Ranking This Year’s Ameripolitan Music Award Nominees, Honky Tonk Male

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

This is the seventh of 12 installments reviewing nominees in each category of Dale Watson’s 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards. Voting is now over for this year’s batch of nominees but we will carry on with the review until the event on February 15, 2017 with a look today at this year’s Honky Tonk Male nominees. 

amer-7-a-penrodAlthough Jake Penrod is a relative newcomer, he has made quite an impact already. Having emerged on the scene in 2009 with two Hank Williams tribute albums, Jake has proven he is the genuine article. He is constantly playing gigs around Texas, honing his skills. This is his fourth year being in the Ameripolitan Honky Tonk Male Category.


The smoothest of voices that rival the masters. Artie Rodriguez is a Florida native, and is a natural in the Honky Tonk Male category. His ballads are what country music should be. He would make his influences, mainly Jones and Haggard proud. In 2000, Artie was selected out of 1,800 applicants to play at the 50th anniversary Korean War Commemorative Ceremony in Washington, DC.


Luke Bell has found his calling as a honky tonk performer. By his own admission, he was never really enamoured by school. He did attend the University of Wyoming for a bit, but realized that music was where he needed to be. He is currently living in Nashville where he is building on his craft. His music seems to be a cross of Buck Owens and old time rock n’ roll.


Jason James released his self titled debut in August of 2015. That collection contains 13 songs of pure country bliss. Very reminiscent of Buck Owens with plenty of twang. His sound is true to the glory days of country music. James embarks on a European tour starting in May 2017.

Amer 7 (e) Hedley.jpg

If there is a way to win my favor, it is to do a flawless cover of Dead Flowers. Joshua Hedley has nailed it. One of the best Dead Flowers covers I have ever heard. He has an EP he put out in 2011 entitled Green Eyes, but he is still unsigned. He will definitely be a heavy hitter in country music for years to come.

So there you have the Honky Tonk Male category run down. All of these fellas are legitimate singers and performers and will surely leave a long and lasting legacy.

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