The big night for UK Country music was once again the BCMA Awards at the Concorde Suite, Heathrow. There was a great turnout including lots of our top artists, many of them nominees in this year’s awards. Steve Cherelle hosted the evening and took us very professionally through the proceedings, although I missed the banter with co-host from last year, Charlie Landsborough.
The entertainment started with some visiting, rising stars from the USA, Holly May and Katie Armiger, both backed very ably by Katie’s band. Also back by popular demand, Madeline Smith was accompanied by her guitarist, Bob Stegman. They all gave us a very accomplished taster of the new talent emerging across the Atlantic and opened the show with a bang.
The main artists for the evening were all backed by the excellent house band, namely Lee Guyler and also the Musician of the Year, Tony Kaempf, Derek Thurlby and Wayne Lee, all of whom performed seamlessly and provided top class musical accompaniment.
Interspersed between the award presentations we had songs from Lisa Stanley, last year’s European Artist winner, Hicks and BCMA Linedance Artist and UK Male Vocalist Richard Palmer. Finishing off the list of talent on the stage were names from the UK’s songwriting scene, which was very well represented by BCMA Songwriter and author of the Song of the Year, Gary Quinn. Entertainers and UK Female Vocalist, Raintown and UK Duo of the Year, Luke & Mel. It was a fantastic display of the mix that is now the UK Country scene and well done to all the artists for their performances.
The highlight of the event was a special guest from the USA, Steve Wariner, backed by the house band including John Permenter and Andy Twang. Steve impressed me with his easy and friendly manner and the great sound as he delivered a host of his hits. I especially enjoyed his tribute to Chet Atkins where he sent off the band and just played an instrumental on electric guitar, it really showed how amazingly talented he is and judging by the cheers the audience greatly appreciated his appearance.
It was a very well orchestrated and entertaining evening and a big thank you to all the back and front stage crew who made the event such a success. Congratulations to the winners and nominees and roll on next year!
(Written by Sheila Southam)
Entertainer of the Year: Raintown