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    The Louisville Music Awards were created to be a night of celebration, appreciation, and display of the best music the city has to offer. This year’s production, its second, clearly hit that goal.

    There were new improvements from last year including more categories and local celebrity presenters like Chef Ed Lee and Patrick Henry Hughes.

    The ceremony started with Kyle Meredith, WFPK Music Director and MC for the night, reminding the crowd of the all the great music that has happened over the last year. For example, Meredith mentioned The Pass and their 7’ series, Wax Fang releasing The Astronaut, Jonathan Glen Wood the juggernaut of genre, and White Reaper the punk band who came out of nowhere.

    But there was no time to waste as there were 14 awards to hand out which is more than last year. More awards was one of the strongest feedbacks from last year’s awards show because people believed too many genres were being clumped together or left out entirely.

    Special moments that they capitalized on last year and continued this year were legacy awards. This year they gave the legacy award to Steve Ferguson, a man who guitars skills in the voodoo folk jazz pop rock genre he played were name dropped by the likes of Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck in their day. Ferguson died in 2009 from cancer.

    His wife who accepted in his honor said it best when she said, “Steve was making Louisville weird even before it was a bumper sticker.”

    Wayne Young & the Midwest Creole Ensemble played a three song set of Ferguson songs to commemorate his award.

    Also performing in honor of a musician the city lost was Justin Paul Lewis. Lewis played a short set before the ceremony began for his friend and bandmate Michael Felker who was killed nearly a month ago.  

    Even though the spectrum of sounds from the musicians in the room and on the stage was wide and diverse, during their acceptance speeches all of them gushed over how strong the Louisville music scene has been and continues to be. The winning speeches were not introspective but appreciative. They were appreciative that because of a supportive Louisville music community, they are able to do what they love.

    When accepting for Blues Artist of the Year, one of the members of 100 Proof who moved from Austin, Texas to Louisville 20 years ago said he wasn’t sure if he would stay. Austin is vibrant but he said, “I wasn’t missing anything. Louisville has it all too.”

    While the awards were doing a great job highlighting the performers, it unfortunately gave light to one of Louisville’s biggest music problems: the crowd. While awards were going on, many people (I fear saying the majority, but it might be true) were standing by the bar drinking and carrying on a conversation. Multiple presenters made mention the distraction.

    Get with the program. The event is held to celebrate musicians and you can’t take your lips out of a glass or a conversation long enough to watch people do their thing.

    For years, people have said this is one of Louisville music’s biggest flaws. And its unfortunately a problem the public has to solve not the musicians themselves who are giving their lives on stage.

    What is certain is that from the legacy award winners who have now passed to the contemporary musicians to White Reaper, winners of two awards and who are underage. Louisville past, present, and future continues to shine in this rich music city.

    Complete List of Winners

    Americana Award: Appalatin

    Jazz Artist of the Year: Carly Johnson & Craig Wagner

    Pop/Rock Artist of the Year: Wax Fang

    Bluegrass Artist of the Year: 23 String Band

    Blues Artist of the Year: LaMont Gillispie & 100 Proof

    Live DJ of the Year: OK Deejays

    Cover Band of the Year: Billy Goat Strut Revue

    Hip Hop Artist of the Year: JaLin Roze

    Singer/Songwriter of the Year: Alex Wright

    Best Live Music Venue: Headliners Music Hall

    Classical Music Award: Rachel Grimes

    Engineer/Producer of the Year: Dave Chale

    Metal/Hardcore/Punk Award: White Reaper

    Song of the Year: “Cool” by White Reaper

    Photos by Max Sharp.

    Will Ford's picture

    About Will Ford

    Covering Louisville music like it's the 6 o' clock news. I've covered Forecastle, Louder Than Life, Moontower, Starry Nights, and Louisville music news for 3 years. Follow me @parasiticnoise

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