Artwork by Billie Buck
If you are unfamiliar with Greek mythology or Harry Potter, the fiery red bird on the poster means to indicate – we’re back. As created by the winner of Best Poster Artist Billie Buck, a hat-trick cowgirl rides a phoenix riding like a wild horse. That’s how excited we are to release our boots, dresses and suits to keep the 40-year tradition of the Austin Music Awards functioning.
After valiant efforts of Music Editor Kevin Curtin to hand out last year’s COVID-era awards in his van, the annual event returns in-person on March 8. After touring the grounds since its launch in Clubfoot in 1983, and more recently a move to Moody Theaterthe event tests the legendary club Riverside Emo’s for the first time. Tickets are on sale now for $25, with proceeds going to the SIMS Foundation. Find information on austinchronicle.com/austinmusicawards.
Also for the first time, the the Chronicle the music team works with a local music device Paul Minor – known for engineering/reservation at Hole in the wall and the ABGB – as the show’s producer. If there is such a thing as an Austin Music Awards EGOTMinor takes the cake like a Hall of fame inductee, award show performer, winner of Best Live Sound Engineer and long-time AMA champion. This year’s emcees are another novelty: infinitely enthusiastic KUTX radio host Taylor Wallace with the acerbic comedian and music lover from Austin Avery Mooreparty veteran like FunFunFun and moon tower.
Along with the grand reveal of the audience-voted winners in categories like Group of the Year and Best New Act, the show brings together a stellar roster of artists from all genres and generations. The jam-packed variety show, full of special guests, tributes and treats, features about as many past and current AMA nominees as possible.
After the acclaimed release of last year’s second album Shisha Summitfuture-cumbia group silver shisha invites singer-songwriters Kiko Villamizar and Gina ChavezAustin-made Latin’s own custom contributions. Fearlessly carrying the torch of Texas blues since the age of 15, Carolyn wonderland celebrate the gripping 2021 album tempting fate in a shared set with a soul rock duo Greyhounds. The collaboration promises surprising special guests, as does a performance by an infectious R&B-pop crew Mr Womanled by the velvet voice wild child and gazebo Star Kelsey Wilson.
Rapper/singer Bastrop Deezie Brownwhich marked last year with a nostalgic Southern-centric collab Getto Galabrings its own thrilling line-up – including the Best Bassist nominee Marcus Bell. Gen Z brother act We don’t ride llamas also makes his AMA debut after spirited appearances in Chicago riot party and tours as a direct support for Willow Smith. The four-part family band was also nominated for Best Metal Band.
Along with the present of Austin’s music, the show also pays homage to legends lost over the past two years. Hosted by Austin Violinist/Vocalist Extraordinary Beth Chrisman (Missy Beth and the Afternoons, the Carper family), the james handlers pay homage to the late country troubadour with supreme honky-tonkers Chrisman, Corey Baum (Croy and the boys), Jake Penrodand fast sparks. Before, minimalist folk duo Little Mazarnwho never found a cover he couldn’t magically reinvent, pays tribute to a famous creator of folk and country songs Nanci Griffith.
Enhancing experimental fusion, Lindsey Verrill and Jeff Johnson from Little Mazarn join the percussionist/vibraphonist/spreader-of-joy-and-mischief Thor Harris and innovative cellist/composer Joey Reyes in a special pre-show instrumental set. The awards ceremony, which will begin at 7:55 p.m. sharp, is presented by the Society for the Preservation of Music of Texas, The Austin Chronicleand Capital Metro.
Sincerely and host Kevin Curtin at the Austin Music Industry Awards, supported by the Berkshire Hounds. (photo by Jana Birchum)
Industry Awards Recall What’s to Love About Austin Music
With a budget battered by a pandemic year, perhaps an apt reflection of the creative sector as a whole, the Austin Music Industry Awards bravely ventured where we had never been before.
Precisely, the undeveloped land adjoining the the Chronicle offices, on a wooden stage flanked by the volleyball court and overshadowed by a self-storage facility. To our surprise, Austin industry reps may have enjoyed the laid-back digs more than the old Emo scene – calling it old Austin, very 80s. A few compared the shindig sunny Sunday afternoon at an outdoor wedding, and certainly had some love to share for Austin on stage.
Instead of speeches on the podium, they lay on the sofa as guests on the Chronicle Music editor Kevin Curtin’s new cable access talk show, Couch locked. (The most comfortable sofa squish goes to the six staff members of the best music nonprofit HAAM.) Co-host Mike Wiebe appeared bandaged and bloodied, coming out of a coma so Curtin and fake stage producer Sarah Wolf could catch up with him on all the terrible things that have happened in the past two years.
From the plague and the NFTs, the saddest audience “aww” came for a reference to the closure of 2020 Barracuda.
Passage of Curtin’s old green plastic bong, which unfortunately got clogged during mugwort‘s awarded Best New Club, infused with extra Austin flavor. Seven years into their tenure as the Industry Awards’ house band, Berkshire dogs stretched punny song picks for repeat winners, like the fit”Waterloooooo” in “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” and reworking the lyrics of Spoonis the single from “The Hardest KUTX”.
The owners of the Best New Club, the Sagebrush, pass Curtin’s bong. (Photo by Jana Birchum)
More love was delivered by the best live sound engineer Jamie Wellwarthveteran of the Bedroom at the back and Club Continental now behind the painting Meanwhile, Brewing Co.bringing his daughter, Uma, on the scene. First Time Winner of Best Music Photographer Jackie Lee Young thanked her fiancé, Derek Daniel Brown of hippie scum, for supporting her recent transition to full-time art. In Loving Memory of the Austin Artist Nanci GriffithI read his fantastical and poetically scathing 1998 open letter to the Texas music press.
As successor to Jean Aiellithe long-time driving time slot, that of KUTX Taylor Wallace accepted the legendary Eklektikos Host’s Hall of Fame award: “If you’ve ever been tasked before 9 a.m. with finding a dozen songs on the topics of pie, wind, dirt, or purses, you’ve may have been John Aielli’s producer,” Wallace said.
Aielli himself, who retired from the air in 2020, sent in a sweet video from home. After mentioning some of his favorite artist interviews – Shinyribs, Asleep at the wheel, Fragile graves, Tameca Jones, Atashand Peter Bay – the host added, “I just kept you up to date with what was going on and played you some great tunes, and maybe had a life comment or two that deserved your attention. “
In the struggling music economy of the past two years, declaring your love for Austin can feel like an act of resilience. Winner of Best Radio Personality Laurie Gallardo thanked a friend who had once found a note at the White horse “It actually said ‘Citizens vs. Laurie Gallardo’, because that kept me going.” In a letter read by his wife Celeste Quesadabest producer (and black pumas guitarist) Adrian Quesada joked, “I will always represent Austin, even though I look at real estate outside of it on a daily basis.”
A change from past years in the Best Music Festival category showed the growth and perseverance of Levitationwho returned to downtown Austin in the fall of 2021. Joined by The dark angels member of the group and co-founder of the festival sweet christian, Alex Maas graciously offered the best acceptance of the evening.
“We are extremely grateful to be noticed in this city,” said Maas. “Thank you, because we thought we were much better than Austin city limitsbut now you have checked it.”