NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) - Dozens of country music artists and fans from across the Carolinas packed the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach Saturday night for the 2nd annual Carolina Country Music Awards.
Up for grabs were best male artist, best female artist, single of the year, best duo of the year, best guitarist and so much more. Entertainer of the year was Ryan Trotti, the only award announced before the awards.
From the soft tones of the acoustic guitar to the rhythmic sounds of country rock, the 20 nominees also got a chance to hit the main stage and perform their song. Christi Andrulonis, better known as Sweet Tea , director and co-host of the awards, said the show is a way to give local artists exposure.
“It gets them used to and ready for a red carpet experience, it gets them ready for interviews um it really showcases artists that traditionally wouldn’t get an opportunity to knock on a producers door step or record labels door step and say listen to my demo,” she said.
“We went from playing in smoky bars for beer money to doing this so it’s pretty cool,” Kevin Nichols said.
Show opener and Myrtle Beach local, Kevin Nichols, said his passion for music runs in his family, taking after his grandfather and father.
“Picked up an acoustic and just started getting percussive acoustic and my dad taught some cords and I rolled with it,” he said. Nichols was nominated for two categories: best make artist of the year and single of the year, which he won for his hit song “Swerve”.
He said the song was written by some friends of his in Nashville.
“It hit home and it was right up my alley so we gave it a shot and it turned out great,” he said.
Also taking home a mason jar of sweet tea trophy was Patrick, South Carolina native, Doug McCormick.
“To be recognized in the place where I grew up and place that shaped my music, it’s just something that’s hard to articulate… my hearts still beating,” McCormick said.
McCormick won album of the year for his album “Sweet Dixie Memory”, a collection of songs that give people a glimpse into his life.
“In a nut shell this record is me so I tell people if they want to know who I am, what I am about. Y’all listen to the Sweet Dixie Memory,” McCormick said.
But the show is more than just melodies and rocking out, it also recognizes artists who give back like Marlisa Small from Little River, a 4 stage cancer survivor who gives free wigs to others dealing with the disease.
“That’s the first thing people see, you know, you can cover up your body before people see you and we just make them look like they did before cancer,” Small said.
20 different artists all with different life stories to tell and awards like this to make that possible.
“That’s all you want as an artists, you create music so that people can hear and uh this just helps us take it to the people,” McCormick said.
The awards show is put on by 93.9 Carolina Country. The performers and nominees Saturday night were artists the radio station aired in their 2018 Carolina Artist Showdown.