LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — The GRAMMY Awards will give music fans a chance to watch some of the biggest acts in the world. But for local music fans, there was no need to wait.
The area’s best performers put on a show Tuesday night and were honored for their hard work during the first Central Arkansas Music Awards.
The awards show was created by the Arkansas Times and Arkansas Sounds, which is part of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies within the Central Arkansas Library System.
“I was really excited,” Trey Lamberth said of his reaction to hearing about the awards. “I thought it would be a great thing to have. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Lamberth performed with Brethren, and was nominated for Best Live Performer Rock/Indie with his band, GHOST BONES. He has played in Arkansas and around the country for many years and said he has seen evolutions in the local music scene.
“I think we’ve got a really supportive community now,” he stated. “And, you know, it’s about networking and doing what you love. It’s tough at first, but you keep pushing through, you eventually seem to have some success.”
Twenty-two awards were handed out during the show. Performers were recognized from more than a dozen distinct genres, but the people who support and promote music who honored in categories such as best festival, best radio show/podcast and best venue.
A wide cross-section of fans sold out the Ron Robinson Theater.
“It’s gonna be interesting,” Princeaus said of the diverse crowd. “I’m very excited to see how people react to me. It’s always a gamble. But tonight, I believe, will go well.”
The show recognized three of the legends who created Arkansas’s musical heritage before passing within the past year: Glen Campbell, CeDell Davis and Sonny Burgess. Burgess’ band, the Legendary Pacers, were among the seven acts who played during the show. Lamberth, who used to play alongside Davis, said Brethren would perform in his honor.
At the same time, the show highlighted the ways local music is changing.
“I’ve only been making music since August of 2016,” Princeaus said. “And to already have this sort of publicity, as someone who’s a newbie, is pretty amazing.”
Princeaus said she was shocked to be invited to perform during the Central Arkansas Music Awards. She was also nominated for Best Live Performer Electronic/DJ, but mentioned that she typically plays events in private homes.
“I’m not used to audiences this size,” she said.
Claiming an award Tuesday night might help some of central Arkansas’ local artists get new opportunities to play for bigger crowds. But they did not seem too worried about that just yet.
“I’m leaving it to the unknown,” Princeaus said. “I’m just going to play my best tonight and see what happens.”
Lamberth was optimistic about the future of the awards show.
“I think it will help us grow," Lamberth said. "And it’ll show the rest of the community that we support ourselves. And hopefully they’ll come through and support us even more than they already do.”
Lamberth said there is not much difference in the talent level of the performers in Little Rock compared to those in Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans or the other nearby, larger cities. He claimed that the ones who play here simply want to live in central Arkansas.
“It’s about growing together,” he said. “And showing the rest of the world what we have here.”