Sunday, 16 September 2012

UKCountryRadio Listeners Awards - 5th Party

UKCountryRadio Listeners Awards - 5th Party

On Saturday September 1, 2012 the internet country station, “playing the hottest country music for the UK, 24 hours a day” celebrated their firth birthday since its launch. Its objective is to aim to promote the best in British country music alongside the big established names in America.  
They hosted their second-ever live outside broadcast for their Listeners’ Club Award. The celebratory live event took place once again at the Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel at Kegworth near Derby, England.

Each party-goer who attended voted for the 5 short listed finalists, and their votes were added to those received for each song in the first round of online voting held earlier in 2012. 
It was congratulations to Finalist #4 Wayne Jacobs who hails from Kent who was this year’s winner of the Listeners' Club Award 2012 for his nominated final song "Kentucky Whiskey". 

Wayne Jacobs

This song was produced in Nashville Tennessee with Wayne reversing the usual role penning a song about a wife with a drinking problem rather than a husband!  This song had already received a Commended Entry in a 2011 UK songwriting contest.
Wayne performed at last years Listeners' Club Awards when “My Tennessee Girl" was voted into the final.
Unfortunately Wayne was unable to attend this year’s event as he was suffering with a bout of flu and had lost his voice. He was however listening online and immediately posted on the  Facebook page, "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing 2012 Listeners' Club Award and for all my fans who voted for me. "I'm over the moon I love you guys."

Each finalist received a certificate and Wayne's song was one of five Finalists up for the award along with:
Finalist #1 – “Carmen" - Ian Highland & Twilight Country
Finalist #2 – “Come Undone” - Thorne Hill
Finalist #3 – “Don't Tell Me You're Not In Love” - Carolann B
Finalist #5 – “That Thing You Do” - Belle Cannon and Wye Creek Music have again combined to offer a special limited edition commemorative Digital Mini-Album, produced by Mike Evans, featuring the five short-listed finalists for the 2012 Listeners’ Award. Wye Creek Music has agreed to waive their royalties and to generously donate all profits from the sales of this album to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Singer-songwriter Belle Cannon who hails from Galway Bay was also absent on the evening but the other 3 finalists were present and able to showcase their nominated song in their live set.

The evening included a three-course luxury dinner and live music. During desserts voting slips were collected from the party-goers and between each course it switched to UKCountryRadio live on air presented by Neil Martin.
Station head Allan Watkiss welcomed all artists, presenters and guests and then introduced the first live act the John Aston Trio which included a special appearance by Rita B. She was recipient of the Listeners' Club Award 2011 with her song "Got Caught When Your Guard Was Down".

1) John Aston Trio
The songs John has written over the years are mostly inspired by his wife of 28 years. He offered a songwriter tip saying you don’t have to look too far for inspiration. It can be near to you or overhearing what someone might say or a particular saying. The trio featured Ken Durrans on bass.  When John moved from West Midlands to South Yorkshire Ken was one of the first people he met who befriended him.
They have been friends for 46 years when John was around 11-years old and Ken was 9. John paid tribute to his good friend – “Ken is one of the nicest singers and people in country music and in the music business”.

John Ashton Trio

John wrote his first song when he was 14 in a Methodist Chapel in a talent competition when he came second. This gave him an insight into what you have to do to succeed in the music business -"If you’re going to be a songwriter, you've got to be creative. My father taught me don't make them [songs] complicated make them easy, make it something people are going to remember for generations to come, not something that is there one week and gone the next. I find a lot of today's pop like that, I hear it once and I've forgotten about it immediately” said John.
On the night John imparted some key advice regarding registering of songs You cannot copyright words, it’s the melody/music that your copyrighting not the words. Please don't let anyone fool you when go to register a song with MCPS or The Songwriters Guild .If you are going to register a song make sure you have the music with it, not the words, because you cannot copyright words. Your song can get stolen, just like that, if they've got a good one, they will do it. Believe me it’s a cut throat business when you get therehe shared.
John has had songs recorded in Nashville (16 songs). He went on to say:If a song gets recorded in America, don’t expect any royalties, they don't pay. If a song gets played in America you won't earn any money from it” Japan is good! One of John's songs was played in a Japanese supermarket - "I keep getting money now and again. Titles of songs if they clash with anything that PRS have on record, the payment may not go to you. You might be lucky to get somebody else’s. If they are a big hitter, there is somebody else out there called John Ashton and every now and again I get paid some of his royalties, he has bought me a nice car!”

Setlist: "Tell Me A Lie", "Time Waits For No Man","The Race Is On", "I'm The Devil Who Really Loves You"
(My Love is) Evergreen, “Why Don't We Get Together” (Rita B duet)

Listen to the John Aston Trio with Rita B “Why Don't We Get Together” >>  Audio

2) Carolann B
The first finalist to perform was Carolann B and her band who was introduced by UKCR presenter Simon Large.  Carolann is known as "Yorkshire's Very Own - 1st Lady of Country". Carolann is one of the UK's top female country guitar/vocalists with a fan base apparently as far afield as the USA and Australia. Carolann has travelled the length and breadth of the UK performing either as a solo artist or occasionally with her band. During her set she aptly paid tribute to Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong who recently died.

