Justin Hiltner and Jon Weisberger Shifting Perceptions In Bluegrass; Announce IBMA Special Award Nominations

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August is a month of celebration for Justin Hiltner and Jon Weisberger, two longtime friends and bluegrass songwriters, musicians, and community leaders, who are releasing their debut duo record featuring an all-star cast of musicians. In addition, both artists were nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Special Awards and Momentum Awards.  Weisberger is nominated for two awards — ‘Songwriter of the Year’, and the ‘Mentor Momentum Award’; Hiltner is nominated for an ‘Industry Involvement’ award. Today, Huffington Post exclusively premiered the single, “I’m Not In Love With You,” click here to listen.

The nominations were announced in advance of Hiltner and Weisberger’s album, Watch It Burn, set for release on Friday, August 17. The album has received critical acclaim fromAmerican Songwriter, and Huffington Post’s Curtis Wong says the album is, “Poised to shift listeners’ long-held perceptions of bluegrass.” [Read More]

Nominees in each category of the IBMA Special Awards are selected by specially appointed committees made up of bluegrass music professionals who possess significant knowledge of that field. The recipient of each award is decided on by the Panel of Electors, an anonymous group of over 200 veteran bluegrass music professionals selected by the IBMA Board of Directors.

The recipients of the 2018 Momentum Awards will be presented with their awards at a luncheon on Wednesday, September 26, and the recipients of the 2018 Special Awards will be presented with their awards at a luncheon on Thursday, September 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina, as part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event. A full list of Hiltner and Weisberger’s appearances throughout the week is listed below.

“The virtuosity of bluegrass musicians is recognized worldwide. With the Special Awards, we recognize that same quality, found in our industry professionals who make vital contributions felt by everyone,” says IBMA’s Executive Director Paul Schiminger. “The Momentum Awards celebrate both the incredible achievements of the rising stars in our music, and the generosity of those who mentor them. Congratulations to each and every nominee for being recognized by your peers!”

Watch It Burn will be available everywhere on Aug. 17 via Robust Records. The album is a reflection of who Justin and Jon are as writers and individuals — a collection of songs rooted solidly in the traditional precepts of the Bluegrass genre, while simultaneously playing on its innovative fringes. Watch It Burn blends personal themes with those of classic country and bluegrass in an affectionate, well-crafted, yet emotionally resonant way.

Calling on their best of friends and the tight-knit bluegrass circle that originally brought them together, Hiltner and Weisberger assembled a roster of pickers to rival any of the best roots albums being released today: Molly Tuttle, current reigning International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Guitar Player of the Year brings her signature ruthless virtuosity to the project. IBMA Momentum Award winners Casey Campbell andTristan Scroggins split mandolin duty, providing a fascinating case study in divergent traditional approaches to the instrument. There’s also compatriot Brandon Godman, who conjured the record’s sole instrumental, “General Kuster,” sawing on the fiddle through nearly half of the album. Grand Master Champion fiddler Kimber Ludiker of the GRAMMY-nominated roots-grass ensemble Della Mae also plays twin fiddle, a much too rare role on modern bluegrass records. Straight-ahead powerhouses Corrina Rose Logston Stephens (fiddle) of High Fidelity, and Amanda Fields (guitar) reinforce the album’s constant homages to the genre’s heritage. And finally, a modern legend of bluegrass music, Tim O’Brien, lends a soulful, vibrant lead vocal to “If I Were a Praying Man,” a slightly angsty song of uncertainty and introspection.

The official album release show will be held at the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville on August 22. For additional information, click here.

IBMA World of Bluegrass Schedule:

Justin Hiltner
9/24, 6:00pm – Shout & Shine: A Celebration of Diversity in Bluegrass. NC Museum of History Daniels Auditorium
9/27, 1:00pm – IBMA Songwriter Showcase
9/28, 2:00pm – Youth Songwriter Workshop
9/28, 10pm-2am – Bluegrass Pride LGBTQ+ Showcase
9/29, 11:30pm – California Bluegrass Association after hours/unofficial showcase room finale.
Jon Weisberger
9/25, 1:00 pm – panelist, Co-Writing: The Benefits Of Collaboration
9/26, 9:00 am – Songwriting Mentor Sessions
9/28, 2:00 pm – w/ Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, “The Trust Set,” Wide Open Bluegrass
9/28, 8:15 pm – w/Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Wide Open Streetfest
9/28, 10pm-2am – performer w/Jon + Justin, Bluegrass Pride LGBTQ+ Showcase