Local band to launch new music awards

The local Night Owl Country Band will launch what it is calling the International Who’s Hoo Music Awards for independent artists of all genres April 23, 2022, at The Commons.

The nationally touring five-member band, which has previously brought in national acts such as country crooner John Schneider of “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV fame for a sold-out show, got the idea partly from the Josie Music Awards, now hosted in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The group has won two such awards, including the 2019 Country Album of the Year honors.

The name for the new awards is linked to the band’s name and its popular year-old Who’s Hoo podcast online.

The local group eventually hopes to attract 700 people for the event.

“This is another way to help promote independent artists,” said Matt Lee, Night Owl’s lead singer. “And of course, this would also get Night Owl Country Band’s name out there even further.”

The group has played locales such as the prestigious Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nominees for awards will attend the ceremony for free, unlike some other independent music awards events. Lee has been working to recruit sponsors to cover such expenses.

Lee said that, while attending the Atlanta-based International Singer-Songwriters Association awards show, his band members met people from all over the globe, including such far-flung locales as the Netherlands and Australia.

“They fly in from everywhere for that,” Lee said.

Such a new venture sounds like a good additional way to attract out-of-towners, said Karen Niverson, executive director of the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

“Events of this scale can be significant in a market our size,” Niverson said. “It’s exciting. The percentage of people attending outside of our contiguous area really can have an impact.”

Members of Night Owl Country Band recently were recording new music, including the single “Good Name.”

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