Sunday 28 September 2014

UKCountryRadio Listeners Awards - 7th Party

Last Edited 11th July 2017

UKCountryRadio Listeners Awards - 7th Party

On Saturday September 13, 2014 the internet country station, celebrated their 7th Birthday Party since its launch. Its objective is to aim to promote the best in British country music alongside the big established names in America and their unmissable slogan is  “Playing the hottest country music for the UK”
The celebratory live event took place once again at the Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel at Kegworth near Derby, England DE74 2DF (just off Junction 24 of the M1).
Just four presenters formed the UKCR team in those early days, Allan Watkiss the station head and former BBC Radio Sheffield presenter (CMA International Broadcaster of the Year 2010), Bob Preedy (ex BBC Radio York), Graham L.Hall and James Gordon – all of whom are part of the present day line-up which lists 25 presenters on their website page. Winners & Finalists 2014
Guests were treated to a three-course dinner, celebrating our first seven years of playing the hottest country music for the UK and providing much-needed platforms for UK country music artists to showcase their talents.

The newly-formed Elbow Jake Acoustic Band welcomed guests on their arrival, before the main show was opened in style by six-piece live band Grand Prairie.
UK Country Artist Of The Year finalists Raintown, Gary Quinn, performed live sets, before fellow finalist Thorne Hill filled the dance floor (?) for a final set supported by his band Arizona Storm.
The show, broadcast live on the Internet was hosted by's CEO and former 2010 CMA International Broadcaster of the Year Allan Watkiss who said, "This really has been our best Birthday Party yet and we are already working on plans to make our Eighth Birthday Party in 2015 even better” Listeners' Club Song Award 2014

The Finalists originally announced in a special programme on Sunday 8th June, were:
  • #1 Interactive Murcia “A Woman's Way”
  • #2 Kelly Michelle “Losing You”
  • #3 Lucy Zirins “The Last One”
  • #4 Suzanna Shore “Sunflower Lady”
  • #5 Wayne Jacobs “In Cold Blood” Tom Manche (written by Wayne Jacobs) * WINNER *

You can read about and listen to the music of each of the finalists + download  the winning song in this Blog Post
Each party-goer who attended had the opportunity to vote for the 5 short listed Song of the Year finalists, and their votes were added to those received for each song in the first round of online voting held earlier in 2014.
Each finalist performed their nominated song and then received a certificate to mark their achievement.

Wayne Jacobs was the winner of’s Listeners' Club Song Award 2014 for his song "In Cold Blood".
Wayne Jacobs
Song of the Year Winner 2014
The song, one of dozens of original songs written by the London-based writer, tells the true story of a homeless man, shot dead on the streets of Nashville. Receiving the Award for the third year running, Wayne said, "I'm really touched. I can't believe it. I wrote the song 'In Cold Blood' about a homeless man. It's a sad song. I just sang it from the heart and had it produced in Nashville and I'm just over the moon".

Jacobs previously won in 2012 and 2013 for his songs "Kentucky Whiskey" and "I Want My Daddy".
He is a 53-year-old civil servant and an Erith Greater London DA8 1QE resident who lives in Riverdale Road (House prices £227,937) Will this success lead to mansion tax stardom? Artist of the Year 2014

This brand new Award was quite simply, for the best UK Country Artist. It was open to solo artists, duos and bands.
It was up to the listeners to tell who they thought deserved the award whom had demonstrated an outstanding achievement over the past year. It could have been a great album they have released, a great tour they've undertaken, a TV appearance, a show, anything really that's made them stand out from the crowd.
Factors to consider included:
  • New album releases
  • Outstanding performance
  • Other achievements counted up the votes for online nominations which were open to all  (received between January and May 2014)
There was a tie for the nominations so there were eleven not ten finalists
These 11 Finalists were then meant to go through to a VOTE by presenters and subscribers (who were subscribed prior to the voting process in January 2014): 

Artist Finalist #1: Annie Marks ("Coming Home")
Artist Finalist #2: Chris Green Project ("Little Bit of Texas")
Artist Finalist #3: Gary Quinn ("He Don't Show Her Anymore")
Artist Finalist #4: Kelly Michelle ("Your Good Girls, Gonna Go Bad")
Artist Finalist #5: Raintown ("Picture Of Us") * WINNER *
Artist Finalist #6: Red Dirt Skinners ("Idaho Blues")
Artist Finalist #7: Redhillbillies ("Wagon Wheel")
Artist Finalist #8: Suzanna Shore ("Have You Ever")
Artist Finalist #9: Thorne Hill ("Help Me Find The Strength")
Artist Finalist #10: Ward Thomas ("Footnotes" (Happy Ending))
Artist Finalist #11: Wayne Jacobs ("I Want My Daddy")

