Congratulations! Louisa Branscomb

The Distinguished Achievement Award of the International Bluegrass Music Association is one of the highest honors in the field. It is reserved for those who been forerunners in their field, and have made substantial contributions that broaden the genre’s accessibility and recognition. Louisa Branscomb is recognized for her contributions as a Songwriter and musician and as a songwriter educator, organizer, and advocate. She is best known for writing nearly 200d recorded songs, including Alison Krauss’ first hit and John Denver’s final hit, “Steel Rails,” one of the longest running chart hits in bluegrass history. She also penned 2014 Song of the Year (co-written with Lynch). Awards include Song of the Year 1991 (SPBGMA), Song of the Year 2014 (IBMA), Atlanta Music Hall of Fame, two Recorded Event of the Year Awards (IBMA), a first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, and a Georgia Lifetime Achievement Award. Louisa has evolved a pioneering model of songwriter development and mentorship through 26 years of directing her program at “Woodsong Farm Writer Retreat,” one of the oldest ongoing songwriter workshops in the country. Utilizing the natural setting along with tech
niques for accessing the deepest voice of each individual writer, she has hosted over 1000 participants, including many returning participants working toward the master level of songwriting through her apprenticeship program. In community organization, Louisa’s efforts for the bluegrass songwriting community have proven catalytic in professionalizing that segment of the field. Branscomb was founding member of the IBMA Songwriter Committee, and as its chair drafted the Songwriter of the Year Award proposal. She has advanced a community-building model using songwriting through her non-profit, ScreenDoor Songwriter Alliance, which hosts the Southport Songwriters Festival. ScreenDoor sponsors programs using songwriting with veterans and at risk youth. When not working for songwriters and songwriting, she can be found bush hogging at Woodsong Farm on her John Deere, which is where many of her songs are penned. It is has been said that Louisa’s classic, Steel Rails, as recorded by Krauss, brought an entire new generation into bluegrass music, and is one of the most played and recorded songs today. About her work as teacher, students frequently remark: “I came to learn, I left transformed.”

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