All kinds of people from the country music industry from across the state of Arkansas and farther, gathered in the natural state on June 4th, 2018, for the first inaugural Arkansas Country Music Awards, being held at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The awards was hosted by Arkansas native and country music artist, Collin Raye, alongside another Arkansas native and country music historian, Charles Haymes. There was a red carpet, hosted by former Miss Arkansas, Ashton Gill. Before the show, there was private performances being held for VIP ticket holders, by some of the singer/songwriters performing or nominated at the awards.
It was a special night for all those involved, as the evening included performances by different country music artists, the awards being given out, and wonderful tributes to five legendary country music singer/songwriters from the state of Arkansas.
The five artists that had a dedicated tribute to them were Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, The Browns, Ed Bruce, and Wayne Raney. Each artist receiving a tribute, also had a family member speak and accept the award on their behalf, such as Johnny Cash’s sister, Joanne Cash, along with Glen Campbell’s oldest daughter, Debby Campbell, who also performed one of her father’s songs in dedication, By The Time I Get To Phoenix. They also had a short tribute of Behind Closed Doors, for Charlie Rich.
One of the most memorable speeches of the night came from Glen Campbell’s daughter, Debby Campbell, when she and her three other siblings accepted their father’s award. “This is such an honor for all of us. Thank you ACMA for having us tonight accepting this lifetime achievement award on behalf of our father. Let me be first to say, this award would mean the most to dad out of any award he ever got because he loved Arkansas, he loved his family, he loved the state.” Campbell ended her speech by saying, “But if dad was here tonight I know that he would say to y’all (beginning to sing), Arkansas, land of opportunity, Arkansas, Oh, what you do to me, prettiest place that I ever saw, was back home in Arkansas.”
Some of the great performances of the night included a opening number of Arkansas Traveler by Melody Hart, Erin Enderlin with Ain’t It Just Like A Cowboy, Cory Jackson with Row By Row, and a beautiful acappella gospel melody by United Voice. Others included Barbara Fairchild performing her song, Teddy Bear, and a couple of songs including Little Rock, Love, Me and That’s My Story, by host, Collin Raye. There was also a surprise guest that made an appearance during the show, Tanya Tucker, came out to sing her hit song, Texas (When I Die).
Here is a list of the winners of the first inaugural Arkansas Country Music Awards!
* Guitarist Of The Year – Randall George
* Drummer Of The Year – Doobie Bowie
* Vocal Group Of The Year – The Zac Dunlap Band
* Sound Engineer Of The Year – Jon Raney
* Young Artist Of The Year – Cam Shelton
* Radio DJ Of The Year – Bob Robbins of KMJX in Little Rock
* Bassist Of The Year – Jimmy Young
* Steel Player Of The Year – Steve Matlock
* Venue Of The Year – Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas
* Song Of The Year – Arkansas Mine by The Zac Dunlap Band
* Male Vocalist Of The Year – Blane Howard
* Radio Station Of The Year – KSSN of Little Rock, Arkansas
* Songwriter Of The Year – Erin Enderlin
* Fiddler Of The Year – Melody Hart
* Bluegrass Artist Of The Year – The Keisler Brothers Band
* Inspirational Artist Of The Year – Heaven’s Echoes
* Album Of The Year – Whiskeytown Crier by Erin Enderlin
* Americana/Roots Artist Of The Year – Bonnie Montgomery
* Magazine Of The Year – Arkansas Living
* Acoustic Act Of The Year – Caleb Ryan Martin
* Promoter Of The Year – J.R. Rogers
* Female Vocalist Of The Year – Bonnie Montgomery
* Music Producer Of The Year – Randy Loyd
* Video Of The Year – Arkansas Mine by The Zac Dunlap Band
* Country Artist Of The Year – Cory Jackson
* Entertainer Of The Year – The Zac Dunlap Band
All in all, it was a unforgettable evening for everyone. It’s a great start to help getting the word spread about the remarkable country music artists and their music that we have from the natural state of Arkansas. Special shoutout and thank you to producer of the Arkansas Country Music Awards, Nathan Hunnicutt, for inviting and incorporating The CMBeat in the event!
Be sure to follow the Arkansas Country Music Awards for updates on when next year’s show will be on their social media including on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at their website, www.arkansascountrymusic.com.
Did you attend the first inaugural Arkansas Country Music Awards? What did you think of the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below or on social media!