Contemporary Country Glaswegian country music two-piece Raintown who comprise Paul Bain 35 (?) year old (Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife) and 28 year old Claire McArthur (born in Glasgow May 2, 1986) “good friends” of over the years were announced the WINNERS of this inaugural ceremony. The pair made their concert at Oran Mor in Scotland on 23rd Feb 2013 a double celebration when Paul asked Claire to marry him and she said YES. They will be wed on Wednesday 23rd Sept 2014. Independent Artists: Paul & Claire who live in Scotland’s "YES" city have met SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond in Espark in Glasgow in April 2012 and had a good chat about music!
Receiving the Artist of the Year award, Claire said "We're so happy to have won. To have just been nominated in the category with all those great artists was great. To have won, we're just delighted. And we're shocked as well".
It was highly likely that Raintown were told a few weeks earlier that they had a very good chance of winning when invited to make the long trip down from Scotland to perform on the night.
Currently being played every 28 minutes past the hour on Allan Watkiss and his fellow presenters continue to champion Raintown!
Click HERE to listen to UKCountryRadiocom’s Raintown Artist Of The Year Sound bite

Raintown describing themselves stated: “fast gaining the reputation as one of the hottest Country acts in Europe”! and “Wet Wet Wet had all agreed that Raintown were the real deal as far as music was concerned”.
On their website Raintown have cited influences: Pink, Brad Paisley, Christina Aguilera, Take That, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts.

How did it all begin? Claire McArthur: “We started working together and writing some songs
Gran Canaria
together and realised there was a natural chemistry between us and our writing” Eventually they met up and went to Gran Canaria to work in the sunshine for six months. That was where Raintown was formed lying in the sunshine on a lovely sun lounger. (See Picture)  Paul Bain : “We both had a background of real loving country music. American country contemporary music, That was the thing that was really driving the writing. We actually met with a guy (Gunther Mende or Candy DeRouge) who wrote ‘The Power Of Love’Jennifer Rush’s and Celine Dion big hit. All the songs that we like are very story based and conversational in style. There was a natural chemistry in the writing that lead us to do a duet. With that Raintown was born and we decided to come home and pursue that properly

Raintown originally started out under the name of "OMNI" as a pop act making a living at
Wedding POP Band OMNI pre Raintown days
weekends. They covered songs such as "It Takes Two", “Suspicious Minds” and "Warwick Avenue”, their MySpage page was deleted in 2014. Omni were in fact a Wedding Band for Hire as a male/female singing duo that according to this Neil Drover Agency pageestablished a strong reputation for delivering high quality singing and a great night’s entertainment. Over the past 5 years they have performed across the whole spectrum of live entertainment venues, including, residencies both home and abroad, hotels, holiday parks, social clubs, and bars. Their sets are always tailored to the specific requirements of the client. With an extensive library of backing tracks they can cover genres from the Swing era right through the decades to the current chart”.
Listen to tracks by OMNI:

According to their Facebook page the Cumbernauld duo comprise vocalists Paul and Claire they do not credit the musicians who have made them look better though they have acknowledged them with this statement - “We could not do it without our incredible band” . They have drafted in players to support them in both acoustic and full band guises. Fiona Cuthill (photo) and Stevie Lawrence are a fiddle and guitar/bouzouki duo from Glasgow and members of Scottish based band “Rallion”. Lawrence was initially involved in rock bands from schooldays and was active in the Glasgow pub rock scene before turning to acoustic and roots music in the early eighties.
Raintown - Full Band Shot - Belladrum Festival2014

Stevie Kane who hails from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire plays bass and Glasgow based Conor Smith plays lead guitar (Country, Jazz, Blues, Pop) along with drummer Stevie Patrick. 
Paul Bain’s brother Scott Macpherson from Nairn an ancient fishing port and market town around 16 miles east of Inverness also steps in to help out.

