By SARAH KINNEY
New England’s top musicians, songwriters and producers will be recognized Saturday at the New England Music Awards.
Those who attend will hear Latin, rock, country, folk, pop, hip hop, reggae and more by artists who call New England home.
There were a number of smaller, regional awards programs: the Connecticut Music Awards, the Boston Music Awards, the Worcester Music Awards, and the Limelight Music, said Joseph Graham, one of the awards program organizers. But not one that involved all of New England.
Graham and partners John Fleming and Mike Flynn set out to change that four years ago with the first New England Music Awards night.
A New Hampshire band, Pat and The Hats, will be one of the featured live performances of the evening. The group is nominated for best pop act of the year. Last year, they were named best band in New Hampshire at the awards.
The band features front-man and songwriter Patrik Gochez on guitar and keyboard, Brendan Harisiades on bass and vocals, Bobby Rice on drums and vocals, Scott Solsky on guitar and Brittany Laine on vocals.
The band has been promoting its first album Fake it ’til you Make a Hit, which features accompaniment from Greg Hawkes of The Cars. Hawkes will join them at the New England Music Awards, too.
The band will give an unofficial pre-party concert Friday at Bull McCabe’s Pub in Somerville, Mass.
Other featured performance acts at the awards include Joey Batts and Them, Sarah Barrios, Ben Knight, We Were Astronauts, Amy and The Engines and the Willie J. Laws Band.
Boston comedian Dave Russo will host the award ceremony.
Musical artists can be nominated in a variety of categories all year on the website.
Then, a committee of music industry experts including journalists from music publications, radio personalities, talent buyers, event planners and record label executives narrow down the nominations for each category, trying to represent a variety of genres and states, Graham said.
Once, narrowed down, voting takes place on the website.
The nominees for best in state for New Hampshire this year are Tan Vampires, Best Not Broken, Gretchen and the Pickpockets, Blacklight Ruckus and the Jandee Lee Porter Band.
New Hampshire musicians are represented in almost every category.
The Shana Stack Band, a country music group, is a nominee for band of the year.
“Bad Decisions” by Manchester singer Josh Logan was nominated for song of the year.
Brian Coombes of Rocking Horse Studio in Pittsfield was nominated as producer of the year. American Idol finalist and Mont Vernon singer Alex Preston was nominated as male performer of the year.
Roots of Creation and the Aldous Collins Band were nominated for best live act of the year.
In the genre categories, Concord-based Dusty Gray Band and Four Legged Faithful were nominated for roots, the Rory Scott Band was nominated for country, Emmarie and Pat and The Hats were nominated for pop, Crushed Out was nominated for rock, Mr. Nick and The Dirty Tricks was nominated for blues, Cameen was nominated for hip hop, and A Simple Complex was nominated for metal.
Lizzy Marella, a 15 year old New Hampshire native was nominated for new act of the year.
The awards ceremony starts at 7 p.m. at Showcase Live in Foxboro, Mass. Seats are sold out for the concert, but a livesteam can be viewed at nemusicawards.com.