Wammies boosts region's music

Scene Clubs Bars Nightlife

February 03, 2005|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF

There won't be a red carpet, and local jewelers won't lend shimmering baubles to the nominees. But Monday's black-tie ceremony announcing the winners of the Washington Area Music Awards - aka the Wammies - is sure to generate local buzz.

This year, about one-third of the 700 awards nominations went to bands, artists and producers with Maryland roots.

The annual awards program recognizes music professionals on the Washington scene (which is loosely defined to include Virginia and Maryland). The ceremony will be held at the newly opened Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda.

Categories include "Band of the Year" and "Song of the Year" (the word "best" is avoided) and recognize musicians in specific genres. Awards also go to behind-the-scenes talent including sound engineers, producers, Web site designers and studio executives.

The 1,000 members of the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) nominate artists and vote for the winners, but nominees do not need to be members of the organization. Each year, roughly half the winners are nonmembers, said Mike Schreibman, who founded WAMA.

"Winning is a credential," said Schreibman. But he's modest about the importance of the award. "For some groups, it is very meaningful and helps with their career, and with other groups it is not," he said.

Previous Wammie winners include folk artist Mary Chapin Carpenter, rock acts Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Pat McGee Band and Fugazi.

And while a Wammie alone won't propel an artist to heights, it can be helpful in landing good gigs, said Kris Stevens, who selects acts for Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis and the new Rams Head Live in Baltimore.

Publicists agree. "The organization has a lot of credibility," said Randy Alexander, who books national and regional bands. "It is not a ticket to stardom, but as a local gauge goes, it is always going to help."

There are other local awards for specific types of music. Local magazine Music Monthly publishes an annual readers poll that honors regional and national bands.

But the Wammies are the most comprehensive awards in the region.

And, even though the event doesn't glitter like the Grammys, people in the music scene look forward to it.

"It is a nice industry schmoose, a nice opportunity to hang out," said Tom Kericko, a talent manager at Studio One Artists.

Musicians look forward to networking with representatives from labels, agents and bookers who attend.

And, picking up an award is always good for the ego.

"Creative people work long and hard hours for very little return," said Kericko. "It is helpful to be recognized by your peers."

The 19th annual Washington Area Music Awards will be at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. The ceremony starts at 8 p.m. Monday. Visit http://wamadc.com. Tickets are $10-$50.

For more club events, see Page 27.

Wammie nominees

Musician of the Year

Benjie Porecki

Bonnie Rideout

Brooks Tegler

Dave Chappell

Dave Giegerich

Deanna Bogart

Ira Gitlin

Jennifer Cutting

Raheem Devaughn

Robbie Magruder

Ron Holloway

Shirley Horn

Steve Wolf

Wade Matthews

Song of the Year

America by Head-Roc

Babe Ruth's Piano, Ruthie and the Wranglers and Greg Hardin

Beautiful Ways, Pat McGee Band

Call of the Siren, Polly Bolton and Jennifer Cutting

Daddy's Old Guitar, Randy Waller

Fly Away, Margot MacDonald

I Want To Take You With Me, Patty Reese

No Bomb Is Smart, SONiA

Party With the Rich, Alan Mac Ewen

Passion, Oktbrwrld and Adwoa Spencer

Stay, Andy Zipf

Thank You Mommy, Rhodes Tavern Troubadours and Jake Flack

For a full list of nominations visit http://wamadc.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.