COUNTRY SINGIN’ - Local singer Jamie Woodfin performs at a past ACMA event. This year’s ACMA Awards run Jan. 28th. Bill Borgwardt photo

Alberta Country Music Awards coming up next month

The Awards are slated for Jan. 28th at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel

The 2017 Alberta Country Music Awards (ACMA) are fast approaching with an exciting line-up of performances.

Entering into its seventh year, the Association of Country Music in Alberta’s annual Awards are all about promoting some of the finest country music in Alberta.

“It’s nice to see everybody from the Association and all the players and members that you work with throughout the year. The people part of it is the best part,” said President of the Association Bill Hanson.

He added that the Awards are not only about promoting country music, but also the industries that support country music, so they try to support their sponsors through the country radio stations in the province, along with some of the clubs.

One of those facilities is Red Deer’s Billy Bob’s Saloon, which is where the kick-off party will be on Jan. 27th.

The Awards will then follow on Jan. 28th at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel.

He added that this year they’ve started a new category that’s going to be just for the established artists who have done really good things in Alberta, but also outside of Alberta.

“Sometimes they’ve gone to Nashville. Artists like Gord Bamford, Emerson Drive, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Terri Clark, so that level of artist is a new category. We’re calling it the ‘Entertainer of the Year’ category.”

Hanson said they hope to have some of them come out, but haven’t received confirmations yet.

“It’s nice to have those established artists involved and excited about the Association.

“We’ve been principally concentrating on up-and-coming artists and getting people who’s careers are just getting going, but it’s nice to have the established ones involved as well,” said Hanson.

The Awards have always been held in Red Deer, acting as a sort of middle ground.

“There’s a whole bunch of us who had been in the industry a long time, but one of the issues that has come up over the years when people have tried to get an association for country music going in Alberta was the Edmonton Calgary rivalry.”

So Red Deer stuck.

Hanson said they are currently in the process of figuring out who will be on the show, but said those singers in the Rising Star category usually are the ones performing.

“Every year we’ve decided that we put our Rising Stars on the show, and then we populate the rest of the performances with members that either haven’t been on the show or have had a great year with their careers,” he said, adding that they also have a youth component now to recognize the younger artists.

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