Young Performer Grant

Winner of the ABOTMA Young Performer Grant (2019): Amy Ryan

Amy attended Mountaingrass 2018 with her father Andrew, following up on her musical experience at the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, where she hung out and played songs with Rhodeworks (last years recipients of the grant).

Here are a few of the musical milestones achieved by Amy in the past year.

December 2018 – performed at “Bluegrass Sunday”  – an event held the family property in Chambers Flat, QLD, along side The Sonoran Dogs, The Nahuysen Brothers Band and Russ and Glen Carson.

December 2018 – The Australian Bluegrass Conference, Amy was the Youngest student to Ever attend The Conference. The faculty was so impressed with Amy during the workshops that she was invited to Perform up on stage and close out the final night concert with them all. They placed her centre stage on top of an amplifier and she led, playing guitar and singing with, Mustered Courage, Peter and Mark Nahusen , The Sonoran Dogs, Russ Carson (Ricky Skagg’s banjo player), his father, Glen Carson, with Bruce Packard from Victoria.

January 2019 – Amy competed at Tamworth in the Battle of the Bluegrass in Tamworth Town Hall against the likes of Paddy Montgomery and Tommy Chandler. Then she made it through to the Final of the Coca Cola Battle of the Young stars, performing Kristy Cox’s bluegrass song “Right Where You Left It”. At Pete Denahy’s Bluegrass Breakfast, Amy played and sang with Pete, Aron and Montz, then after being called back, did a solo performance.

Whilst at Tamworth Amy Spent time Jamming with, Paddy Montgomery, Tommy Chandler and Daniel Watkins. [ She was So Happy ]. Amy was also very fortunate that after connecting with Kristy Cox and her Band, [Dave Pendley and Griff Martin] that they travelled to Queensland to Amy’s home. There was many a Jam Session in the following days. The highlight came when Amy was asked to come up and sing with Kristy during a house concert. Kristy has since invited Amy and her family to stay at her home in Nashville, TN. She would like to show Amy the town and take her to some bluegrass Events.

April 2019 – Amy Joined the Redlands Modern Country Music Club and commenced practicing with the Redlands Bluegrass Boys at their social events.

April 2019 – Amy was invited by the Convener of the Boyne Valley Country Music Campouts to perform at their event in Ubobo, Central Queensland, with the Owl Valley Bluegrass Band -the headline act. The whole event went very well and Amy was asked to perform a second time. This was filmed by the CAMPR outdoor television Program and features Amy in their production.

April 2019 – Invitation received to return and perform as a paid artist at the 2020 Boyne Valley Country Music Campout.

May 2019 – Performed with Allen and Tom, [RBGB] at the Redlands Modern Country Music Festival,

June 2019 – received invitation from Don Jackson, from Bay FM Radio Station in Redland Bay, QLD, for Amy to record her first EP, in their studio, for free. This is part of a program run by the station to foster young talent.

June 2019 – Amy performed at the Australian Pedal Steel Convention With Hall of Fame Pedal Steelers, Paddy Long, Christchurch NZ, and Milton Quackenbush from Texas USA.

June 2019 – Amy played at a fund-raising event hosted by the comedian, Col Elliot. She once again joined Owl Valley Bluegrass on stage for this event.

June 2019 – Amy received an invitation to perform at the inaugural Australian ‘Dolly Parton’ Convention. This is scheduled for April 2020.

July 2019 – Amy opened for Catherine Britt, playing with Peter and Mark Nahuysen. Catherine then asked Amy to join her to play guitar with her for three songs during her show.

The last year has been very busy for Amy. To her credit, she has taken it all in her stride and is cruising along nicely. Amy is looking forward to reconnecting with the Sonoran Dogs this year at Mountaingrass The whole band are very good instructors and they have been an important influence in bringing Amy to where she is today.

Special mention must also be made of the Jammalong crew, who at last years Mountaingrass festival, were very kind and nurturing to Amy.
Their understanding and demeanour had a significant impact on Amy when she had doubts about going on the main stage for the first time.

ABOTMA is delighted to support Amy through the provision of the Young Performer Grant 2019.

Amy Ryan Facebook

More about the ABOTMA Young Performer grant

The ABOTMA Young Performer Grant was instituted in 2018. The Grant is for $1500 and is funded from the proceeds of the ABOTMA raffle held each year at Mountaingrass.

The Grant is the result of ABOTMA’s desire to encourage young Bluegrass and American Old Time acts to continue playing these styles. The funds are intended to be used by the recipient towards the costs involved in travelling to and staying at the Mountaingrass festival. Season tickets are also part of the award. It is intended that by attending Mountaingrass the recipient will obtain tuition, performing experience, and exposure to a larger community of bluegrass and old time musicians and music lovers.

In 2018 the ABOTMA Executive committee awarded the Young Performer Grant to Rhodeworks.

Rhodeworks Website

Applications for the 2021 ABOTMA Young Performer grant will open via the Mountaingrass website in April 2021.

There will be an open process to invite applications from both individuals and groups, who are:

  • from anywhere in the world,
  • are under 30 years of age,
  • are in an existing Bluegrass band, or are a member of an existing Bluegrass band, and/or
  • are either in an American Old Time act or a member of an existing American Old Time act, and are
  • trying to forge a career playing either Bluegrass or Old Time music.


Applicants must provide evidence of their ability to play either Bluegrass or Old time music by including links to existing recordings and videos, and an indication of previous gigs where they have performed in these styles.

The successful applicant(s) will be expected to attend workshops at Mountaingrass and give at least one blackboard or stage concert performance during the festival.