For those of you who weren’t able to be with us in Raleigh, North Carolina, last week for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week, we missed you and hope you were able to catch some of the great seminars and musical presentations online that took place from September 28 – October 2. For my mom in Springfield, Missouri, and anyone else who was not able to attend the Industry Awards Luncheon on September 30, here’s what I said—pretty much—after being presented with a Distinguished Achievement Award plaque:

Thanks so much for this honor. I’m really more used to being on the other end of giving out awards!

We all know, of course, that most good things are not usually accomplished by a single person. There are staff members, committees, board members, contractors, sponsors, and volunteers of all kinds working together behind the scenes, and that’s certainly been the case for me.

I was blessed to grow up in a musical family, and I still live in one with my husband Bob Webster, a fine guitar player and singer who was a radio broadcaster at WAMU in Washington, DC, for several years. I’d like to thank my parents; my brother Ray Cardwell, who is a Pinecastle/Bonfire recording artist; my daughter, Erin; and the rest of my extended bluegrass family from Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee,  to Europe, the UK, Japan, Australia and beyond!

I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with some hard-working, talented board members at the IBMA Foundation, IBMA, and the Bluegrass Museum. The core staff at IBMA was a powerful one: Dan Hays and Jill Crabtree for most of the 20 years I was there, plus everyone else who worked or interned with us at one time or another.

I’ve been lucky to have mentors like Fred Bartenstein; Dan Hays; the late Pete Kuykendall—who bought the first article I wrote for a magazine writing college class in 1979 (and much to my great surprise printed it in Bluegrass Unlimited); and Wayne Bledsoe, publisher and editor at Bluegrass Now magazine, who was also the first Education Committee chair at IBMA when he served on the board; among others.

I’m grateful to God for the gift of music and the magic of words.

As a musician, I’d like to thank Mary Faith at John Pearse Strings and Breezy Ridge Instruments, Jeff at Huffman Guitars, and the great Jesse McReynolds, who asked me to be a “Virginia Boy” in 2017. Thanks to Wendy Tyner and Ruth McLain who put so much effort into nominating me for the Distinguished Achievement Award, and thanks to all of you who took the time to write messages of support. I’m grateful to ALL of you for sharing your music and stories with me. Congratulations to all of the award nominees and recipients this year, along with many others of you who should have been nominated for your fine work!

NOW, let’s get back to work making the future of bluegrass brighter by sharing it with the next generation.

RETURN to the October 5, 2021 issue of The Cornerstone.