Allan Watkiss has written: “Raintown are just what the UK country scene needs. They are one of the few UK artists whose music can be played seamlessly alongside the big Nashville-produced country hits of today.” Allan also dubbed them as the “UK’s answer to Lady Antebellum”

The duo over the years have been championed by’s Simon Large & Will Downie, Steve Cherelle (BBC Radio Essex, BCMAward compere), Stewart Fenwick (Celtic Music Radio), Graham Dryburgh (East Coast FM Community Radio Station in East Lothian) and Emily Saxton (Maverick Magazine).
Due to social media fan voting a few years back they won two awards at the much criticized and now defunct Scottish New Music Awards, including Record of the Year (Traditional Folk) and the duo have also embraced a bluegrass and “Country/Americana” stance. In a BBC Radio Essex interview in March 2014 they were asked: Would you say you’re a country or folk act, what would you describe yourself as Paul? Paul Bain: I think we’re proudly a CONTEMPOARY COUNTRY act that’s what we are. We got some great advice early on in Nashville from a record company CLEARLY mark your door who you are and stand up and be proud about it and that’s what we’ve done from the start.

So what exactly have Raintown achieved in the last year?
  • In November 2013 the much hyped duo were winners of the 2013 British Country Music Awards (BCMAwards) Duo of the Year at their first attempt nominated by and voted by a self appointed “select” panel.  “I was told to look out for an amazing duo in Scotland called Raintown. A few tracks were sent down and I was hooked on their original sound. We have since met and I find them two of the most professional young musicians with the right attitude that is going to give the UK their own hit Country/Americana act in the very near future. ” said panellist Lee Williams, CEO of CMR Nashville (CMA International Broadcaster Award 2013)
  • Raintown headlined a much advertised Grand Union Promotions Songwriter’s Evening on Sunday 10th November 2013 at Bush Hall in London playing to a crowd of 160 people which also showcased 3 other British country music singer/songwriters with their good friends Gary Quinn, Jeannine Barry and Hannah Jane Lewis.
  • On 13th March 2014 they headlined a London gig “Country Collective At Canary Wharf” (East Wintergarden, 43 Bank Street) again with Hannah Jane Lewis and Gary Quinn. In their Blurb Raintown write: Country Collective introduces its main act, Raintown, with its strong country vocals and its hearty country band.  Paul and Claire, both from Glasgow, are the hottest new duo to the Country/Americana scene in the UK and performed at the inaugural Country2Country Festival in London with headliners Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood. NO they did not share the same stage as superstars but played the sidelined busking/ Pop Up Stages at the O2 Complex back in March 2013
  • In March for the second year running they were invited to and played at the Country To Country (C2C) Radio 2 sponsored Country Music Festival. As one of 30 Pop Up Stage artists Raintown played the busking-like stages on the O2 Shop Stage, The Town Square Stage and the much bigger Brooklyn Bowl Stage (1000 capacity) within the O2 complex to a captive audience at the drinking and eating hole.  Watch Raintown performing “Right Here With Me” >> YouTube and a cover of the Johnny Cash hit classic >>  “Jackson (penned by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber) on The Brooklyn Bowl Stage. Is this Artist of the Year quality?
  • Votes Pour In For Raintown - They snagged the Best New Scottish Band or Solo Artist Trophy at The Scottish Variety Awards organised by KJM Events which returned to Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza on Saturday 22nd March 2014. "Previous winners have all gone on to forge successful careers" Allegedly “Celebrating the best in Scottish Variety” during an evening of glitz and glam, the event was hosted by 105-106 Capital FM Breakfast presenters Des & Jennie.  Past performers have included singing sensations Susan Boyle, Sandi Thom, Paolo Nutini and Nina Nesbitt. The winner of this and the other categories in the 2014 Scottish Variety Awards was decided by public votes online at Once again used the power on social media on Facebook and Twitter to encourage their 16,000+ Facebook and 5K Twitter fan base to blindly vote and they responded.
  • They played at the Northern Nashville Caithness Country Music Festival (NNCCMF) during the weekend from 18th to 20th April 2014 at the Halkirk Riding Centre.
  • Raintown performed as a full band on Friday 7th March 2014 as part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival at The Black Box - Read the “Multi award winners” and history making blurb and event info here
  • They played selective tour dates in Canada in late June, early July including playing a July 1st Canada Day Festival. Check out some of their Canada Stages and crowds – ImageImage  (Stevie Lawrence credited for making the tour happen)
  • They performed their signature song 'Picture of Us' and 'If This Was a Love Song' with a >> quick interview Live on STV Glasgow's "The Riverside Show" Paul Bain: "It's definitely a growing format and this time next year you could see a real explosion"
  • Interviews: They were interviewed by Steve Cherelle on BBC Radio Essex on his Sunday show (March 9, 2014) who dedicated a large chunk on his first hour inviting Claire and Paul to join him to talk about their music, awards and goals for the future. Steve asked: Is this your full time work Claire, music, singing and song writing, is this ALL that you do? Claire McArthur: We get to play and write songs for a living. We’re touring all the time, we’re really busy, we’re really lucky, we’re really fortunate to be travelling around with a great band behind us as well. There are seven of us that get out on the road and we love what we do. Trying to get a band of that size together is difficult and the logistics of it all, so does it pay OK, are you making a living from this? Paul Bain: What it is we view everything as an investment for the future. So every time we do a gig and an opportunity we get to play in front of people our country music and original country music then its always worth doing so. Its about investment and re-investment and we just try and keep going. With what aim, what is the ultimate goal of this would you say? Our goal is constantly to increase our standards and increase what we’re doing and try and represent British Country music as the very best we can. We want to play on the International Stage. We make no bones about it. Our goal, I’m looking in our office here at our goal chart and the top goal is to represent and win a CMA Award. Of the UK? Paul Bain: CMA fest thing in Nashville Tennessee! presenter Alan Perkins caught up with them in his C2C 2014 Review (March 30, 2014) he asked the question You’re on the UP, where would you like to be in the next 5 years? Claire: Playing on the International stage representing the UK. Paul We're always about improving things, We want to win Country Music Association (CMA Awards).
Click HERE to listen to this very ambitious remark

