Kristin Scott Benson named IBMA Banjo Player Of The Year

Article Contributed by Mountain Home … | Published on Friday, September 29, 2023

Kristin Scott Benson, banjo player for the GRAMMY-nominated Grascals and duo Benson, won the Banjo Player Of The Year award at last night's International Bluegrass Music Association awards in Raleigh, North Carolina marking the 6th time she's won.

"I'm continually amazed that God has allowed me a life full of music because all I ever really wanted to do was play the banjo," says Kristin. "I love our entire bluegrass community and count it as a privilege to be a part of it. I'm eternally grateful to everyone who helps make this happen because there are many. No one does it alone. My heart is full. Thank you!"

Recognized as a top banjoist, Kristin, a South Carolina native, is known for her impeccable taste, timing and tone. In 2018, she won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, which seeks to bring recognition to outstanding accomplishment in the field. In addition to releasing new music with The Grascals this year (their latest single, "I Go," is streaming now), Kristin also released Pick Your Poison with her husband, Wayne, under the name Benson. This distinctive collaboration — their first as jointly featured artists—serves to bring a shared musical vision of the Bensons to life and puts their mastery of thoughtful artistry on display.

Listen to Pick Your Poison HERE.

About Kristin Scott Benson
Kristin Scott Benson, winner of the 2018 Steve Martin Prize For Excellence in Banjo & Bluegrass, is also a six-time International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year. She has been a member of the GRAMMY-nominated bluegrass band, The Grascals since 2008. Her most recent solo album, Stringworks, was released by Mountain Home Music Company in 2016.​

Kristin grew up in South Carolina, surrounded by a musical family. She started playing mandolin and stepped on stage for the first time at the age of 5. After receiving a much-anticipated banjo for Christmas when she was 13, Kristin became enthralled with the instrument and spent her teen years studying the playing of all the banjo greats from Earl Scruggs to Bela Fleck. After high school, she attended Nashville’s esteemed Belmont University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BBA in Marketing and a minor in Music Business.​

Kristin has attained a national identity as one of the 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:

“There was one grass ceiling no woman could cut through—until Kristin Scott Benson came along, that is. Almost two years ago, she joined The Grascals. Not to front the band, not to sing, not to be eye candy, but instead to drive the group with her five-string banjo. Until then, no woman had ever been hired to play one of the most defining of the bluegrass instruments in an A-list, festival-headlining, all-male band….It’s a high profile gig, as Kristin takes the banjo where no woman has taken it before.” — Larry Nager for Bluegrass Unlimited – “Kristin Scott Benson – Cutting the Grass Ceiling”  October 2010​

In addition to her latest solo album, Stringworks, Kristin has recorded two prior banjo albums, Straight Paths and Second Season. Both received stellar reviews, as well as an IBMA nomination for Instrumental of the Year for the self-penned, “Don’t Tread on Me,” on Second Season.