Local Stars Shine at the INW Country Music Awards Show


Some of the region’s most prolific country music artists had a blast at the fifth annual Inland Northwest County Music Awards on Oct. 23.

First held at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, over 500 people showed up to support their favorite local musicians and, of course, hear great music.

IN-CMA founder and organizer Rusty Jackson was thrilled with how the event went, praising producer Joey Anderson and the rest of the crew for making the evening so special for so many.

The night featured 25 separate acts from 15 individual acoustic performers and 10 bands, many from northern Idaho.

Coeur d’Alene’s Carli Osika, who was voted Favorite Solo Act of the Year, in addition to being a finalist in the Favorite Singer-Songwriter, Favorite Female Vocalist and Song of the Year categories.

“It was a really cool event,” Osika said. “I hardly ever see other local artists perform since I always play my own gigs, so it was really fun for me to meet everyone and see them perform.”

When it was announced that she won the Favorite Solo Act, Osika said she was a little surprised.

“This is my first time participating in the IN-CMA Awards, and I really didn’t expect to receive so many nominations, let alone win anything,” she said. “It was a pleasant surprise and an honour, of course.”

Candidates for the IN-CMAs are chosen with the help of sites in the region, which receive ballots and must provide five choices for each category. After the nominees are selected, the winners are decided by popular vote.

Jackson said this year the event garnered more than 2,000 ballots, which helps reduce the number of candidates by simply getting a large group of friends and family to vote.

“I think the fans got it pretty well,” he said.

Jackson, who works as a software engineer, started the IN-CMA show as a way for local artists to gain exposure and recognize the immense amount of talent in the Inland Northwest.

“I had kind of become fascinated with marketing because I realized that even though I was writing software, the only reason people were buying it was because those guys had found clever ways to describe it,” Jackson said.

“It’s better to have a third party talking about you than talking about yourself,” he added.

After a time when the group served as a platform to publicize the events, Jackson decided that IN-CMA needed a real awards show.

Held the first two years at the Kroc Center and the next two at Nashville North in Post Falls, Jackson said he was thrilled to host the event in a venue that gives off that “awards vibe.”

The next awards ceremony is scheduled for November 5, 2023 at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane.

“Spokane is becoming the Nashville of the Northwest,” Jackson said.

Visit in-cma.com for more information on the soon-to-be-renamed Northwest County Music Awards.

To listen to the full interview with Rusty Jackson, check out the Friday, October 28 episode of the North Idaho Now Podcast.

Winners of the 2022 IN-CMA awards, organized by category and winner:

Favorite New Act (new for IN-CMAs)

Wildflowers — Winner

Honey and Rose – First Runner Up

favorite singer

Payton Rae—Winner

Carli Osika — First runner-up

Favorite Male Singer

Sam McCue—Winner

Chaz Ridler – First Runner Up

Favorite solo act

Carli Osika—Winner

Steve Starkey – First Runner Up

Favorite singer-songwriter

Joey Anderson—Winner

Carli Osika — First runner-up

Favorite Drummer/Percussionist

Jake West—Winner

Matt Fate – First Runner Up

Favorite bassist

Nate Norman—Winner

Kelly Shelton – First Runner Up

Favorite solo guitar

Cody Norman—Winner

Jesse Quandt – First Runner Up

Favorite instrumentalist (other)

Fiddlin’ Sarah Jean — Winner

Debbi Hahn — First Runner Up

Favorite Acoustic Act

Third Avenue — Winner

The Wildflowers – First Runner Up

Preferred group

Tamarack Ridge Band—Winner

Outwest – First Runner Up

Favorite Regional/Touring Act

Copper Mountain Band—Winner

Kelly Hughes – First Runner Up

Artist of the Year

Copper Mountain Band—Winner

Sam Leiden – First Runner Up

song of the year

Big Small Town — Sam Leiden — Winner

Whiskey and Him — Carli Osika — First Runner Up

Favorite radio personality

Kevin James—Winner

Sybil — First runner-up

Favorite Radio

99.9 Coyote Country—Winner

93.7 The Mountain — First Runner Up

Big Favorite Venue/Group Room

Nashville North — Winner

Knitting Factory — First Runner Up

Favorite intimate live music venue

Iron Horse Spokane Valley—Winner

Black Diamond Presents—First Runner Up




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