Two musical groups with their roots in Kilgore walked away with wins at the ETX Music Awards Saturday night.
The Ally Venable Band took home the awards for Blues Band of the Year and Album of the Year for “No Glass Shoes.” The Purple Hulls also won for Bluegrass Band of the Year.
“I feel very honored to be a recipient of those awards, and it makes me feel really good whenever you have the support of the people around you and around the area that you live, and you know that people want you to succeed,” Venable said.
At 18, Venable has been playing shows around Kilgore since she was 12, so people have watched her grow as a person and as a musician, she said, and the 2017 Blues Band of the Year award was the group’s third consecutive win in the category.
With the Album of the Year award, Venable said, the ultimate goal is to connect and relate with people through music.
“I play music for people, and whenever I write songs, I write about what goes on in my life, and I know that I can relate to other people,” she said. “Whenever I got that award it kind of reassured me that it does relate to other people and people enjoy my music, and all around it makes me feel good as a musician. It makes me want to keep writing songs, which I am doing.”
Music and her online Kilgore College courses consume Venable’s life these days, but she does plan to release new music in the near future.
“It’s been really fun so far, and I’m excited to see what’s in my path of my musical journey,” Venable said.
The Purple Hulls’ Penny Clark called it both an honor and humbling to win the 2017 Bluegrass Band of the Year, which she shares with her sister Katy Clark.
“It’s really such an honor to be able to be received so well by the people of East Texas, and it’s definitely humbling and it just makes me look forward to meet more of the people out here and to get to know the community that makes up East Texas,” she said.
Although bluegrass has a long history in the south and the Appalachian Mountain area of the country, it is not as prevalent in East Texas.
Having lived in Nashville for a while, Clark said, “I was excited to get back to Texas and explore the pockets of bluegrass that exist here already.”
Many times, people just think of the banjo when they hear bluegrass and do not know much else.
“It’s really special to get to witness people learning about a genre that is actually really exploding in other parts of the country,” she said.
Both The Ally Venable Band and the Purple Hulls will be returning to Kilgore in October, Venable Oct. 7 to play The Back Porch and The Purple Hulls Oct. 28 for a concert in Kilgore City Park.