Live Last Night: The Wammies
Of all the awards ever devised to honor the purveyors of musical excellence, the Wammies are without question the most local, not to mention the most recent.
Last night at the State Theatre in Falls Church, voters of the Washington Area Music Association gathered for the 23rd annual Wammies ceremony, doling out highly genre-specific honors to the hometown heroes of the vibrant local music scene. Mercifully, only about three dozen of the more than 100 Wammies were actually presented onstage; the rest were read roll call-style at the end of the three-plus-hour pageant.
The night's big winners were the self-explanatory Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band, foursquare rocker Billy Coulter and Wammie veteran Jon Carroll.
(Read the rest of the report, along with a complete list of winners, after the jump.)
Chopteeth, a 14-member intercontinental ensemble, was voted artist of the year in addition to taking home awards for best world music duo or group, world music recording, and debut recording. (The latter two were for "Chopteeth.")
Coulter's "Dose," meanwhile, was honored as album of the year as well as the year's best roots rock recording. WAMA members voted Coulter's "Party of One" song of the year and named Coulter best roots rock vocalist for the second year running.
Carroll performed two songs at the ceremony with his son Ben and his band Love Returns, including his Solomon Burke-esque R&B number "Just Relax." Caroll won a couple of Grammys with the Starland Vocal Band back in 1976, including one for arranging the immortal "Afternoon Delight." Last night, he netted his second consecutive songwriter of the year Wammie (his third SOTY overall), in addition to being named musician of the year.
Carroll may have to invest in some shelving: He also won the pop/rock vocalist category, pop/rock duo or group, pop/rock instrumentalist and pop/rock recording, for "Live Returns," recorded at the Barns of Wolf Trap. His
five- six-Wammie haul might seem disappointing only compared to last year, when he won seven.
If the list of nominees and winners can appear to be somewhat insular, with copious year-over-year repetition, at least the selection of performers offered a fair reflection the region's mix of styles and demographics:
Folk duo Cletus Kennelly and Lori Kelly funked up their "Love on the Metro" with electronic percussion courtesy of Arthur Loves Plastic (nee Bev Stanton), recipient of the electronica emeritus award.
Beat-boxing rapper Christylez Bacon, the 22-year-old honored in the hip-hop artist and recording categories, gave us a bouncy "Welfare Check."
Early '80s new wavers 4 Out of 5 Doctors reunited to offer a surprisingly brawny take of their "I Want Her."
Singer-songwriter Margot MacDonald, winner of 2007's new artist Wammie, sang one of her plaintive ballads before leading her band through a gritty cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." MacDonald, who despite her onstage poise and maturity is both 17 years old and a girl, sang it in a register almost as high as Robert Plant's.
There was also a go-go number from New Faces, the torch standard "A Sunday Kind of Love" from Esther Williams, and some mid-tempo indie-rock with mostly inaudible vocals from Juniper Lane.
Performances aside, the event remained much the same amiably unruly affair as in years past. As one presenter observed from the podium, "We're here for the booze, and the schmooze." There were back-slaps and hugs, presenters trying mostly in vain to quiet the boisterous crowd, and admirably terse acceptance speeches from the winners who showed up to collect their trophies. (Many didn't. Can't pay the rent with a Wammie, after all.)
Some winners used their moment in the spotlight to honor the also-rans: Collecting his Wammie for country instrumentalist of the year, Ira Gitlin protested, "With all due respect, this just ain't right. I am not worthy to pick [fellow nominee] Chick Hall's pick up off a beer-stained barroom floor."
But since Carroll scored more visits to the podium than anyone else, perhaps it's no surprise that he managed the evening's most gracious acceptance speech. After being named songwriter of the year, he encouraged his fellow musicians: "Don't be intimidated by a song you think you could never have written. Write your own song."
-- CHRIS KLIMEK
Updated to correct earlier version that shorted Jon Carroll's trophy tally.
And the winners were . . .
