Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
For those of you that need a refresher, Ameripolitan is the moniker given to “real” country music. It encompasses such categories as honky tonk, outlaw, rockabilly, and western swing. All of the four food groups are represented. These awards are very important because this is the ONLY forum to recognize the men and women that have, and are, dedicating their lives to preserving these forms of music. This isn’t a revivalist movement at all because that would mean that these musical genres went somewhere. Not true. They have been here all along, it just needs to be returned back to the people.
Here are the nominees for Western Swing Male 2018:
Jason Roberts Having spent his childhood among legends in Texas honky-tonks — and then nearly 20 years with the world-famous band Asleep at the Wheel — Jason has soaked up the very best of Western Swing and brings his own signature style to this traditional American genre.
Billy Mata A Texas Hall of Fame Western Swing Band in true tradition of Tommy Duncan and Bob Wills, led by Billy Mata, the Ambassador of Western Swing. Mata’s band recreates the original tradition of Western Swing. They thrive in the unique tradition of historic Texas Dancehalls that provide real, danceable, country music.
Kyle Eldridge Armed with a perfect country voice and the ability to play some fine honky tonk guitar, this Louisville, Kentucky native is tearing up the dancehalls wherever he plays. Kyle mixes some rockabilly in his and the band’s take on Western Swing. Kyle’s voice could easily be confused with Hank Williams.
Keenan Wade This Nashville, Tennessee native is the mandolin player for The Farmer & Adele. Keenan’s style is steeped in the long tradition of authentic and pure country music. The music is a mixture of old time country and the standards from the 30’s and 40’s. Not only is Keenan a great mando player, he is an accomplished vocalist as well.
Bobby Flores Bobby has been performing in Texas dance halls since he was 9 years old. He has performed on Austin City Limits, The Grand Ole Opry, TNN Prime Time, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and numerous Willie Nelson 4th of July picnics. Bobby has also had the honor of being an inductee into the “Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame”.