CHIPLEY - One Washington County native has taken his acoustic, down-home music all the way to top.
The North America Country Music Association, Int'l has named county-native Rick Kent as Bluegrass Entertainer of the Year and Bluegrass Instrumentalist of the Year. Created in 1997, the organization promotes music genres country, gospel and bluegrass.
"It's a life long ambition that I won Entertainer of the Year," Kent said. "That's what I've worked for in my 45 years in this business. It makes you feel great. You're the best of the best, and that's exactly what you are."
He competed and won the awards at the NACMA annual competition held earlier this month at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
His winning songs included "Put My Little Shoes Away" - a popular ballad written in the 1870's and widely performed by bluegrass artists - and Kent's own "Roadkill Cookies."
The 63-year-old entertainer wrote the song 12 years ago after happening upon a Walmart bag in the roadway as he drove to meet up with some friends at a barbeque. When he reached his friends, he opened the bag to find a pack of cookies.
"Everyone made a joke about it," dubbing the find "roadkill cookies," he said, chuckling. "So, I wrote a song out of it."
Kent's strictly acoustic music embodies the simplistic lifestyle of rural American life and the quirkiness characterized within the culture.
Follow him on Facebook under Rick Kent Bluegrass or listen to him on the "Sue Walton Presents" radio show on International Connection Radio, available at icradio.online. He may be contacted for bookings through recording management company Texas Southern Entertainment.