Artist of the Year: Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band
Musician of the Year: Jon Carroll
WAMA/SAW Songwriter of the Year: Jon Carroll
Album of the Year: "Dose," Billy Coulter
Song of the Year: "Party of One," Billy Coulter
Video of the Year: "Radio Retaliation," Thievery Corporation
New Artist of the Year: Prabir and the Substitutes
Debut Recording: "Chopteeth," Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band
A Cappella Group: Tone Rangers
A Cappella Recording: "Power Up," Cartoon Johnny
Big Band/Swing Group: Natty Beaux
Big Band/Swing Vocalist: Esther Haynes
Big Band/Swing Recording: "That's It!" Brooks Tegler
Bluegrass Vocalist: Dede Wyland
Bluegrass Duo/Group: Dead Men's Hollow
Bluegrass Instrumentalist: Ira Gitlin
Bluegrass Recording: "Death Must Be A Woman," Dead Men's Hollow
Traditional Blues/R&B Female Vocalist: Mary Shaver
Traditional Blues/R&B Male Vocalist: Tommy Lepson
Traditional Blues/R&B Duo/Group: The Nighthawks
Traditional Blues/R&B Instrumentalist: Daryl Davis
Traditional Blues/R&B Recording: "Raising The Roof!" Tom Principato Band
Caberet/Musical Theater Artist: The Capitol Steps
Children's Music Artist: Rocknoceros
Children's Music Recording: "I Used to Know the Names of All the Stars," Kid Pan Alley
Choral Group: The Choral Arts Society of Washington
Classical Instrumentalist: Phil Mathieu
Classical Vocal Soloist: Rosa Lamoreaux
Classical Chamber Ensemble: Folger Consort
Classical Orchestral Ensemble: Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Classical Conductor/Director: Marin Alsop
Classical Recording: "Chamber Music With Guitar," Phil Mathieu
Classical Composer: Thomas Beveridge
Country Vocalist: Ruthie Logsdon
Country Duo/Group: Ruthie and the Wranglers
Country Instrumentalist: Ira Gitlin
Country Recording Album: "Fort Worth - Dallas," Honky Tonk Confidential
Electronica Vocalist: Bob Mould
Electronica Performing Artist (Live): Thievery Corporation
Electronica DJ: Thievery Corporation
Electronica Artist/Producer (Studio): Thievery Corporation
Electronica Recording: "Brief Episodes of Joy," Arthur Loves Plastic
Electronica Emeritus Award: Bev Stanton
Contemporary Folk Vocalist: Carey Creed
Contemporary Folk Duo/Group: Eddie from Ohio
Contemporary Folk Instrumentalist: Avril Smith
Contemporary Folk Recording (tie): "Peace of Wild Things," Carey Creed; "True North," Lisa Taylor
Traditional Folk Vocalist: Grace Griffith
Traditional Folk Duo/Group: Squeeze Bayou
Traditional Folk Instrumentalist: Marcy Marxer
Traditional Folk Recording (tie): "Blue Moonlight," Loralyn Coles; "Comedians and Angels," Tom Paxton
Go Go Talker: Lil Benny
Go Go Duo/Group: Mambo Sauce
Go Go Instrumentalist: Cherie Mitchell
Gospel/Inspirational Vocalist: Esther Williams
Gospel/Inspirational Duo/Group: The Braeded Chord
Gospel/Inspirational Recording: "The Reason," Melody Barnes
Jazz Vocalist: Esther Haynes
Jazz Duo/Group: Larry Brown Trio
Jazz Instrumentalist: Seth Kibel
Jazz Recording: "Heart Song," Al Williams III
Latin Vocalist: Cecilia Esquivel
Latin Duo/Group: Rumba Club
Latin Recording: "Triumfal," QuinTango
Rap/Hip-Hop Rapper: Christylez Bacon
Rap/Hip-Hop Duo/Group: Cornel West Theory
Rap/Hip-Hop Recording: "Advanced Artistry," Christylez Bacon
Reggae Vocalist: Jacob Hemphill
Reggae Instrumentalist: Tuff Lion
Reggae Duo/Group: Jah Works
Modern Rock Vocalist: Margot MacDonald
Modern Rock Duo/Group: Fools and Horses
Modern Rock Instrumentalist: Shane Hines
Modern Rock Recording: "I Am the Ghost," Fools and Horses
Pop Rock Vocalist: Jon Carroll
Pop Rock Instrumentalist: Jon Carroll
Pop Rock Duo/Group: Jon Carroll and Love Returns
Pop Rock Recording:
"Underground," Dave Kitchen "Live Returns," Jon Carroll and Love Returns
Roots Rock Vocalist: Billy Coulter
Roots Rock Instrumentalist: Dave Chapell
Roots Rock Duo/Group: Junkyard Saints
Roots Rock Recording: "Dose," Billy Coulter
Urban Contemporary Vocalist: Julia Nixon
Urban Contemporary Duo/Group: Julia and Company
Urban Contemporary Instrumentalist: Benjie Porecki
Urban Contemporary Recording: "Love Behind," Raheem DeVaughn
World Music Vocalist: Mike Surratt
World Music Duo/Group: Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band
World Music Instrumentalist: Seth Kibel
World Music Recording: "Chopteeth," Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band
Fan Favorite: Wicked Jezebel
Record Design: "I Am the Ghost," Fools and Horses
Recording Studio: Bias Recording
Manager of the Year: Tom Carrico
Washington Area Record Company: Azalea City Recordings
Producer of the Year (tie): John Jennings; Marco Delmar
Live Sound Engineer: Danny Schwartz
Studio Engineer: Bill Wolf
Artist Website: www.nilslofgren.com by Linda Bangham, Rip Bang Pictures
Executive of the Year: Jean Bayou, President, Songwriters' Association of Washington
Most Supportive of Washington Music: Ron Goad
Hall of Fame: Buck Hill
Hall of Fame: Elizabeth Cotton
Hall of Fame: Mississippi John Hurt
Special Recognition: Dick Morgan
Special Appreciation: Nap Turner
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