Four Langley musicians earn recognition at fourth annual Fraser Valley Music Awards

Dale Sawatzky won for Blues, West My Friend for Folk, and Gone Sugar Die for best rock group

Four Langley artists earned recognition at the fourth annual Fraser Valley Music Awards (FVMA), which took place Thursday, Nov. 21, at Corky’s in Chilliwack.

Awards were handed out in sixteen categories including achievements in punk, metal, jazz, folk, country, blues, and First Nations music.

Langley’s Dale Sawatzky won best Blues musician of the evening, an unexpected victory that he felt was vindication for years spent being “a nobody musician.”

“There’s a lot of people like me who are completed nobodies,” Sawatzky explained.” Now that I am retiring from I’ll have time to play more gigs and I think this will be a significant help to me – it’s a super thrill.”

Sawatzky told the Langley Advance Times he picked up the guitar when he was 17 and couldn’t put it down. Though he ultimately chose a more stable career path, he found himself writing tunes in his spare time, which more often than not, came out with a bluesy sound.

After recording the guitar tracks in his own home on a week off of her, Sawatzky’s songs took shape. The musician “picked away at it over time” until releasing the blues album in the fall of 2018 on various streaming sites.

“I had heard about the music awards last year but missed the cutoff date,” Sawatzky said. “I’m rather impressed with the organizers, there’s such a rich array of diversity. A conscience effort to have all genres covered – it was really well done.”

The trio West My Friend, comprised of Langley Fine Arts School graduates Jeff Poynter and Alex Rempel, along with third band member Eden Oliver, took home best Folk group.

Despite being based out of Victoria, two out of the three members of West My Friend are from Langley and routinely perform in the area, most recently, at Langley Community Music School.

Gone Sugar Die took best Rock Group/Act, the final award of the night. Langley’s Patrick McWilliams accepted the award, one half of the Canadian/American band who was also nominated in the same category for his work under the name The Cut Losses.

“I wasn’t looked to kindly upon in Langley Fine Arts School – because I listened to and wanted to play rock, I was sort of used as an example of what not do to,” McWilliams said.

After getting in contact with musician friends, McWilliams has divided his team between Langley and L.A., performing at various festivals including as a headliner for the immensely popular Emo Night concert.

McWilliams said two recent diagnoses of mental and physical health problems have hindered his ability to perform continuously, but the award win served as encouragement.

“I’m a lot younger than a lot of the other musicians here and Brian Smith, who won the lifetime achievement award, is also from Langley – so it felt like everything was just coming full circle,” McWilliams said.

Brian Smith, guitarist for the iconic rock band Trooper is also a Langley resident; he took home the first ever FVMA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Smith attended with his wife and daughter and Trooper band mate Ra McGuire and was treated to a congratulatory video featuring some of Canada’s top musicians including Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, Mike Reno of Loverboy, Kim Mitchell, Bryan Adams’ guitarist Keith Scott, Tom Cochrane, Darby Mills of the Headpins, a Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page.

Hosted by local producer and comic Harry Doupe, FVMA’s are an undertaking of CIVL Radio under the direction of station manager Aaron Levy.

Chilliwack mayor Ken Popove gave a greeting while presenters ranged from Lori Paul, Manager of Music Programs for CreativeBC Brenda Grunau, Chilliwack councilor Jason Lum, and Misfit, member of the multi-Juno winning Hip Hop group Rascalz.

Read More: Trooper’s co-founder Brian Smith earns first ever Fraser Valley Music Lifetime Achievement Award

Full Fraser Valley Music Award Winners 2019

Blues – Dale Sawatzky (Langley)

Country – David Ivan Neil (Abbotsford)

Electronic – Stephen Carl O’Shea (Abbotsford)

Experimental – Kristin Witko (Abbotsford)

Folk – West My Friend (Langley)

Hip Hop/Urban – Hooper Turnt Sanger (Surrey)

Jazz – Natalia Pardalis (Surrey)

Metal – Eric “The Lightning” Taylor (Abbotsford)

Pop – Kristin Witko (Abbotsford)

Punk – Joanie Loves Chachi (Chilliwack)

Rock – Gone Sugar Die (Langley)

Achievement by a Female Artist – Lori Paul (Chilliwack)

Achievement by a First Nations/Indigenous Artist – Alexis Lynn (Surrey)

Achievement by an LGBTQ2+ Artist – Mackenzie Widdows (Mission)

Dakota Leslie Award for Fan Vote – Western Jaguar (Maple Ridge)

Lifetime Achievement – Brian Smith (Langley)

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aldergrove zoo to reopen next week with new COVID-19 safety measures: spokesperson

Reopening to be ushered in by words from Darryl Plecas, Legislative assembly Speaker

School speed limits in force in Langley

Langley RCMP are asking pedestrians and drivers to be cautious as school resumes

There’s still Hope After Stroke during COVID-19

Program facilitator remains available by phone

Hot rods parade by Langley hospital at seven o’clock for front line workers

Few dozen from BC Hot Rod Association paraded their cars in private show for staff and seniors

Anyone participating in virtual Langley Walk this weekend?

Residents have until Sunday, May 31 to complete annual 5K challenge

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read