Raintown signed a management deal with Peter Conway Management in August 2014 CEO Allan Watkiss met up with Raintown to present them with their engraved UK Artist of the Year award. After winning their many 2014 awards in Allan’s interview broadcast over the Christmas 2014 period he asked Raintown: 
You are hoping that Peter will take you where you want to go, where do you want to go”
Paul Bain responded ”We want to be at the very top, we want to represent UK Country music on the International scene. We do want to be playing in Nashville at CMA Fest in LP Field, we want to be out on tours in Europe, we want to go to Australia and touring” and slightly retreating on their ambitions said “we want to be at least in consideration for CMA Awards”. 
Listen here (first broadcast on on Dec 26, 2014):

  • In May 2014 they were UC UP Country magazine’s featured front cover artist for the month. Raintown wrote: “We are honoured to be the first UK Duo to appear on the publication's front Cover and would like to thank them for that” The Cover Image shows them holding a shiny National Guitar though they haven’t ever played it OR any instrument to a live audience in the 5 years since they were formed.
  • In July 2014 they played at the Southern Fried Festival in Perth.
  • In August 2014 they made their first trip to Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival.
  • They have grown their Facebook likes to over 16,500 followers.
So were all of the above worthy of Raintown's win for Artist of the Year?
As far as their loyal army of fans it most definitely is and they can do no wrong drawing comments such as “Congratulation, well deserved”, “Richly deserved”, “Awesome well done”, “well done you deserve it your both hard working and great couple”
and “Biggest smile on my face waking up to this news”!!
Ken Meakin (centre) with
Wayne Jacobs (R)

Stourbridge based  Ken Meakin who attended 7th Birthday posted “they got my vote”. Mr. Meakin “the UK’s answer to Scott Brochetta” (CEO Big Machine Records) is the active social media correspondent for many Brit country acts Wayne Jacobs, Janey Kirk, Emma Jane and has previously but no longer worked for Sarah Lucy Dole and Donna Wylde. He shared with BBC Radio Shropshire listeners that he uniquely discovered country music via Shania Twain and The Dixie Chicks.

It is remarkable that UK country duo The Shires did not even figure in Artist of the Year finalist top eleven even though in 2014 they were signed by Decca Records and secured a contract with American based record label Universal Music Group Nashville thus becoming the first notable UK country act to be signed to a major Nashville label (In the late 60s, as Stuart Stevens, he made his first recordings for EMI Records and signed by Cliffie Stone to the US Granite label in 1974 and Poacher the 70s UK first single, ‘Darling’, made number 86 in the US country charts). The Shires have also had a #1 UK iTunes country single,  2 country singles playlisted by BBC Radio 2 and played live sessions on Wogan and Bob Harris Country, played live on ITV’s Saturday morning Aled Jones hosed show are just to name a few of their highlights. Likewise Independent unsigned duo Ward Thomas (who we nominated when it looked they were being overlooked with no airplay on have also mirrored The Shires BBC Radio 2 success and more (BBC Breakfast) having performed and made radio tour stops in America recorded a Nashville album and charted for 5 weeks on the Official UK Top 100 chart (selling some 6,000 copies at retail) and have been #1 or #2 for seven weeks on the Official UK Top Country album chart. Recently they headlined the BBC Introducing Stage in Hyde Park playing to a crowd of over 30,000. All this it seems counts for nothing with the presenter panel and as a long term subscriber to the newsletter I was given no means to vote for a Finalist. These questions were asked to the station and so far no response!  Where is the transparency?   

