NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tim O'Brien won song of the year and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder earned instrumental group of the year for the eighth straight time at the International Bluegrass Music Awards Thursday.
O'Brien captured the top song honors for "Look Down That Lonesome Road" from the "Fiddler's Green" album.
He thanked all the musicians he's played with, his family and "all the great songwriters I try to live up to."
Skaggs thanked his band for the "fire and excitement they play with every night."
In other early awards presented at the Grand Ole Opry House, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver won gospel recorded performance of the year for "He Lives in Me." The Daughters of Bluegrass won recorded event of the year for "Back to the Well" and The Steep Canyon Rangers captured the emerging artist award.
Performers included Skaggs, backed by a 20-piece orchestra, Cherryholmes and Blue Hawaii.
With 11 collective nominations, Alison Krauss and Union Station were the top nominees for other awards, which were being presented later Thursday night.
They're nominated for Instrumental Group and Vocal Group of the Year, while Krauss and band mate Dan Tyminski were nominated individually for Female Vocalist and Male Vocalist.
Group members Barry Bales, Jerry Douglas and Ron Block were also up for several individual awards at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Krauss' versatile catalog is widely credited with bringing bluegrass and old-time music to mainstream audiences. The group has recorded traditional tunes like "Down to the River to Pray" and Ralph Stanley's "Heaven's Bright Shore" as well as classic rock songs by Bad Company and the Allman Brothers.
In the process they've sold more than 7 million albums — extraordinary for a bluegrass act.
Krauss, 35, began playing violin at her mother's suggestion and by 12 was in a band. She released her first album, "Too Late to Cry," when she was only 16.
She has won 20 Grammy awards and has produced albums for Nickel Creek and Alan Jackson.
Another leading nominee was Blue Highway with 10, including Vocal Group, Song, Gospel and Instrumental Group of the Year. The band also was nominated for two different Album of the Year projects, including their 2005 release "Marbletown."
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver had seven nominations, as did Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.
Lawson's nominations include Entertainer of the Year, Gospel Recorded Performance and Song and Album of the Year.
As owner of Skaggs Family Records, Skaggs also had several artists on his label nominated, including the family group Cherryholmes, which was competing for five awards including Entertainer of the Year.
Rhonda Vincent and her group the Rage had six nominations, the Del McCoury Band four and The Grascals three.