The New Zealand Country Music Awards were held tonight in Gore, with the extremely talented Reb Fountain winning the 2018 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Artist and APRA Best Country Music Song.
Reb first began constructing her Hopeful and Hopeless EP in 2014 when it was recorded live at The Wine Cellar while she toured with The Eastern. It would be the last time she would share the stage with the late Sam Prebble (Bond St Bridge, Mermaid & Mariner, The Broken Heartbreakers).
To help herself move on, she completed the unfinished projects she began with Sam – including Hopeful and Hopeless and an album called Little Arrows, the latter of which saw her nominated for Best Folk Artist in 2018.
The raw intensity of Hopeful and Hopeless has been recognised with the 2018 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Artist Tui, a testament to her decision to finish and release the EP after three years.
Reb also won the APRA Best Country Music Song for her title track of the same name.
“Hopeful and Hopeless is a song about people like us, or people less fortunate than us just doing the best they can, trying to get by” explains Reb.
“But it’s also a song that helped me find my sense of strength and hope and community when I thought that everything was lost. Of all of the songs I’ve written, this song reminds me most of the mighty mariner Sam Prebble, and even though he has passed, he is very present with me every time I play it, so to win best APRA Country Music Song for this means the world to me.”
Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says New Zealand’s country scene is moving from strength to strength each year.
“Country music is a genre built on foundations of emotion, something that Reb captures with not only this amazing EP but her overall music style.
“There’s a strong connection to Americana roots blended with a distinct New Zealand flair that makes her music complex and compelling.”
APRA AMCOS Head of New Zealand Operations Ant Healey says: “It’s wonderful to see Reb Fountain recognised for her exceptional song writing talents. Her striking turn of phrase and distinctive point of view make Hopeful and Hopeless feel like a classic song that we’ll be hearing for years to come.”
Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Artist were Lana Doublet for Beautiful Hands and Phil Doublet for Strength, Love, Music & Light.
Jenny Mitchell’s ‘Let Me Be’ and Kaylee Bell & Brooke McClymont’s ‘Next Somebody’ were the other finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song.
The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted by the New Zealand Songwriters Trust and the festival attracts more than 5,000 fans annually and is in its 44th year.
Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album
- WINNER: Reb Fountain – Hopeful and Hopeless
- Lana Doublet – Beautiful Human
- Phil Doublet – Strength, Love, Music & Light
Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song
- WINNER: Reb Fountain – ‘Hopeful and Hopeless’
- Jenny Mitchell – ‘Let Me Be’
- Kaylee Bell and Brooke McClymont – ‘Next Somebody’