“On My Way” to CMA Glory?
In Raintown’s two 2014 unchallenged interviews mentioned above they crave to win CMA Awards. They have made no mention of moving to America in order to achieve this. They were unsurprisingly NOT included in the 1st round ballot CMA nominations this year. There is ZERO change of receiving industry noms as an act in their own right without being on a American label, having distribution in America, and charting on either the Billboard album, airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. As Inde songwriters of a hit record CMA nominations are however achievable. Staying in their homeland of Scotland is not going to achieve ANY breakthrough..
Non Americans have however won CMA Awards.  
If the CAP fits wear it! What is it with Duos wearing caps? 
Will Raintown’s Paul Bain (R) follow in the footsteps of Lady A’s 
Charles Kelley (L) and Thompson’s Square Keifer Thompson 
in winning CMA Awards  and follow the path of O’Shea’s Mark O'Shea 
moving to Music City in search of fame!

Two artists outside of America to achieve this are Canada’s Shania Twain (named the 1999 Entertainer of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association) and New Zealand born Keith Urban (CMA 2005 Male Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year and International Artist of the Year)
Shania (meaning "on my way") assembled a demo tape of her songs and her Huntsville manager set up a showcase to present her material to record executives. She caught the attention of a few labels, including Mercury Nashville Records, who signed her within a few months. Her first album failed to sell significant copies initially then she teamed up with ex hubby producer Mutt Lange and her second studio album, The Woman in Me were stunned record executives, it was unlike anything else in country music. Shania Twain did meet industry opposition when her song Whose Beds Have Your Boots Been Under? was banned by US country-music radio stations. Twain took the song on a tour of shopping malls, drew huge crowds and sold 12 million copies.
The song became Twain's first hit at country radio, peaking at number 11 and radio stations began putting the song into high rotation after they noticed high amounts of the album selling!
In 1991, Keith Urban released a self-titled debut album, and charted four singles in Australia before moving to the United States in 1992. Eventually, he found work as a session guitarist before starting a band known as The Ranch. “He is a hard working guy, that band played everywhere and that he deserves to be where he is” said Cyril Rawson the writer of Keith’s last single ‘Just Some Love’ from The Ranch album before he started his solo career.

Opportunists/ Suspicious Minds: Raintown seeing the success that >> Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now”) and Taylor Swift were having in the UK as pop crossover acts with remixed singles they morphed into OMNI COUNTRY (EmKay Entetainments)
It is thought that they saw an opportunity as a “country act” naming themselves after the Deacon Blue album titled “Raintown”. Their bio described their sound: “Fusing the infectious elements of great pop songs with the roots based instrumentation and a conversational writing style of Contemporary American Country music”
In November 2010 they released their mostly pop leaning debut album HOPE IN TROUBLED TIMES. The album was produced and all the tracks were co-written by Greg Friel of Frielance Music who has become a somewhat invisible “third spoke” concerning Raintown.
Apart from a POP Christmas single Raintown have released NO new music since late 2010 and have promoted 2 singles across Europe. Their first Hotdisc single ‘Just One Kiss’ (Image) peaked at #3 on the British & Irish Chart and # 11 on the Hotdisc Top 40 . Their second single ‘Picture Of Us’ secured a #3 position on British & Irish Chart and #13 on the main HOTDISC Top 40 Chart - Feb 2011 chart
In fact by us requesting their single “Picture Of Us” to several radio stations resulted in what may have been their first ever local BBC radio spin by Allan Watkiss on his then BBC Radio Sheffield “Your Country” programme on 24th July 2011 when he said: “Paul Bain and Claire McArthur they’re a great young Scottish duo, I think they are our answer to Lady Antebellum, they’re superb”. A few weeks later on 7 August 2011 listener Simon Large, now a weekend presenter (“the walking Encyclopaedia from Doncaster”) emailed in endorsing the comment with:“ The UK’s answer to Lady Antebellum”. Three other local BBC country shows also played their music in 2011/2012 and Glasgow based radio station Celtic Music Radio who surprising had never heard of them and also came on board.

