MACKAY’S Brad Butcher’s feet “still haven’t touched the ground” after winning a Golden Guitar for Best New Talent at the Tamworth Country Music Awards.

“Holy Jesus,” Butcher said, flabbergasted as he took his golden trophy from Lee Kernaghan and 2016 new talent winner Christie Lamb.

“I can’t believe this… when I was 11 years old I wanted to be a bloody rugby league player,” he said as the crowd laughed. “And then I realised you needed a lot of talent to do that, so I gave up and picked up the guitar instead and I didn’t think it’d lead me here.”

Butcher then thanked another Mackay country music stalwart, Graeme Connors, for guiding him in his career. “Fifteen years ago he gave me a bunch of songwriting books to guide me on my way… thanks very much mate for that, I’m blown away by this.”

The former Bowen Basin miner and Mackay boy was also nominated for Male Artist of the Year and Alt-Country Album of the Year in the major country music awards. His album ‘From the Bottom of a Well’ is dedicated to his grandfather, Norman Butcher, a Mackay pioneer.

On Facebook yesterday, Butcher thanked everyone who took the time to send him congratulations messages. “I’m very overwhelmed by this honour. Thank you to all my family who were there last night and also to all of my family watching online back home. I love you all,” Butcher said.

“In my emo state during my speech I missed a few VERY important people and I wanna THANK my great friends Marc Swersky, Bill Page and Tom Inglis! I’m so sorry it slipped my mind last night but please know I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done for me over the years. “And lastly to all of the amazing co-writers: Vaughan Jones, Kevin Bennett, Marc Swersky, Nash Chambers, Harry Hookey, Byron Hill, Kim Richey and Thomm Jutz. Without you all I don’t think I’d be posting this photo.

“Special mention to Matt Fell (you bloody champion) and to all the world class musicians and producers who were involved in Australia and over in Nashville: Thomm Jutz and Sam Hawksley in particular.”