Rising bluegrass stars win big at International Bluegrass Awards; An interview with David Benedict and Tabitha Agnew.

This years IBMA awards in Raleigh were like most, held virtually. But that didn’t change the excitement for my two guests who were both nominated in multiple categories. Tabitha Agnew was nominated as a Momentum Vocalist as well as Instrumentalist. One of her two band collaborations, Midnight Skyracer, was also nominated in the Momentum Best Band category. David Benedict’s band Mile Twelve was nominated as Instrumental of the Year and for best New Band. Both members of this couple came “home” with wins; Tabitha won Best Instrumentalist and Mile Twelve won the Best New Band category.

David Benedict is among the finest young mandolinists today and has studied with some of the instrument’s finest players including Mike Marshall and Matt Flinner. His Boston-based colleagues in Mile Twelve have traveled the world over the last five years and released three highly acclaimed albums including the most recent covers album, “Let the Tape Roll All Night Long”, which is nominated for a Grammy.

Tabitha is an award-winning banjo player from Northern Ireland and plays in a sibling band, Cup o’ Joe” as well as the all-women UK based Midnight Skyracer. She is also a graceful singer in the genre as well.

Together, while in lockdown in Northern Ireland these last six months, they played as a duo and plan a release with the band name, The Foreign Landers.

Our conversation covers a lot of ground including their upcoming plans, their weekly livestream concerts, their beginnings in this style of music. We talk with David about his weekly Mandolin Mondays video series as well as his Patreon campaign and online mandolin lessons.

Of course, the segment has a representative sampling of all their projects. We start with David’s star studded solo album with “Dorrigo” from The Golden Angle. We follow that with Tabitha’s Cup o Joe’s “Till I Met You” as well as the newly released single from their duo collaboration The Foreign Landers’ “Put All Your Troubles Away” written by John Hartford. We also include Mile Twelve’s version of Los Lobos’ “Whiskey Trail”.

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