Langley’s own Mitch Merrett, producer, manager, and musician has recently helped form a band called Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion. He’s been shortlisted for the BCCMA awards. Next stage of voting cuts off Sept. 13. (Langley Advance files)

Langley’s country musicians place prominently on list of B.C.’s best

Names of Langley artists are plentiful on provincial music awards nomination shortlist.

Once again a fistful of Langley names are standing out on the nomination list for this year’s B.C. Country Music Association awards.

One name, that has appeared consistently on the nomination and winner’s lists alike, is back again. That’s Langley’s own Karen Lee Batten.

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This time around, she’s up for album of the year (Under the Covers in Muscle Shoals), as well as entertainer of the year, and fans choice – going up against Clayton Heights’ own JoJo Mason (he’s also up for male artist and video of the year) and former Langleyite Aaron Pritchett – among others for the latter two awards.

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Batten is also up for female artist of the year, a title she’s won six times in past. But this time, she’s going up against friend and fellow Langley resident Emily Taylor Adams for this award – again, among others.

And Batten is up for a new award, for interactive artist of the year.

“We’re trying to keep up-to-date with all the new digital and social media things,” explained the association’s president Linda Corscadden, a former Langleyite.

Also up for acknowledgement at the provincial level is the Me and Mae band, featuring frontman Shawn Meehan of Langley. They’re one of the contenders for the country club act of the year award.

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Meehan is also up, along with Ben Parker, for SOCAN’s songwriter of the year award for their song, Summerland, as is Taylor Adams for a song she wrote with Nate Cavalli and Spencer Bleasdale, called If I Were A Drink. And Taylor Adams is also up for website of the year.

And once again Langley City’s Gabby’s Cabaret is up for country venue of the year.

Also making the list is Langley’s Mitch Merrett for his work as a guitarist, as well as a producer. Merrett is a record producer, music manager, and country musician, but has been working more behind the scenes in recent years – that is until now.

This spring, he joined forces with a number of long-time music friends to create Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion, a new group that blends Southern rock, country rock, and Americana together into what they call a “musical awakening that walks the line of boundless melodic prowess and raw unapologetic grassroots truth.”

The group already received attention from the Rolling Stone magazine, as one of the bands people need to know, and they’re playing in Quebec and Ontario this month, including a special appearance at the Canadian Country Music Awards, where they’ll be performing for the industry awards event.

An unexpected Langley music name, that of Chad Kroeger – lead singer for Nickelback – is indirectly noted on the awards shortlist, too. His production company, 604 Records, is up for recording studio of the year.

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And another name, connected with many of Langley’s big name artists – past and present – is Stephano Barberis of Clayton Heights.

He’s once again on the shortlist for video director of the year, a title he’s won several times in past.

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But with all these Langley names on the list, there are two country artists, with local ties, who are noticeably absent this year.

One is Langley superstar Dallas Smith.

For the second year in a row, the 40-year-old Walnut Grove singer has bowed out of the competition. After having scooped up many of the awards for several consecutive years, in 2017 Smith stepped back and asked his name be removed from the nomination list. He wanted to give other artists, especially the new, up-and-comers a chance to win.

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Likewise, this time around Smith’s buddy and former Langleyite Chad Brownlee, a former pro hockey player turned country music star, has stepped out of contention.

“Dallas Smith, Chad Brownlee, and Dennis Marcenko have withdrawn their names from the BCCMA’s nomination process going forward,” Corscadden explained.

”They wanted to step aside to allow new and emerging artists/musicians to receive the same opportunities and recognition they’ve received,” she elaborated.

The Langley names above, who did make it through to this stage, are in the second ballot in the voting process for the BCCMAs, Corscadden explained. This window of voting remains open until Sept. 13, after which the finalists will be announced.

The 42nd annual BC Country Music Awards will be held Sunday, Oct. 21 at the Hard Rock Casino.

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