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Charlotte Music Awards

Booth Playhouse

Nov. 20, 2008http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/vibes/wp-admin/post.php?action=delete&post=1342&_wpnonce=e38378b9b9

The Deal: Second Annual Charlotte Music Awards honors variety of acts from around the Carolinas.

The Good: The opening production of the night was a great showcase of the variety of talent and styles that are present in the region — rock, gospel, hip-hop, Celtic and more. Chuck Boozer did a fine job with hosting the event and kept things going when they hit any speedbumps.

All of the bands did a great job with their performances throughout the night — some of them having a tough time cutting their song down to the three-minute allotment. While some bands told me they only had three minutes, and stuck to it, others went over. It happens.

The show moved quickly and was finished in three hours. Country music artist Jimmy Wayne was present to accept the award for Country Artist of the Year and made a few comments backstage after accepting. Wayne, who grew up in Kings Mountain, said he usually gets back to the area around the holidays. He recently presented an award at the 2008 Country Music Awards and also had a number-one single on the country music charts this year. "I didn't even know these awards existed, but this thing (the award) will make a good belt buckle," Wayne said. "It's amazing to win because there's a lot of competition and really talented people around here. To be recognized on any level is an accomplishment." Wayne says he would have never achieved the success he has today if he hadn't left the area to move to Nashville — "You have to go to where people are watching." He also agreed that Awards shows such as last night's and the recent announcement of two new venues will help bring more eyes to the area.

It was great to see the Lifetime Achievement Award and Reliable Music Award winners present to accept their well-deserved awards — The Spongetones, Maurice Williams, Double Door Inn, Nantucket and Sis Kaplan.

The Bad: You can't help but wonder about hints of nepotism when you watch these awards, as well. As recently as the September 2008, Awards co-founder Jeff Cheen was also the co-publisher of Amps 11, the winner of the Best Music Publication. Awards publicist and stage manager Tina Gibson received the award for Best Music Festival. The Joe Davis Band, winner of Best Male Vocalist, performed at the Morris Jenkins 50th Anniversary Party — Morris Jenkins is the lead sponsor of the awards (not to take anything away from Joe's vocals.) The Blumenthal Arts Center is a class-A facility that is the host of a variety of fantastic shows, but one person asked me — "Did they win because that's where it was held? They have, like, one concert a month." You just have to wonder how it's done... The official explanation is this: "The Charlotte Music Awards has a Board of Advisors who are asked to nominate three artists in each category. Once all the nominations are turned in they are tallied and the winners are the artists who receive the most nominations."

Nothing against Robin Rogers — she released a fine album this year that's been submitted for a few possible Grammy nominations, but I was a bit surprised that it won Best Album cover. It's simply a photo of her.

The Avetts were recognized for Best Americana, but I was surprised that no love was given to Benji Hughes who has been gaining national recognition via tours and magazine spots in Rolling Stone, Blender and Spin. But, everyone has an opinion...

Humorous overkill that Morris-Jenkins logo was lit up on the curtain and the podium that had a sign reading "Morris-Jenkins Charlotte Music Awards Sponsored by Morris-Jenkins."

OK, let's face it — these awards are about the music, the musicians and the people who help support the local scene. So, any bad comments are not directed at the bands or any of the supporters, as they say, it's the thought that counts and there's a lot of potential for this to grow into a fantastic event. Also, glitches happen, so you can't fault anyone for mixups in the order that don't follow the scheduled program.

The Verdict: A better presentation than last year, but there's still some work to be done to lend more legitimacy throughout the local music community. Have an award for "Fans' Choice," get people from the music community — writers, musicians, club owners, record store personnel, etc. — to do the voting for nominees and winners and with SO MANY bands in the Charlotte area, less repetition from category-to-category and year-to-year would show more support for the music scene as a whole. A lot of influential people in the local music scene were either unaware of this year's Awards or just apathetic when I talked to them about it. With more support from within the music community, the awards can grow in the coming years and become an event the entire scene will look forward to.

2008 Charlotte Music Awards Winners:

Best Rock Artist — Luna's Lament

Women in Rock Award — Kim Niption, Luna's Lament

Best Latin Artist — Tropic Culture

Club Owner of the Year — Neal Harper, Milestone

Best Hip Hop Artist — King Carter

Best Gospel Artist — Greater St. James Young Adult Choir

Best Small Venue — The Double Door Inn

Best Large Venue — Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Best Showcase Americana Artist — South 85

Best Americana Artist — The Avett Brothers

Best R&B Artist — Jocelyn Ellis

Best Promoter Award — Larry Farber

Best Radio DJ — Rick Ballew

The First Charlotte Junior Music Award — Coach Q

Best Showcase Blues Award — Contagious Blues Band

Best Blues Artist — Robin Rogers

Reliable Music Award — The Spongetones

Best CD Cover — Robin Rogers

Best Music Publication — Amps 11

Best Music Festival — Tina Gibson “The Summer Concert Series at University Place”

Club Booker of the Year — Micah Davidson, Double Door Inn

Best Country Showcase Artist — Smokey Joe Show

Country Artist of the Year — Jimmy Wayne

Most Promising Artist — Angwish

Best Songwriter — Kathy Osborne, South 85

Best Singer-Songwriter — Jared Allan

Best Southern Rock Artist — Swampdawamp

Best Female Vocalist — Erika Blatnik

Best Male Vocalist — Joe Davis

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