Setlist - "I'll Be Thinking Of You", “Vertical Expression Of Horizontal Desire", “Mr Man On The Moon” (Patty Loveless cover), " Don't Tell Me Your Not In Love" (George Strait Cover)

Listen to Carolann perform "I'll Be Thinking Of You" >>  Audio
How to contact Carolann - Twitter - -

3) Thorne Hill
Next to take the stage was Thorne Hill, who after spending 10 years touring worldwide, decided it was time to plant his feet firmly on British soil and follow his lifelong passion, country Music! He joined one of the UK’s top live country bands ARIZONA STORM in April 2009 leading the band through a set featuring a rich mix of timeless classics and contemporary songs from many of the major US artists.

UKCR’s presenter  Liz Hill introduced Thorne Hill saying he was the “Best voice heard on the British stage for over a decade” He opened with a rousing and tight cover of Lady Antebellum’s smash single “We Owned The Night”. No surprises that he received the biggest reception on the night. His supporters turned out in their droves and they led the dancing too! For me he stole the live UKCR show.
He showcased a new song with a world exclusive "Help Me Find The Strength"(from his forthcoming debut album) It was written by Andrew Kay, check out the official video  

Thorne Hill (Facebook image)

Thorne has teamed up with producer/songwriter Andrew and some of the world's finest session musicians for his debut album which is slated to drop in 2013.
According to his website his debut single and finalist song "Come Undone" hit number 16 in the iTunes Country Charts in its first week.
It is described as a country ballad with an epic sound, telling the tale of a broken hearted man and a love that’s just out of reach. This self-penned song from a few years back has no hidden meaning telling a tale of being in love with someone without that same affection reciprocated.
Thorne Hill
Finalist certificate

Setlist - "We Owned The Night" [Lady Antebellum Cover], "(That's What You Get When You Play A Country Song) “Backwards" [Rascal Flatts cover, written by Marcel, Tony Mullins from album Me and My Gang], Help Me Find The Strength, "Come UnDone".

Listen to Thorne perform:  We Owned The Night  -  Help Me Find The Strength  -   Come UnDone

How to contact Thorne - - Facebook - UK iTunes -

4) Ian Highland and Twilight County

UKCR’s Charlie Brown introduced finalist Ian Highland and Twilight County. Ian has been brought up on country music since the day he was born. His first involvement in the British country music scene was as a roadie to The 'Stewart brothers and First Chapter'. After Kevin, (one of the Stewart Bros) decided to go his own way; Ian tagged along and continued to learn the country music business whilst still working as a roadie. This experience steeled his resolve to one day front his own band.
Formed three years ago in 2009, Ian and his band are now a top name in the British country music scene and their album track 'Carmen' achieved number one in the British and Irish HotDisc charts for two weeks in February 2012 and was Top 5 on the Hotdisc Top 40 Chart.

Ian Highland

 Their set included their album title cut “Pass Me By” (a Johnny Rodriguez song from 1972), “Pride” (originally recorded by Ray Price in 1962), "Don't Close Your Eyes" (written by Bob McDill and recorded by Keith Whitley, a #1 hit from his 1987 album) and finally their nominated song “Carmen" known to country fans as a Gene Watson #32 Billboard classic tune from his 1986 album MEMORIES TO BURN. 

Setlist: “Pass Me By” (If You’re Only Passing Through), "Don't Close Your Eyes", "Pride", Carmen

Listen to Ian Highland and Twilight County perform “Pass Me By” & “Don't Close Your Eyes” >>  Audio

How to contact Ian Highland -

5) Allan Watkiss Interview
Neil Martin

In a recorded interview Neil Martin spoke with Allan about the origins of, what it represents and the stations plans for the future. Allan made a point of saying that cherished UK country artists sit along side American artists on the playlists. 
Allan shares: “I'm convinced if more people were aware about the great music that's out there they would absolutely love it. I do have this thing about the mainstream media shovelling country music under the carpet because it's not trendy for whatever reasons. We want to be a trendy radio station. We want to say that country music is quality, and we want to be get more people to enjoy that and you'll see us doing that through live events that we'll be doing over the next few years"

Listen to Allan Watkiss Interview in Full >>   Audio

6) Rita B
Rita B last year's winner returned to the stage to “entertain” the party crowd with a 15-minute Patsy Cline tribute set. The medley included: “Why Can't He Be You”, “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”, “Love Sick Blues”, “Walking After Midnight” and “Crazy”   Listen to her edited performance  >>  Audio
Fabulous Rita, brilliant stuff that” said Allan Watkiss afterwards

Rita B

Rita brought back the trophy to hand it over. She said she had a brilliant year and thanked the listeners. Then she announced the winner of the Listeners' Club Award 2012 as "Kentucky Whiskey" by Wayne Jacobs. In his absence it was accepted on Wayne's behalf by's Will "Big Dawg" Downie.   Listen to the >>  Audio

7) Carolann B + Band returned to play out the evening performing a medley of songs: “Tonight We Might Just Fall in Love Again (Hal Ketchum), Louisiana Way (George Strait), I Need More Of You (Bellamy Brothers), People are Crazy (Easton Corbin), Memories Are Made Of This (Dean Martin), Silver Wings (Merle Haggard), and her previous UKCR nominated song "Suds In The Bucket" (a Sara Evans cover)
Listen to the edited performance  >>   Audio

8) Finally Ian Highland and Band rounded out the evening with their playout medley throwing in amongst others: “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” (Mavericks), “Don't Rock The Jukebox” (Alan Jackson) and “Farewell Party” (Gene Watson)
Listen to the edited performance   >>   Audio

Congratulations to Wayne Jacobs and all those nominated in the Listeners’ Club Award 2012!
Thanks to Allan Watkiss and to his team of presenters on

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