To our knowledge Raintown have had just two spins on BBC Radio Scotland the first was on the Iain Anderson's show on Aug 10, 2010 when “Just One Kiss” was played when they rubbed shoulders on the playlist appropriately with Lady Antebellum's "Run To You" who they cited as an influence – See BBC Page

** BUY ** Raintown - Hope In Troubled Times - Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,935 in MP3 Albums.

In 5 years they have NOT had any airplay on BBC Radio 2 despite their fans who continuously pester presenter Bob Harris on Twitter to play them. In all honesty HOPE IN TROUBLED TIMES just has the one stand-out track “Picture of Us” and a slightly celtic-flavoured “Just One Kiss” the rest of the material is fairly average and not really recognizable as what many would associate “country”., have, and continue to play these two songs to death which begs the question: Can you burn laser groves into a CD or wear out an MP3?!  

The fact that the overall album is not of a high enough standard and that as a duo they do not play instruments without the help of others hardly makes them ideal Radio 2 candidates.

>> Stream/ Download << their 2010 single “Just One Kiss” (Radio Edit) a perfect track for Valentines!

>> Listen to their songs on SPOTIFY Raintown – Hope In Troubled Times - Available MUSIC: Amazon UK

As far as Raintown winning CMA Awards? Well this year has been something as the year of the duo with many new young acts bursting onto the scene in America and UK country acts The Shires, Ward Thomas and Salisbury pop/country duo Millers Daughter breaking through and racing ahead of Raintown with BBC Radio 2 endorsements and “A” and “B” list play-listing to the largest UK radio audience. In Europe The Common Linnets released easily one of the best albums in 2014 in any genre finishing runners up in Eurovision and selling large numbers at retail.   

So How Have Raintown Progressed?
Phil McLoughlin bigging up Raintown on Showcase TV on his Phil Mack International Country Show, compared them to multi award winning CMA duo and Platinum selling artists when he said “I would put Paul and Claire, Raintown on a par with Sugarland. They are absolutely brilliant and an absolute credit to Scotland. They can mix it with the best; Nashville eat your heart out.” 
However the nearest they have come to the Hit PARADE is this

The pretty Claire is by far the better singer of the two whilst Paul Bain’s vocal seem to have improved very little to my ears in 4 years, having little appeal and are very hard to engage with. With the addition of a full band they have certainly added a new energy to their live show. Paul has upped his onto stage “pumping” and “air guitar” antics as can be seen in these 2014 videos of their cover of Keith Urban’s >> “Love Somebody Like You” in their prestigious Country Collective headline at the Canary Wharf Wintergarden (joined by BCMAward winners Gary Quinn, Luke &Thomas and Hannah Jane Lewis) and performing >> “Ship of Fools” in Belfast.

I would liken Raintown to a countrified version of late 1970s and 1980s version pop vocal duo Dollar (David Van Day and Canadian-born Thereza Bazar) with Paul having a country twist on a Paul Nicholas-type 80s showbiz style. Despite all the hype and endorsements elsewhere on Radio and other UK country websites at this stage it real does feel like cabaret / Cruise Ship entertainment quality.
Their sophomore album was to be released in 2014 but has been put back to 2015. Perhaps they can come up with something special after 5 years and really “Light The Fuse Up” on the British & International scene. Better UK acts have come and gone into the UK country ozone, maybe Raintown can prove us wrong?

To conclude I think and their long time subscribers (If anyone DID get to vote?) have got this first Artist of the Year award wrong and it is an insult to others who really have achieved something special on the UK scene the likes of which I haven’t seen in following country music since 1993. 7th Birthday Party Live Event (Review)

The team at said: “a big thank you to all 11 acts that have performed this evening: The Elbow Jake Band, Grand Prairie, Raintown, Interactive - Band in Murcia, Kelly Michelle Country Tribute, Lucy Zirins , Suzanna Shore, Wayne Jacobs, The Band with No Name (Allan Wattkiss & Richard Freeman), Gary Quinn, Thorne Hill and Arizona Storm. Performers 2014

Grand Prairie a Country/ Rock/ Blues band who had just returned from the USA (where they performed with Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogarty) kicked off the main event Live event. The band consist Jenny Ormonde (Vocals, harmonica, flute and accordion),  Rob Wilson (Vocals and bass), Howard Tibble (Drums). See more at: Grand

Here we share the AUDIO highlights of the evening and describe each segment as it unfolded.

