Northern Ireland Country Music Awards 2022: Music stars shine at Ballymena ceremony

Nathan Carter has been cheered after the Wagon Wheel singer won the sexiest man gong at the Northern Ireland Country Music Awards last night.

This year’s ceremony saw an array of local stars come together to celebrate top country talent.

The event took place at Ballymena’s Tullyglass House Hotel, which also won the first accolade of the night for Best Dance and Live Music Venue.

Fan favorite Carter received the award for sexiest man, while his ex-girlfriend – and still good friend – Lisa McHugh received the award for most glamorous woman. Carter, born in Liverpool, who now resides in Co Fermanagh, also won the overall best man category, while Co Armagh’s wife Susan McCann, also known as Ireland’s first lady of country and music Irish, was named best woman.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many challenges for music, including the shutdown of live performances.

Musicians have had to evolve and adapt to using social media in order to entertain their audiences.

This was recognized by the Favorite Online Lockdown Show award, which went to Co Tyrone’s man also known as the Lone Ranger – Stefan Walker.

Keltic Storm, who will tour England next month as part of Ireland The Show, were dubbed the best country backing band and Barry Kirwan’s band picked the best country dance band of the evening.

Barry, from Omagh, has since revealed to The Sunday World that he will be ending his band, after having to take a job at his local Lidl store to make ends meet following the shutdown of live entertainment in March 2020. He is, however, staying true to the music – but will instead sing with a wedding band called The Matrimony Band.

Downtown Radio’s Trevor ‘Big T’ Campbell, who lives in Moneyreagh, Co Down, beat downtown colleague Stuart Banford and BBC stars Hugo Duncan and Ralph McClean for favorite country radio presenter.

The star of the evening was undoubtedly Co Carlow singer Derek Ryan, who was named Ireland’s top songwriter and favorite country star, and also won best album for his 2021 release, Soft Ground.

His song, The Night That Went On For Days, was also nominated for Best Single, but he was propelled to the position by Susan McCann and her granddaughter, Sinead Heaney, for their contemporary duet on the No. Judds Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days). The awards were streamed live for free for everyone to watch on the Northern Ireland Country Music Awards 2022 Facebook page last night, and saw live performances from the winners, nominees and more.