Awesome honor

Bobby Awe has been a country music artist for a long time, but his favorite music has been around even longer. For Awe, the best country isn’t the latest hit from Nashville. It sounds more like the classic tunes he heard on the radio growing up.

The Fort Dodge singer won an award for his latest CD of old-time music, “Keepin’ it Country.” The Rural Roots Commission chose the CD as its Traditional Country Music CD of the Year for 2013.

Awe will receive his award at the annual National Traditional Country Music Association’s festival of rural music from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1 in Le Mars.

“We’ll be up there all week,” Awe said. “There are 10 different stages, and I’ll probably be on all of them.”

More than 650 entertainers will be there throughout the week from all across the country – and some other countries as well.

Awe previously won the award in 2010 for a CD called “Baby Blue.”

“I started doing the song (“Baby Blue”) back in probably the ’70s and didn’t get it recorded until 2010,” he said.

Awe has played in every Frontier Days celebration and is already booked for the 2014 event, he said. He’s been at the Stratford Bluegrass Festival and other traditional music events around the state.

“I started loving this music when I was very young. I would stay up and listen to the radio stations that used to play it from Del Rio, Texas,” he said.

“I started playing guitar when I was still in school. My first guitar was a Sears Silvertone. Basically, I’ve always loved the traditional country music. The new music they call country is not country music. The awards shows that they call country are not traditional country music anymore.”

A number of celebrities will be inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, including Joanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s younger sister; Dr. Harry Yates, founder of Cowboy Church and the husband of Joanne Cash; Ed Bruce, writer of “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys;” Terry Smith, composer of “Far Side Banks of Jordan” for Johnny and June Carter Cash; and LuLu Roman, a star from the popular television show, “HeeHaw,” and now a gospel music singer.

Awe entered the Hall of Fame in 2003.

“Years ago when I had my TV show, we had a man from Des Moines who would advertise with us, and he’d give us backstage passes. I got to meet all these people in Des Moines,” he said.

The Rural Roots Commission was created to celebrate and honor all kinds of lesser known country music, folk, bluegrass, alternative and Americana, according to one of the group’s founders Bob Everhart.

“It’s a dying era,” Awe said. “And Bob Everhart is trying to keep traditional country music alive, and I admire him for doing that. The people who come to his festival still love that music.”