughout the state, we have not only been able to hold these events but also furthered our charitable goals by funding numerous scholarships for our music educational camps. 

As the outgoing president of the IBA, now is my chance to issue a host of presidential pardons. I hereby pardon John Hardy for being a “desperate little man.” I pardon Ole Slewfoot for stealing the little pig. After all, he was just doing what he does. This is starting to feel good. Let's keep going. I officially pardon Momma even if she “don't allow bluegrass music ‘round here.” And I officially pardon Little Maggie for thinking she could drink away her troubles. Hey, this is fun, I’m on a roll. And like the first lady elect, I'd like to pardon Doc Watson for not dropping the doctor from his name. What? Too much? And lastly, I'd like to grant a presidential pardon to the author of the recent story suggesting that Bill Monroe was not the father of bluegrass. What was that writer thinking? Oh, one more….I would like to pre-pardon myself from any future performance mistakes, off-key singing, or any general misconduct. I’ll leave it to all you presidential scholars to debate whether a pre-pardon is even possible.



The IBA created an award to be given annually by a vote of the Board of Directors to an individual, non-profit, or for-profit business for outstanding contributions to the presentation, preservation, or promotion of bluegrass music in Idaho. Criteria for consideration are a close connection with Idaho by residence, presence, or impact on the Idaho Bluegrass community and by duration and degree of contribution. Nominations from paying IBA members are welcomed. The recipient of the award will receive a “Top Pickin’  Bluegrass Citizen of the Year” plaque and monetary award amount determined annually by the board.


We have received an invitation for band submissions from this organization. Check it out. Is your band ready? Other previous bluegrass bands have included Brothers Comatose. Here is the link


In this season of giving, please consider a charitable donation to the Idaho Bluegrass Association. We are a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization. We are 100% volunteer run. All donations go toward preserving, presenting, and promoting bluegrass music throughout the great state of Idaho. Annual paying membership is $20. A donation of $30 pays for membership and an IBA hat or t-shirt.


Check out our classified page, which includes recent additions


And here is a brand new joke hot off the press from our beloved treasurer and all-around good guy, Mark McDonaugh. What do you call a banjo player with one dislocated shoulder? A good start.

Please wish Mark the best as he undergoes surgery for his ski injury this Wednesday.


All of us at the Idaho Bluegrass Association would like to wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2021. We also hereby declare our fervent intention that bluegrass music---of the people, by the people, and for the people---shall not perish from the earth.

Cheers, Joe Gobel

President (for a few more days)

Check out Jason’s version of Auld Lang Syne.

Copyright © 2020 Idaho Bluegrass Association, All rights reserved.

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