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Billy Mata & the Texas Tradition!

Check out American Cowboy Magazine's great coverage of the 2007 Academy of Western Artists Will Rogers Award Show.
Pick up your Nov-Dec 2007 copy of American Cowboy Magazine at newsstands today!
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Enlarged View

Winners All

By Peg Shaffer

GARLAND, TEXAS -- The Granville Theater became the latest venue to host the ever-expanding Will Rogers Awards, a selection process conducted by the Academy of Western Artists to celebrate the finest in Western arts, crafts, and culture.

The awards show, held August 7 (always on a Tuesday night), was opened with a welcome by Bobby Newton, editor/publisher of Rope Burns and director of the AWA, and by Charles Williams, executive vice president, who announced his upcoming retirement from the AWA and related wonderful memories of his time with the organization.

Lynn Anderson (country recording star and cutting horse champion) joined with Wayne Mitchell to present several categories. A special moment occurred when Liz Anderson, Lynn's mother, was awarded Western Music Songwriter of the Year for "I Rode in as a Stranger," which Lynn Anderson performed for the crowd later in the evening. Later in the proceedings, Anderson won Best
Western Music CD/Album for her Cowgirl effort. The gathering onstage became a family affair as Anderson called her father to join them at the podium.

A crowd favorite was Tammy Gislason of Canada, who as "Tammy Pearl" does a contemporary impression of Minnie Pearl, in addition to her regular performance routine of Western Music and song. With her checkered tablecloth dress, wide-brimmed hat with the requisite price tag still attached, and red tap shoes, Tammy Pearl fetched big laughs for her commentary on the ways of city folks and her quest to find a "feller." Gislason was this year's winner of the Skinny Rowland Humor Award.
   In don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, and as Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition took the stage, the crowd got just that -- Mata's traditional country with that big swing sound. Mata is past winner of several AWAs. In 2005 the popular performer was the biggest winner of the evening as he took home Entertainer of the Year, as well as Best Western Sing Male.

Outstanding performances were given by other previous AWA honorees, including Leighan Cortes, Bobby Flores (Swing Instrumentalist), and Doug Moreland (Entertainer of the Year).

This year's roll of winners included some familiar, popular names as well as numerous first-time winners.

The Cindy Walker Award was given to Jerry Max Lane, who personifies country music just as did the musical namesake of this award. Singer, songwriter, bandleader, stage actor, and world-class honky-tonk owner for 40 years, Lane earned............
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Above: As part of the evening's entertainment, Billy Mata did a novelty number for which he drew women from the audience to grace the stage as he sang about each. From left to right: Tammy Gislason, Leighan Cortes, Dottie Jack and Miranda Howell (Jack's daughter).

For the complete article, just pick up your Nov-Dec 2007 copy of American Cowboy Magazine today!
Or visit American Cowboy

 Below is a reacap of Billy's night at the awards.
On Tuesday August 7
Billy Mata & the Texas Tradition joined with the ACADEMY OF WESTERN ARTISTS and an audience filled with western artist celebrities and nationwide representatives of western arts press, radio and promotions to witness an evening of awards, entertainment and true western arts culture at the


BILLY MATA, winner of top AWA awards in 2000 and 2005,
was once again high in the list of nominations for this year's show with a Top Five nomination for Western Swing Male Singer of the year.

Billy and his band The TEXAS TRADITION, were also Top Five finalists for:
Western Swing Band of the year
Western Swing Song of the year: "Gotta Keep 'Em Movin' Along"
Western Swing Album of the year: "Domino Effect"

Billy performed live on stage for the event along with 2007 Western Song,
Western Album award winning, country music legend LYNN ANDERSON and others including Doug Moreland, Mike Siler, Joni Harms, Bobby Flores and Dottie Jack.

And we are extremely proud to announce that this year, Billy Mata was awarded (drum roll please...)

The AWA Will Rogers award was presented on stage by XM RADIO's "Willie's Place" air personality, EDDIE KILROY.

This is the third time Billy has received this top award from the AWA - a record in the
12 year history of the awards program.

In his acceptance speech, Billy said, "I am so honored by this award. But I want to also thank the Academy members who nominated my band, The Texas Tradition. I had hoped the band might capture some of the awards they were up for this year. They have been so dedicated to what I am trying to accomplish with my music over so many years. I can't do what I do without them. Believe me, we'll keep trying!"

(Editors note:
The band can't be too disappointed when you take into account that the winner this year was the band that started the whole Western Swing thing: The Light Crust Doughboys!)

Click here to see Billy's
"2005 'Entertainer Of The Year" award.

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