Monday, February 19, 2018

Ceremony to award Texas country artists

By Special to @play
Sept. 13, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.

Texas Country Music Association spokesman Mark Chesnutt will perform at the Sept. 28 awards show and also receive the 2017 Trailblazer Award. (Special to the News-Journal)

Longtime country music artist Mark Chesnutt is included among the performers at the Texas Country Music Awards Show and Ceremony on Sept. 28 at the Carthage Civic Center.

Chesnutt, also the Texas Country Music Association spokesman, will receive the 2017 Trailblazer Award, honoring him for his long-standing impact on the country music industry in Texas and worldwide, said association President Linda Wilson.

"He's certainly 'blazed the trail' for so many artists, and he deserves the honor and recognition," Wilson said.

Wilson, of Carthage, founded the the Texas Country Music Association Inc. and its charity fund Texas Country Cares in 2011. Though the association has been around for six years, this is the first time for it to host an awards show honoring country music artists.

"Texas is so blessed to have such spectacular talent," Wilson said. "There were literally thousands of nominees — each one gifted and unique — and we are extremely honored to be able to work on all their behalf on an ongoing basis. It will certainly be an event that will go down in history."

At the awards show, awards will be handed out to winners in 21 categories, including entertainer of the year, male and female vocalist of the year, young artist, country album and more. The association has announced the five finalists for each category; a complete list of awards and nominees is available online at

Between May 1 and June 15, the association solicited nominations from country music fans, receiving more than 25,000 nominations. Between June 20 and July 31, fans had the opportunity to vote online to determine the top five finalists in each category.

"As a musician myself, I'm so happy to see the awards include musician categories. It's very satisfying to see how excited they are to be recognized, and they certainly deserve it," said Richard Wilson, vice president of the Texas Country Music Association.

Texas country music artist Brandon Rhyder will serve as host and will also perform at the event. Co-hosting the awards along with Rhyder is media professional and entertainer Jenn Ford.

Live performances include Chesnutt, Rhyder, Bri Bagwell, Johnny Rodriguez, Doug Supernaw, Christian country artist Del Way and others. As a special treat, Cajun country artist Jo-el Sonnier will perform.

Award presenters include performers and other well-known individuals, such as Brad Maule, who starred on "General Hospital" and is a country artist; Rod Phelps, who discovered Garth Brooks and Miranda Lambert; Roger Springer, who wrote more than 100 hit country songs for such artists as Chesnutt, George Strait and others; Heather Little, who wrote songs for Miranda Lambert; and Brendan Anthony, director of the Texas Music Office.

Doors open to the Carthage Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28. A preshow event will feature Steve Mays and Three of a Kind Band performing, beginning at 6 p.m. The awards begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available online at Cost ranges from $27.50 per ticket to $47.50 per ticket.

Though the Texas Country Music Association Inc. is located in Carthage, it is not legally affiliated with the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

"We're great friends, and TCMA certainly supports and promotes the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame every chance we get," Wilson noted. "We are not in competition. Each organization has totally different missions, both needed in the Texas country nusic industry."

The goal of the the Texas Country Music Association Inc. is to aid in the success of artists and musicians, but also venues and businesses that work behind the scenes.

"By building relationships we can accomplish much and the TCMA's vision is to be the most effective networking resource to support and enable the up-and-coming artists who are from and entertain in Texas," Wilson said.

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