2009 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Music Awards

And the awards go to:

Most Original: David Byrne

Best Vocals: Greensky Bluegrass

Best Instrumental: Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabate

Best Nightgrass: Cornmeal

Best Overall:
3rd: Yonder Mountain Stringband
2nd: Sam Bush Band
1st: Railroad Earth (they should play TBF every year)

The house band was not included in these awards because that just would not be fair

i like cornmeal a lot. they’re from around here and i’ve seen them lots of times in little venues like the sheridan (or smaller). and i missed their nightgrass set.

but i don’t believe their nightgrass set was better than railroad earth’s.

railroad earth’s sheridan set made their mainstage set look tame, i thought

Author’s note: These awards are based on one person’s reaction to the music that was being performed at that time. If what was posted as best does not agree with your opinion, please fell free to post your own awards.

oh, i didn’t mean to sound like a prick – sorry if i did!

did you catch RRE’s nightgrass set?

AND, i have to give a special mention that the zac brown band was really a lot of fun, great set!

I’d give Chris Thile the award for “Best Ripping Electric Mandolin Solo In A Group Ensemble”.

I’m sorry Marv, I did not mean to say you sounded like a prick. One of the disadvantages to online chatting is that it’s sometimes hard to understand the meaning behind peoples words without tone of voice.

Anyway, what I meant was that I started this thread as a way for people to list their favorite acts because I didn’t see a thread for that yet. So please, I want to know what everybody thought was the best of 2009 TBF.

Also, I did see RRE at Sheridan, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my life. However, I believe Cornmeal gets the award for two reasons.

  1. I’m from Indiana, in which two members and the manager are from, so they are a rare hometown hero at TBF.

  2. When I walked into the set I was tired and hardly awake. When they played an instant rush was given to me from their music and it was truly a magical moment.

I couldn’t agree more with carlhungus, the Cornmeal nightgrass was just awesome. I had never heard of them before and was really tired and exhausted when I got there. I wasn’t planning to stay for more than half an hour or so, but Cornmeal really woke me up with their music and made me dance like crazy until the very end of the show. I hope they’ll be on the main stage next year, ideally after Sam Bush on Saturday.

So here is my awards list:

Best Vocals: Mike Farris

Best Instrumental: Bela Fleck, Chris Thile and Julian Lage (workshop)

Best Overall:
3rd: Yonder Mountain String Band
2nd: Cornmeal (Nightgrass)
1st: Punch Brothers

(House Band not included of course)

Most Original: David Byrne (couldn’t agree more, Carlhungus! So, so much fun!)

Best Vocals: Railroad Earth (I just love todd’s voice and those harmonies…)

Best Instrumental: Bela Fleck, Chris Thile, Julian Lage (at workshop set. beautiful!)

Best Nightgrass: Yonder Mountain String Band (more than half the show with Tim Carbone of RRE sitting in. truly raging! they are better with Tim on fiddle! although, i admit I liked the RRE Nightgrass just as much.)

Best Overall:
3rd Place: Jenny Lewis (this one surprised me. I didn’t know much about her, but she just killed! great voice and came off rough and sexy!) :evil
2nd Place: David Byrne (just enjoyed this one so much!)
1st Place: Railroad Earth (IMO - maybe the best band on the planet right now. No other music moves my soul quite the same way. Big kudos to PBG for bringing them back!)

Did anyone else think the Punch Brothers Nightgrass (radiohead set) was excellent? I was so glad we decided to go.

I wish I had caught that Punch Brothers nightgrass set. I was skeptical about Punch Brothers overall after last summer - I felt their classical style stuff wasn’t well suited to my ears at an outdoor festival when I wanted to boogie. But I think they heard the feedback from last year and man, they came back just tearing it up! One of the top performances for the weekend for me.

oh my goodness that was seriously the best thing since sliced bread. i think if i had been anything but stone cold sober i might have been transported to jupiter instead of just the moon. note for note they recreated those radiohead songs PERFECTLY (and i like to pretend i’m a radiohead snob). they are definitely one of my new favorite bands, i am sooooo glad i stayed up for the whole show.

anyway, here’s my 2 cents:

most original: david byrne
best vocals: crooked still
best instrumental: bela fleck & toumani diabate

best overall:
3rd place: zac brown band (i really liked the way a country band could captivate a bluegrass audience)
2nd place: gaelic storm (i dug their high energy and audience participation)
1st place: railroad earth (only the nightgrass set, i felt the mainstage set was really lacking)


the warren-haynes-sit-in-slut-award: tie between jeff austin and chris thile (as suggested by pete)

Most Original: Elvis Costello (I really think David Byrne, but how origianal would that be… ;))
Best Vocals: Tie: Punch Brothers and Railroad Earth. Vocals on Head were amazing.
Best Instrumental: Intro To Bringin’ in the Georgia Mail by Sam Bush Band (Best banjo solo i have ever heard)
Best Nightgrass: Only went to Yonder Kick Off Party but it had amazing passion and was a great way to remember their lost friend.

Overall (and going fiver’s)
5th Place: Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Review (I wish my church was like that)
4th Place: Peter Rowan
3rd Place: Yonder Mountain String Band
2nd Place: Railroad Earth
1st Place: David Byrne

I’m changing the rules a little bit for my awards; hope you don’t mind…

Sets that exceeded my very high expectations:
Jerry Douglas Band
Zac Brown Band
David Byrne
The Steeldrivers
Railroad Earth nightgrass at the Sheridan
Yonder Mountain’s “Kickoff party” at The Conference Center
Greensky Bluegrass nightgrass at the Sheridan
Bela Fleck Workshop with Julian Lang and Chris Thile
:medal That 11-year-old kid playing mandolin outside of the post office every night. Was that kid awesome or what?!!

Sets that failed to meet my expectations, much to my surprise:
Peter Rowan
Conor Oberst
Railroad Earth’s main stage set
Works Progress Administration

:medal Yes, the Warren Haynes sit-in slut award has to go to both Jeff Austin and Chris Thile, with Sam Bush coming in at a close second. Honorable mention to Bela Fleck, of course.

:medal Best campground band goes to The Port-O-Party Ramblers. It was great to hear them rippin’ it up at the entrance to Town Park every night after nightgrass.

:medal “The I-Don’t-Need-to-Sleep-Because-I-Can-Stay-Up-All-Night-and-Still-Rock-Your-F’ing-face-off-the-Next-Day Award” goes to Anders Beck, Johnny Grubb, and Crooked Still.

There are no rules, just say what sets you enjoyed.

I just thought of a new one:

Performance which made me feel the most guilty for not talking to my father on father’s day: Craig Fergusson’s pre-Telluride House band performance (That was a great song and performed exceptionally well, he should sit in during the festival more often, probably to busy running stuff.)