Some of the biggest names in Irish Country Music will battle it out in Ballymena as The Northern Ireland Country Music Awards get underway at the Tullyglass Hotel.

The glittering ceremony, organised by JW Promotions, will see country music stars including the legendary Susan McCann taking to the stage alongside Jimmy Buckley, Mike Denver, Declan Nerney, newcomer Nathan Carter and of course I will be there to bring you all the gossip from this year’s event.
Now in it’s third year this awards ceremony is getting bigger and better and this year more than 14,500 votes have been cast – but who will walk away with the big gongs? Here are the nominees:

Best Country Male:
Mike Denver, Robert Mizzell, Kieran McGilligan, Jimmy Buckley.

Best Local Country Act:
Kim Dickinson, Curtis Magee, Sinead Taggart, Bonnie Stewart.

Best Country Newcomer:
Nathan Carter, Jason McGilligan, Lisa McHugh, Linda Welby.

Radio Presenter Of The Year:
Warren Smyth, Hugo Duncan, Trevor Campbell, Brian Darcy.

Best Live Country Act:
Jimmy Buckley, Robert Mizzell, Stephen Smyth, Kieran McGilligan.

Best Album Of The Year:
Shaun Loughrey, Roly Daniels & Dee Reilly, Mike Denver and Robert Mizzell.

Best Country Female:
Philomena Begley, Susan McCann, Sandy Kelly, The Benn Sisters.

Song Of The Year:
The Galway Fiddler by Linda Welby, Sams Place by Mick Flavin, The Galway Girl by Shaun Loughrey, The Day Of My Return by Mike Denver.

The 3rd Annual Country Music Awards take place on Wednesday April 7 at The Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena

By Robin Elliott
Radio presenter and TV personality Robin Elliott is best known for his magazine programme Robin’s Big Show on NVTV and radio nostalgia show 80’s Sunday on Citybeat 96.7FM.