Segment ONE (28:41): 
Artist of the Year nominees Raintown (Paul Bain and Claire) joined by two fellow musicians Stevie Lawrence (acoustic guitar) and Scott Macpherson (bass) were next up to perform an acoustic set. They performed three tracks from their “current” (2010) album along with a Keith Urban cover and a couple of new songs put into their 2014 sets. They are still working on new music and they promised a new album would be “available in 2015”. Some of the patter had been heard before when describing the songs a few years ago at the same event. The guitar playing at times was frantic, especially on Somebody Like You, why such a fast pace?  
Setlist: This One’s A Love Song, I Won’t Dance Alone, Somebody Like You (Keith Urban cover), Writing On The Wall, Picture Of Us, Love’s Got A Hold Of You/ Jackson

Segment TWO (23:12): presenter Martyn Williams (Afternoons Mon - Weds from 1pm) speaks with three of the 5 Listeners' Club Song Award nominees:
a) Lucy Zirins talks about her song writing, her nominated song and performs a version of Brandi Carlile’s "That Wasn't Me" from her 2012 album BEAR REEK b) Suzanna Shaw talks song writing and performs a cover of Patsy Cline’s song from 1961 “There He Goes”  c) Wayne Jacobs talks about his inspirations for penning songs and reveals that the BBC emailed and phoned him when The Voice UK were looking for country singers!  Wayne the reigning champ for the last 2 years failed to get through to part B on the auditions out of apparently 1000’s. Jacobs workin’ his way up the country ladder has taken voice lessons and is getting the “American twang right now” in order to match the lyrics and please his American friends. Wayne performs his BBC audition song "Bless the Broken Road" is a song co-written by Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd and Jeff Hanna recorded by Rascal Flatts although the best version was cut by Melodie Crittenden. Wayne said the song brings out his “Buddy Holly range”
Put yourself in The Voice production team chair and see why they didn’t put him through. 
Click below to listen how Wayne Jacobs would have sounded at his Voice UK audition!

Segment THREE (7:01)
Will "Big Dawg" Downie (UKCR Webpage ) the presenter on the Interactive show (Saturday 6pm for including half an hour of Hardcore Country) introduced the first Listeners' Club Song nominee Interactive Murcia based in Southern Spain. Geraldine Pointing (photo with her daughters) was there to represent the band (who also comprise Ann Stevens and Colin Stevens) to perform song #1 A Woman's Way” using backing tracks.

Segment FOUR (3:54): 
Richard Edeson (UKCR Webpage ) the presenter (Mon, Tues and Weds from 1pm and Weekend Showcase 12- 2pm, Late Night Love Affair every Sunday night from 10pm) introduced the second Listeners' Club Song nominee Kelly Michelle to perform song #2 “Losing You” with the help of a backing track.

Segment FIVE (6:06): 
Graham Rodgers (UKCR Webpage) the presenter for The Songwriters' Hour (fourth Tuesday of every month at 8pm) introduced the second Listeners' Club Song nominee when the likely and down to earth Northern lass Lucy Zirins playing acoustic guitar  performed song #3 “The Last One

Segment SIX (6:13): 
The “Rockin’ Rebel” Graham L.Hall (UKCR Webpage) the presenter for Country Spirit: Real people making Real music played with Real feeling" (Sat 8pm and Sunday 5pm) introduced the fourth Listeners' Club Song nominee Suzanna Shore to perform song #4 “Sunflower Lady” with the help of a backing track.

Segment SEVEN (5:26): 
Nutty Norah (UKCR Webpage) the presenter Friday night late and Thursday afternoon show presenter  
introduced the fifth Listeners' Club Song nominee Wayne Jacobs to perform song #5 “In Cold Blood” which he wrote but was recorded by Tom Manche on the single itself.
Segment EIGHT (11:51): 
Rob Wilson Grand Prairie member introduced The Band With No Name. This evening was meant to launch an exciting brand new acoustic trio fronted by popular UK country music artist Paul Martin. However due to an illness in the family Paul was unable to attend. The other members, season guitarist Richard Freemand and's very own CEO Allan Watkiss on keyboards carried on. At times it brought to mind being in the audience at Mr Boos in Scarborough and The Little Voice film. 
Setlist: No More Cloudy Days (Eagles/ Glenn Frey cover), Missouri (David Nail), Longer Than (Dan Fogelberg cover), "I Don't Want to Put a Hold On You" (A cover of Opportunity Knocks winner Berni Flint’s #3 UK Singles Chart), Raining In My Heart (Buddy Holly cover), Bless The Broken Road (Racal Flatts)

Segment NINE (5:35):
The presentation for Listeners' Club Song Award 2014. The winner for the last 2 years Wayne Jacobs was called up to announce the award and it’s his third in a row! He thought he’d said goodbye to said trophy when he was up on his roof drinking coffee holding it pointing his chimney like you do. 
>> Listen to the original recording on  soundcloud

Segment TEN (5:35):
Allan Watkiss welcomed Northern Ireland singer songwriter and Wigan, Lancashire based Gary Quinn a Artist of the Year 2014 nominee. The “Mighty” Quinn” has been described by Allan as “one of the hardest working UK artists”  and that he is "One of the UK's Fastest rising country stars".

