Area musicians were honored last night at Headliners Music Hall for the second annual Louisville Music Awards. Some of the same names from last year’s list appeared again—Jalin Roze took the top hip-hop honors for the second year in a row, Dave Chale is once again the top producer/engineer, Billy Goat Strut Revue (featuring WFPL’s own Laura Ellis) continues to win in the cover band category, and perennial favorites Wax Fang, who won for song of the year last year, prevailed in the pop/rock category.
Some new names emerged as well, including a strong showing from White Reaper, who won both the metal/punk/hardcore award and song of the year for “Cool,” and pianist/composer Rachel Grimes who bested, among others, the entire Louisville Orchestra, won the first classical music award.
The awards branched out this year, adding categories for classical, jazz, and blues, and splitting the “Roots” category into America and Bluegrass. 23 String Band, which won the “Roots” category last year, took the 2o14 Bluegrass award.
How are the awards decided? A panel of about 50 Academy members (musicians, music writers, bloggers, promoters, professors, and other industry players—the LMAs doesn’t publicize their names) and LMA producers Jaxon Swain and Kathy Hinkebein draw up what Swain calls “a giant pool of artists who have been active this year.” The only hard-and-fast requirement, according to the LMA website, is a strong connection to Louisville/Southern Indiana.
Hundreds of artists emerge from this initial call. Swain and Hinkebein then step back from voting, and academy members select their top four picks from each category to determine the category finalists.
From the list of finalists, each academy member weights their choices. Those votes are tabulated to determine the Academy’s pick for each award, which counts for 2/3 of the category vote. The final 1/3 comes from the public, who are invited to vote as well.
“We had several thousand votes, so we were super excited about that,” said Swain. “In a couple of close categories, this process swayed the vote, so it was exciting.”
Here’s the full list of winners:
Americana Award (Folk, Country): Appalatin
Live DJ of the Year: OK Deejays
Bluegrass Artist of the Year: 23 String Band
Blues Artist of the Year: Lamont Gillispie and 100 Proof Blues
Classical Music Award: Rachel Grimes
Cover Band of the Year: Billy Goat Strut Revue
Engineer/Producer of the Year: Dave Chale
Hip Hop Artist of the Year: Jalin Roze
Jazz Artist of the Year: Carly Johnson and Craig Wagner
Metal/Hardcore/Punk Award: White Reaper
Pop/Rock Artist of the Year: Wax Fang
Singer/Songwriter of the Year: Alex Wright
Song of the Year: “Cool,” White Reaper
People’s Choice Award — Best Live Music Venue: Headliners Music Hall