Best Country Artist: Phantom trucker honky-tonk legend
Kevin "Blackie" Farrell
If he had never written anything other than the pedal-steel-behind-the-wheel weepie "Mama Hated Diesels" for Commander Cody way back when, country music singer and composer Kevin "Blackie" Farrell would be a shoo-in for the Truckstop Jukebox Hall of Fame. But Farrell, who lives in Moraga and has supplied tunes for Leo Kottke, Asleep at the Wheel, and Robert Earl Keen, has a semi cab full of songs such as "Rockabilly Funeral," the eerie "Sonora's Death Row," "California Okie," "Tina Louise," and "Fool on a Stool" -- some of which might find their way onto the CD he's currently working on. If you're looking for that Bakersfield trucker sound, Blackie is your man. He doesn't gig much in the Bay Area -- he was last spotted onstage when he got up with Telecaster master (and former Lost Planet Airman) Bill Kirchen to sing "Mama Hated Diesels" at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. But if you see his name on a schedule, don't walk to catch him -- floor it. He's a true honky-tonk hero.