The Boom Chucka Boys didn’t walk away with any hardware at the Association of Country Music in Alberta awards in Red Deer on Saturday, but lead guitarist Joel Rathjen isn’t singing the blues.
“Most of the people who won are friends of mine . . . and people who have been slugging away for longer than us,” Rathjen said on Sunday.
Case in point: Bobby Wills. The Calgary singer is a pal and came away with two awards in categories that The Boom Chucka Boys were nominated in — and Rathjen couldn’t be happier for him.
“It was cool that he was recognized for how long he’s been slugging it out and now he’s finally getting some success,” he said.
“We’re not in competition with everybody. We’re doing our thing and we hope for success for other groups.
“I feel like we’re part of a really cool Alberta music community and I think we’re all growing together.”
It’s not that winning wouldn’t have been a bonus, but the group that includes vocalist Ryan Langlois, drummer Dave Grobe and bassist Teddy Roy Michaylow was already feeling pretty good.
“Just being nominated for five (awards) was kind of crazy for us, like we were a little surprised,” said Rathjen.
“I think we’re all grateful where we’re at. Just to be recognized for five awards (when) it’s our first full album we put out really.”
The local band that’s now signed to Gord Bamford’s Cache Entertainment label was nominated for Group of the Year, Fans’ Choice, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and the Rising Star Awards.
A number of other Central Alberta artists were also nominated but did not win, including: Lacombe’s Gord Bamford, Stettler band Domino, The Doll Sisters from the Raven area and Dani-Lynn from Three Hills.
Marcie Hanson, executive director of the Association of Country Music in Alberta, said this is the third year for the Red Deer-based awards show and it has grown steadily.
About 225 took in the dinner, awards show and jam at Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre, up about 50 from last year.
“We hope to grow a little bit each year, and we’re pretty happy right now,” she said on Saturday.
This year, a number of new award categories were added including, single of the year, song of the year, rising star and album of the year.
“We hope to provide a platform where newcomers can make connections and learn from mentors and peers in the industry who have gone before them. Tonight for instance, we have singer-songwriters and musicians from all stages of their career.”
Talent buyers from the Calgary Stampede, Big Valley Jamboree and other country venues were also present, along with country radio representatives.
“It really gives the artists an opportunity to meet these people to talk with them.”