Country duo racking up miles

By Mike Dinsdale

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It's going to be a busy August for Whangarei country music duo Annette Hawkins and Kim Copedo, with a trip to the US to be inducted into the Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame coming after another appearance as finalists in the NZ Country Music Awards.

Hawkins and Copedo are finalists in the duo of the year award, along with Cooper's Run and The Sou'westers, and will perform when the award winners are announced at the national awards ceremony at Hamilton's Founders Theatre on August 17.

It will mean a short turnaround for the duo, who will perform at Whangarei's RSA the night before the awards. Hawkins said it was an honour to again be nominated for an award at the NZ Country Music Awards - the country's premier country music accolades - as it was recognition from their peers as to the duo's talents and skill.

"We are up against some really tough competition [in Cooper's Run and The Sou'westers] who are people that work really hard on their craft, but it's great recognition," she said.

If the duo win the award it will continue their recent success.

In 2011 Copedo won the New Zealand Country Music Association's Songwriter of the Year.

The title song of their 2008 album I'm Still Here, written by Copedo, was a top three finalist in the country category at the 2009 Tui Music Awards.

As a duo or in individual male and female sections, they have been prominent in the Kiwi Pro-Am Country Music for years and their dedication to traditional country music will be rewarded in LeMars, Iowa on August 26 (US time).

The pair leave for Iowa on August 22 and four days later they will be inducted into the Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame in LeMars, run by the National Traditional Country Music Association of America.

Hawkins said it was a huge honour for the duo to be inducted into the hall of fame.

"It's a major for us. We were nominated by the lady who runs the Masterton country music festival for our hard work and contribution to traditional country music," she said.

Dennis Marsh, the Patumahoe-based builder turned singer, whose iwi affiliations include Ngapuhi and Ngati Hine and is now New Zealand's best selling country musician of all time, is a finalist in the Male Artists of the Year class at the national awards in Hamilton.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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