Ian Kimmel had his first banjo before he could walk.
By age 4, he was mimicking other musicians on a cello outfitted like a stand-up bass. By age 8, he had appeared on stage for the first time. And by the time he was a teenager, he was hosting workshops and teaching classes for musicians twice his age.
But perhaps that's not surprising when your father happens to be Dick Kimmel, an internationally recognized bluegrass artist with more than two dozen recordings to his name.
"It's been nice always having him around for advice," said Ian, himself a 17-year old student at New Ulm High School. "It's not too often you get to have a three-time hall-of-famer at your house."
Now, father and son have both been nominated for 2014 Midwest Bluegrass Awards by the Society for the Preservation of the Bluegrass Music of America. Dick is nominated for Entertainer of the Year while Ian is nominated for Mandolin Performer of the Year.
And it's not hard to see why. Between their various bands and side projects, the two cut an impressive swath through the bluegrass landscape.
In addition to the five-piece Dick Kimmel & Co. ensemble (which includes Ian on mandolin), Dick performs in two duo ensembles and records frequently with collaborators. After releasing the critically acclaimed "Dreamin'" with Dick Kimmel & Co. in 2011, the veteran musician who has been inducted into three music halls of fame (the most recent, the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame, in 2012) said he is now working on a solo mandolin recording.
For his part, Ian also plays full-time with two other bands — Addison Avenue and his own Barton's Hollow. Like his father, he is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, dobro, banjo, bass and mandolin, mainly) and he plans on attending East Tennessee State in the fall of 2014 to continue studying bluegrass music.