SUPPORT UK Country Music
Gary talks about the stories behind his songs performing tracks from his self titled successfully crowd funded Pledge Music album. The album released back in October 2013 has received critical acclaim but has had lukewarm response at the online retail websites rarely troubling the UK iTunes Top 1500 Album chart but with a massive airplay push the last month by playing "On Your Way Out" it has seen movement on Amazon UK with a Bestsellers Rank of #88,172  to #42,933 in MP3 Albums. Perhaps Quinn sells bucket loads at this live gigs? In his set we discover if Gary is a LEG, BUM, or BOOB man with one his cheeky tunes!  
Setlist: "I Forgot About You", "Dodge Your Bullet", "On Your Way Out", "He Don't Show Her Anymore" (British Country Music Awards 2013 Song Of The Year:)

Segment ELEVEN (6:24):
It’s the BIG REVEAL time who has won’s UK Country Artist of the Year for 2014?
Allan Watkiss (L) & Justin Johnson
announce the winner
Special guest Justin Johnson producer/ drummer, a native of the Pacific Northwest in America ( who just happens to be producing RAINTOWN’s new album at Parr Street Studios (Coldplay, John Mayer) in Liverpool, was by sheer coincidence on hand to present the award! 
And the winner, to cheers, are the mighty Glasgow duo RAINTOWN! 
It’s about progressing, its about being persistence. Our goal is to constantly improve (blah blah). We’re working with Peter Conway down in London. Our goal is to continue to grow, to try and take our version of country, keep it moving and do our very best to represent and UKCountryRadio and UK Country out there and try and do our best” said Raintown’s Paul Bain.

Yes there was a “massive” industry announcement on the night as Raintown have signed a management deal with Peter Conway Management who been operational since the year 2000. Founded by the owner and Managing Director Peter Conway, Peter Conway Management (158 Westcombe Hill, Blackheath, London SE3 7DH UK; Facebook Page - peterconwaymanagement ) has gone from strength to strength over the last decade, establishing itself as a leader in the Music Management and Promotion industry. From the website: Peter Conway Management manages, promotes and provides bespoke consultancy services to musicians, venues, festivals and corporate clients alike. Based in South East London the company has a global presence which is underpinned by an honest, reliable and sustainable approach to business and working relationships. Its dedication to providing the very best quality service has supported the growth of the business even during difficult economic times.
Earlier in the evening full time musicians Raintown who do music for a living, revealed after IMPORTANT meetings there will be big news for early 2015 with plans to go to travel to Australia and Canada! Could this be a big stride to winning the CMA Awards they seek! Watch this space!

We hope Claire and Paul had a very happy Wedding Day and best wishes for a happy life together as Mr & Mrs Bain.

Segment TWELVE (6:29):
Thorne Hill & Arizona Storm play to a
packed Derby dancefloor
Allan Watkiss welcomed Thorne Hill & Arizona Storm to the stage for the nights finale.
In what might well be Thorne’s last performance with the band. In a bid to go out with a bang and fill the party dance floor  they threw in some well known songs by US acts and a few originals. Hill’s music received extensive airplay by the station in the lead up to the awards night.
Setlist included: "Gone Country" (Alan Jakson), "Watching You" (Rodney Atkins), "Chattahoochee" (Alan Jakson),

>> Listen to ALL 7th Birthday Party highlights and 12 live performance segments listed using the drop down scroll bar on the right-hand side of the music player.

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Bain Check
UKCountryRadiocom CEO Allan Watkiss anxiously awaits the arrival of Artist Of The Year nominees RAINTOWN and hopes their cheque has cleared at the Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel reception!

Thorne Hill promoter Sue Bell (centre) with friends

Ken Meakin and his wife Julie (the first of the UKCR party goers to hit the dancefloor) looked pleased with Wayne Jacobs win! The Stourbridge pair celebrated their 12th wedding Anniversary this year. So a double celebration!