MUSICIAN Mickey Pye is keeping a lid on his expectations after being named a Golden Guitar Awards finalist for instrumental of the year for the fourth time in five years.
Pye says the field he's facing - including the late Phil Emmanuel and composer and producer Rod McCormack - will be difficult to beat.
Not that Pye, who grew up in Oberon and runs the Bathurst Academy of Music, is complaining.
"I grew up idolising Rod McCormack, learning all the parts he played on Lee Kernaghan's hits," he said.
"I'm still a music fan, I'm a fan of those guys, so being named beside them is quite exciting."
Pye is a finalist for the song Bridle Track, which he wrote with Dragon drummer Pete Drummond and Sean Rudd and recorded with Drummond, Rudd and Rod Motbey at The Vault Studios at Balmain.
"We recorded a whole bunch of tracks for different people, one being my sister Clancy Pye, who is a finalist in Toyota Star Maker [the annual competition that aims to unearth a new country music star]," he said.
"We were recording songs for her that day and at the end of the day it was very late and we were going to record an instrumental that we hadn't really had time to piece together yet, so we decided just to do it as a team.
"I had the main guitar hook and showed the guys.
"With instrumental music, you have to make it interesting in whatever way you can and those guys were great at that - taking my idea and developing it into something else."
He said the reaction was positive.
"All our musician mates were really impressed and that's when I started to think maybe this is good," he said.
Pye - who has now been a finalist in the Golden Guitars six times, including as best new talent in 2015 - says the past year has been hectic and the next year is looking busy as well.
"I have been touring really hard this year with Travis Collins [in Collins' band] and we did some massive shows [supporting American country star Tim McGraw], including Qudos Arena and Rod Laver Arena," he said.
It was a "cool experience", he said, though on a whole different scale to what he is used to.
Pye is also preparing to release his second album in 2020.
Bridle Track can be found on Spotify and Youtube.