Savvy souls who know there’s a big difference between country music and western music honored their own Saturday night (March 12) in Fort Worth at the Academy of Western Artists’ 20th annual Will Rogers Awards.
Randy Huston, Jim Jones and Pat Roden were among the top winners at the event, which was held at Texas Christian University. “I feel like I’ve been baptized again,” a teary-eyed Roden shouted as she excitedly picked up her Will Rogers trophy for Pure Country Female Vocalist.
Huston, a rancher/recording artist from Las Vegas, New Mexico took home the prize for Western Music Album. It was the second AWA award for Huston, who won Western Male Vocalist in 2010. “What an honor to receive Album of the Year for ‘Cowboys and Girls’ from the Academy of Western Artists,” Huston told Billboard.
“Of course, my first thought was that I wish my daughter Hannah was here with me, because she was a major contributor to this album. In fact, I would say that without her on the album, we would probably not have received this award. From a father’s point of view, this such a wonderful thing to have happen — to receive an award with your daughter on music we created together in the studio and then have people tell us they like it.”
Jones was all smiles as he accepted the Will Rogers Award in the Western Music Song category for “The Fires of Goliad.” “It was such an honor for me and my co-writer, Bruce Huntington, and I really appreciate it,” Jones told Billboard after the show.
“As a songwriter, you just try to leave your heart and soul on the page and in the music and then you hope it touches people. If you accomplish that, you’ve done your job.”
In addition to honoring the best in Western Music and Western Swing, the AWA also honors other western artists such as boot makers, authors, engravers, saddle makers and spur makers as well as awarding the radio station and disc jockey of the year.
Among the evening’s performers were the duo 2 Country 4 Nashville, Jake Penrod, Myra Rolen and LeeLee Robert.
The following is a complete list of winners:
Radio Station of the Year — Defenders of Freedom Radio
Disc Jockey of the Year — Charles Ramsey
Cowboy Poet of the Year — John Dofflemyer (male), Linda M. Hasselstrom (female)
Elmer Kelton Book Award Non Fiction Book of the Year — “Owen Wister and The West” By Gary Scharnhorst
Engraver of the Year — Rex Crawford
Spur/Bitmaker of the Year — Mark Stewart
Master Leather Artisan of the Year — Kathy Flanagan
Bootmaker of the Year — Paul Krause
Artist of the Year — Steve Devenyns
Saddlemaker of the Year — Marc Brogger
Braider of the Year — Pablo Lozano
Cartoonist of the Year — Anita Klein
Saddlemaker of the Year — Gary Dunshee
Garnet Brooks Chuckwagon of the Year — Arthur Garcia
Pure Country Male Vocalist of the Year — Jake Penrod
Pure Country Female Vocalist of the Year — Pat Roden
Pure CountryDuo/Group of the Year — 2 Country 4 Nashville
Pure Country Album of the Year — Richard Lynch, “A Better Place”
Pure Country Song of the Year — Lonnie Spiker, “Things Only A Fool Would Know”
Western Swing Male Vocalist of the Year — Coby Carter
Western Swing Female Vocalist of the Year — Stacey Lee Guse
Western Swing Duo/Group of the Year — 5 Miles West
Western Swing Album of the Year — Cowboy Joe Babcock, Trail Jazz
Western Swing Song of the Year — Susie Blue/Lonesome Fellas, “Love Is A Lingering Thing”
Instrumentalist of the Year — Tim Atwood
Young Artist of the Year — Hailey Sandoz
Western Music Male Vocalist of the Year — Doug Figgs
Western Music Female Vocalist of the Year — Carol Markstrom
Western Music Duo/Group of the Year — 3 Trails West
Western Music Album of the Year — Randy & Hannah Huston, Cowboys and Girls
Western Music Song of the Year — Jim Jones, “The Fires of Goliad”