Guitarist with golden voice takes top award

22:20, Jun 13 2013
mitchell low
COUNTRY CROONER: Timaru teen Mitchell Low won the senior male vocal solo award at this year's Gold Guitar Awards.

Keeping it old school was a winning formula for Timaru teen country singer Mitchell Low.

The 19-year-old won the senior male vocal award at the prestigious Gold Guitar Awards held in Gore recently.

Low, who grew up in Pleasant Point, said he had been playing the drums for years and, around the age of 12, picked up the guitar and learnt to play.

This was his third time at the prestigious awards held annually in Gore.

It was the 1980 song Smoky Mountain Rain, written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan and recorded by American country music singer Ronnie Milsap, that got him to the top this year, he said.

The song was different to what the other contestants were playing, he said.

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"There's a lot of stuff in the awards. A lot of the same stuff going round in circles. I tried to come up with something a bit different that hadn't been done.

"There's a lot of new country in the awards now, which is good, [but] this is an old country song. [But it is] great to see the new country coming out a lot."

There were 23 entries in the section and three go through to the finals. To win was "amazing", Low said.

"It's so tough down there in the section ... so coming away with anything was pretty amazing. It was just luck on the day."

He said there were entertainers who were "hard to beat" and would give performers on talent shows like X Factor New Zealand and New Zealand's Got Talent a run for their money.

When he is not competing Low plays guitar and sings in a four-piece country blues and rock and roll band every weekend.

Low was not the only South Cantabrian to catch the Gold Guitar Awards judges' eye. Geraldine 17-year-old Jaz Paterson was a finalist in the country rock and vocal solo categories.

The Timaru Herald