Editor’s note: Register for the Blue Ridge Music Center’s FREE virtual A Place in the Band conference held Friday, February 26, 2021 here.
BGS has been proud to partner with the Blue Ridge Music Center on their online series, A Place in the Band: Women in Bluegrass & American Roots Music. The 10-part series explores the triumphs and struggles of prominent women with careers in the music industry.
Musicians Kristin Scott Benson and Ruth Ungar as well as audio engineer Haley Miller Coots are featured in this week’s final episodes, which are available with the full series on the Blue Ridge Music Center’s YouTube channel, at their website, BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org, and here on BGS. All three of these women come from families with deep roots and historical connections to traditional and folk music.
This edition of A Place in the Band features five-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year winner and recipient of the 2018 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Kristin Scott Benson. Since 2008, she has been a member of Grammy-nominated and two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year, The Grascals. Kristin is one of the nation’s top bluegrass banjo players, exhibiting impeccable taste, timing, and tone. With an attentive ear to back-up, she is known and respected as a true team player among her peers. Many consider her to be one of the first females to successfully be a side-musician in a top-tiered bluegrass band. Kristin’s latest solo album, Stringworks, was released in 2016. It debuted in the top-ten on Billboard’s Bluegrass album chart and the original opening track, “Great Waterton,” was nominated for IBMA’s Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year. Kristin lives in South Carolina with her husband Wayne Benson (mandolin player for IIIrd Tyme Out) and their son.
“We are grateful to all the women musicians and industry professionals who agreed to take part in the Women in Bluegrass & American Music interview series,” Blue Ridge Music Center director Richard Emmett says via email. “We hope you’ll take some time to give a look and listen to some of these women and their stories… We’re sure you’ll be entertained and we hope you’ll take away some new insights and perspectives.”
The Blue Ridge Music Center would like to thank their sponsors, supporters, and media partners: The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Parks Foundation, and BGS.
Video credit: Joe Dejarnette, Studio 808A
Graphic credit: Jacob LeBlanc, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation