The red carpet at the 2014 Madison Area Music Awards.
The 11th annual Madison Area Music Awards were filled with moving moments and heartfelt speeches, and more than a few laughs, especially as presenters and genial host John Urban made the best of a few technical issues regarding the teleprompter and the screen that listed the award recipients.
There weren't many glitches on the red carpet: Musicians sported looks from Midwestern-boy-or-girl-next-door to theatrical hard-rock styles. Even the costumed metal band Lords of the Trident incorporated matching ties into their otherwise otherworldly attire.
A rousing performance by hip-hop group Rip kicked off the night, as they got the crowd's hearts racing with rap, violin and powerful vocal combos in "What You Gonna Do?" Other standout performances included a salsa number by Son Contrabando and an unforgettable classical and hip-hop medley by the Madison Music Makers String Ensemble, a selection of talented young people studying music through the Madison Music Makers program.
Many references to the Madison Area Music Association's charity work dominated the evening, with award recipients frequently citing the noble cause of music education.
"Your money is putting instruments into my students' hands, and we can't thank you enough," a choked-up Ben Jaeger said as he accepted an award for Teacher of the Year.
Venus in Furs, winner of the award for Rock Performer, also credited Girls Rock Camp with "teaching women how to shred." It was a great night for female musicians in many ways: Breakout star Annabel Lee, winner of the MAMAs' first breakthrough artist competition, cleaned up with five awards, including female vocalist, electronic song and performer of the year, and pop/R&B album. She also delivered a killer vocal performance of "Pray" that made the audience go wild. Folk artist Ida Jo took home the awards for both folk song and performer.
Speeches were as entertaining as the artists, ranging from the high-decibel (Lords of Trident, winners of the hard-rock category, read "Woooooo!" from a "prepared speech") to the moving. MusicNotes songwriter of the year Jim Schwall made a short-and-sweet speech emphasizing how humbled he was to share the award with the previous recipient, the late Marques Bovre, then quipped, "And that's about the best I can do without making it rhyme and slipping in a guitar solo."
Making a strong comeback was longtime Madison musician Kyle Henderson, who took both male vocalist and album of the year for Brand New Chance, in addition to wrapping up the evening with a terrific blues-rock performance.
"This is coming at a time when I needed this affirmation," he said in a heartfelt acceptance speech. On the other end of the career spectrum, a young Gabe Burdulis proved he's a rising star to watch, taking awards in several of the youth categories (male vocalist, album and specialty instrument) and snagging new artist of the year.
Past winners also made an appearance on the awards podium. The Jimmys took artist of the year for the second year in a row, along with blues performer, blues song and several instrumental categories. Sexy Ester once again won alternative performer of the year. They also nabbed alternative album and song awards this year. And I'm happy to say that Isthmus once again took home a people's choice award for local music publication.
Here's the list of award recipients.
Alternative Album: Sexy Ester - Monomania
Alternative Performer: Sexy Ester
Alternative Song: Sexy Ester - "Holding On"
Blues Album: Kyle Henderson - Brand New Chance
Blues Performer: The Jimmys
Blues Song: The Jimmys – "Big Fat Woman"
Classical Album: Graminy - Germinations: A Bluegrass Symphony in D
Classical Performer: Joe Sokolinsky
Classical Song: Graminy - "March of the Cranes"
Country/Bluegrass Album: The Dang-Its - A Lick of Sense
Country/Bluegrass Performer: Madison County
Country/Bluegrass Song: The Family Business - "Chances"
Electronic Album: Midas Bison - Wavey Daze
Electronic Performer: Annabel Lee
Electronic Song: Annabel Lee - "Pray"
Folk/Americana Album: Mark Croft - Live at Shake Rag Alley
Folk/Americana Performer: Ida Jo
Folk/Americana Song: Ida Jo - "For Better or for Worse"
Hard Rock/Punk Album: Lords of the Trident - Plan of Attack
Hard Rock/Punk Performer: Lords of the Trident
Hard Rock/Punk Song: Lords of the Trident - "Complete Control"
Hip-Hop Album: Conscious Object - Sourcery
Hip-Hop Performer: Conscious Object
Hip-Hop Song: Kicksville - "Shriveled Soul"
Jazz Album: Harmonious Wail - Bohemian Tango
Jazz Performer: Harmonious Wail
Jazz Song: Harmonious Wail - "Bohemian Tango"
Pop/R&B Album: Annabel Lee - Starstruck!
Pop/R&B Performer: Anthony Lamarr
Pop/R&B Song: Sam Lyons - "Before We Fall"
Rock Album: The Family Business - Rock and Roll Machine
Rock Performer: Venus in Furs
Rock Song: Sexy Ester - "The Hotness"
Unique Album: Michael Massey - Dracula, a Rock Ballet
Unique Performer: Sisters Three
Unique Song: Anthony Lamarr - "My Regards"
World Album: Natty Nation - Live at the UW Terrace
World Performer: Natty Nation
World Song: Natty Nation - "Cease Fire"
Artist of the Year: The Jimmys
New Artist: Gabe Burdulis
Compilation Album: Karen Wheelock - Smilin' On
Cover Band Performer: The John Masino Band
Cover Song: Mark Croft - "Dancing in the Dark (Live)"
DJ: Nick Nice
Video of the Year: Beth Kille - "I've Been Accused"
Vocalist, Female: Annabel Lee
Vocalist, Male: Kyle Henderson
Vocals, Ensemble: Natty Nation
Michael St. John Lifetime Achievement Award: Leotha Stanley
Songwriter Award: Jim Schwall
Bassist: John Wartenweiler (The Jimmys) Brass: Darren Sterud (The Jimmys) Drummer/Percussionist: Joey B. Banks Guitarist: Michael Tully (Beth Kille) Keyboardist: Jimmy Voegeli (The Jimmys) Specialty Instrument: Chris Wagoner (Lap Steel) Strings: Mary Gaines (Graminy) Woodwinds: Trevor Hoffman (The Rotation)
People's Choice Awards
Fan of the Year: Sarah Warmke
Live Music Venue: High Noon Saloon
Live Sound Engineer: Lonya Nenashev
Local Music Publication/Blog: Isthmus
Local Radio Personality: Gabby Parsons
Local Radio Station: WORT (89.9 FM)
Local Record Music Store: B-Side Records
Local Recording Studio: Audio for the Arts
Studio Sound Engineer: Mike Zirkel
Packaging: Harmonious Wail
Photographer: John Urban
Producer: Mike Zirkel
Roadie: Ralph Shively
Breakthrough Artist: Annabel Lee
Youth Instrumentalist Awards
Woodwinds: Robert Stein Keyboardist: Adam Gorin Guitarist: Gabe Burdullis Bassist: Dominic Cannarella-Andersen (After the Rain) Drummer/Percussionist: Quinn Mattsson (After the Rain) Specialty: Gabe Burdulis
Youth Non-Genre Awards
Youth Band: After the Rain
Youth Female Vocalist: Helen Feest (The Blue Sundays)
Youth Male Vocalist: Gabe Burdulis
Youth Album: Gabe Burdulis - The Land of Make Believe
Youth Song: The Blue Sundays - "Mary Anne"
Student of the Year: Charlie Collar (Deerfield High School)
Teacher of the Year: Ben Jaeger (James Madison Memorial High School)
Launchpad Madison Regional Finalists
Distant Cuzins After the Rain Gabe Burdulis Band Prom Queen Rejects
1st Chair Program Award Winners
January 2014: Jack Innes February 2014: Maddie Friedman March 2014: Anja Pustaver April 2014: Joshua Prete May 2014: Maggie Schmitt June 2014: Cameron Soot