By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Best Buddha impersonation:
John Yarling, although if he keeps losing weight, we're going to have to retire this award and just talk about what a great drummer he is.
Jekyll and Hyde award:
Doc Wiley, musical director at Washington Square. There is no shortage of musicians convinced that Snow White mixed this Doc up with Grumpy.
Best band to utilize tin whistle, mandolin, and tamborine in the same song:
Only band to utilize tin whistle, mandolin, and tamborine in the same song:
How did you guess?
Best band fronted by a pair of female singer/guitarists steeped in neo-Sixties acid-rock traditionalism, featuring a Cuban-American drummer with a Vegas headliner's on-stage persona, a veteran percussionist who has been to the big time and back and looks like a vampire caught in the noonday sun, and a self-taught, card-counting, ex-semipro-hockey-playing Irish bassist named after a fabled English knight:
Blizzy Nation, with drummer Zaido Cruz, percussionist Guille Garcia, guitarists/vocalists Chris Limardo and Kathi Gibson, and bass player Lancelot O'Blarney.
Best aforementioned Irish bassist who could have handily won the Mongolian drinking contest in Raiders of the Lost Ark and played three sets of Zeppelin covers afterward:
Songwriter least likely to get screwed out of royalties:
Joe Imperato, practicing attorney by day, folk singer by night (the Source).
Best folk singer nobody ever heard of, male:
This is a tough one. Peter Betan, August Campbell, Robert Wuagneux, Dennis Britt, Nick Macina, and Louis Archambeau are all talented acoustic performers, but much to their relief, they don't score high enough on the obscurity meter to merit this award. David Andrews, a powerful vocalist familiar to regulars of the acoustic Monday nights at the Square, has enormous potential, but he needs a few years of scrabbling for low-paying (or no-paying) gigs to add some rough-edge credibility to his act. We hate to weasel out, but we're going to have to split this award between Jim Baumann, prototypical laid-back singer/songwriter with a knack for making anyone he sits in with sound like a million bucks, and Lou Jurika, a man with a voice as clear and crystalline as a Vienna choirboy's locked in a body that came of legal drinking age on the cruise to Plymouth Rock.
Best folk singer nobody ever heard of, female:
Diane Ward. Okay, okay, we know she's not really obscure as the front person for local original rockers the Wait. But as a solo acoustic act she's completely different, less a femme fatale and more a tortured soul with a voice that could bring tears to the eyes of a robot. To hear her sing "For My Baby" or "Bang Bang Superman" is to realize just how powerful the ancient combination of one unadorned guitar and one incredible voice still is. Mary Karlzen, who played bass and sang for Vesper Sparrow in a previous life, is also right up there, and her new solo CD (produced in collaboration with many of the same folks responsible for the Mavericks' independently released disc) may well catapult her into the big time. You heard it here first.
Best non-Latin percussionist:
This one essentially boils down to a two-man race, between Glenn Caruba of Iko-Iko and Steve "Grandpa" Kornicks of just about everywhere else. Caruba's claim to fame is an imposing, gleaming percussion cage, inside of which hangs an impressive array of esoteric noisemakers. Kornicks's arsenal also comes with all the bells and whistles, not to mention shakers, rattles, chimes, or clickety-clack little things that God knows what they're called. Half the fun of seeing these guys live is just checking out the toys. But make no mistake, both are accomplished skin-slappers who do the rest of us rhythmless Anglos proud.
Management team with best shot at a WWF tag-team crown:
Best hair, male:
As any student of rock history knows, hair makes the band. Granted, female performers can still wield cleavage to great advantage, but for most rockers hair rules. We were about to name Jose Tillan, the bass player for Forget the Name, for his dark, curly locks, but we decided to go out on a limb for this award and select someone a little more avant, a trailblazer rather than a trendfollower. Therefore our choice for best hair is a tie between Lou Jurika and Robert Wuagneux, for their forays into utilitarian minimalism,
a style that a large percentage of men in the music business (including yours truly) are copying or will be in the not-too-distant future.
Best hair, female:
Tara Solomon, the karaoke goddess, for sheer verticality. Eat your hearts out, B-52's.
Best hair, band:
The Goods. Maybe this category should be renamed "Best Necks," because these guys toss their tresses around with such abandon that one of the thrills of catching them in concert is the constant threat that their melons are going to come unglued and go flying out into the audience, killing hundreds of innocent fans.
Most difficult personnel decision to accept at face value:
The Mavericks' firing of Ben Peeler. The company line is that Peeler either couldn't or wouldn't play country enough. He was country enough to get them the MCA deal, though, and if there's a more tasteful, versatile player around we'd have a hard time naming him/her. The Mavericks are great, no question; when you try to think of someone to compare Raul Malo's vocals and songwriting to, it is hard not to mention names like Clint Black or Garth Brooks, high praise indeed. But the timing of the decision to release Peeler, and the obvious reluctance with which Peeler acknowledges the band's official explanation of "artistic differences," reek of a most unpleasant odor.