No. 17

November 01, 2014

In December 2014 Maryland will hold its first Maryland Music Awards at Rams Head Live in Baltimore. This will be a televised event that is scheduled to be an hour and a half special on Fox TV after Super Bowl week 2015. The purpose of this event is not only to acknowledge the great musical talent and community that Maryland has to offer, but also to raise money to help children with cancer through the Nicole Ban Horn trust fund. Fans nominated both bands and single performers in various categories of musical styles. Those nominees were then voted on by a large panel of judges consisting of industry players ranging from radio, tv, producers, and artists. Unfortunately, as usual the styles of metal music were under covered, mostly omitted from the selections which were more oriented towards rock, country, gospel, jazz, and hip-hop/r&b

Some of the panel judges were Dave Grohl …Foo Fighters, John Grant …Owner Secret Sound Studios, Paul Reed Smith ….CEO PRS Guitars, Drew Mazurek … Producer / Engineer, Paul Manna … CEO 24/7 Entertainment/Concert Promoter, Vance Van Horn … President Sheffield Studios, Grammy voting member, Al Panye … 92Q Music Director, Tony Correlli … Owner of Deep End Studios, George Grimaldi … Senior Worldwide Music Manager Sony Music ATV, Rob Baier … Starleigh Entertainment, Matt Davis … Host of 98 Rocks Noise in the Basement, Tom Lipsky … CEO Loud and Proud Records, Dave Labrozzi … Music Director CBS Radio, Spam … Music Director / WHFS, Steve Wright … Owner Wrightway Studios, and many others. The awards ceremony will take place live from Ramshead with performances by The American Rouges, Barley Juice, PRS Band, Ex Musiq Group, Charm City Devils, Dean Crawford, Ruut, Rob Fahey, Ballyhoo, and Connor Brendan. The show will be hosted by comedian Mickey Cuechiella

Before I list the finalists here, I'd like to mention that the finalists were announced via a YouTube video, the link is below. No where that I could find was any text based list of these finalists made available by the Maryland Music Awards. Very unprofessional. The list below is provided as well as could be verbally transcribed, surely there are some spelling discrepancies, and the names of at least three finalists could not be understood well enough to include in the list below. Thankfully some of the finalists made posts on the MMA Facebook page andI was able to get the correct spellings from there. The finalists for "Music Icon" are Crack the Sky, Rob Fahey , Kay Swift, and Kelly Bell Band. The finalists for "Cover Band" are Hot Tub Limo, Leather and Lace, Mispent Youth, No Green Jelly Beans, and The Piranhas. The finalists for "Maryland Rock band" are 2912 Tribe, Ballyhoo, Crack the Sky, Fiction 20 Down, and Night's Bridge. The finalist for "Greatest Contributer to the Maryland Music Scene" are Matt Davis, Paul Manna, Louie Priscipio, and Paul Reed Smith. The finalists for "Live Performer" are Ashley Forrest, Ballyhoo, Fiction Twenty Down, John Kay Band, Julian Russo, and Sarah Gray. Finalist for "Hip Hop" are Ryan Collins, Relentless Dre, Philip Hartley, and JD Polo. The finalists for "Country" are Dean Crawford, Richie Fields, Eric Karg, Drivin' Muzzy, and Wesley Spangler,. The finalists for "Jazz" are David Bach, Ama Shandra, Romba Club, Carl Filipiak, and Tom Reyes. The finalist for "Breakout Artist" are Fiction Twenty Down, Richie Fields, Eric Gray, Eric Karg, and Shawn Owen. The finalists for "Songwriter" are Dean Crawford, Eric Karg, Jordan Catlally Shawn Owen, and Julian Russo. The finalists for "Gospel" are Aaron Harris, Gospel Persuaders, The Hebrew Boys, The MD Gospel Choir, and Singing Disciples. The finalists for "DJ" are Bass Dread, DJ KJ, and Lady L. You can click on the video link below to hear the announcement of these finalists for yourself.

When I first heard they were putting on the first ever Maryland music awards I was quite excited about this, but the more I looked at the specifics, the more questionable it looked. As has been my constant complaint about the local music scene in Maryland, here again we have an event tied to a non-music related charity, which hardly benefits the music artists, and is sponsored by people who appear to be more into it for their own celebrity. The fact that a large portion of the Maryland music scene falling into the styles of hard rock and metal music have been ignored completely with these awards is appalling. I almost have to question the nomination process, for in what universe are Kix not in the top five nominees for "Music Icon" for Maryland ? It is nothing far from half-ass that within thirty days of this event happening, advertisements, articles, and lists of the finalists have not been published and circulating to support these artists. What is more appalling is that in the list of panel judges elected by these awards, among the local judges none of them have supported these artists by announcing the finalists. It is noticeable that the 98 Rock website has no information regarding this event, or the finalists. I won't mention names but there were at least two panel judges who work for local music magazines who also gave no coverage to this announcement of the finalists.The phrase "support local music" doesn't mean make an appearance for your own celebrity. Actually support the artists and these events, by reporting on their news and giving them press. In this case, it seems its not about the awards, the music, or the artists, its about raising money for a charity, how many local celebrity names can be added to the panel of judges to invoke more interest for the charity, and maybe even electing artists who were current crowd drawing acts to invoke more ticket sales for the charity. Ramshead Live who is hosting the event and selling tickets, also does not report on the finalists, giving description of this event strictly with information only on the charity and those artists performing at the event. I hate to look at it this way, but how else am I to perceive this when no one involved is promoting the finalists, the music artists this was supposed to be about, still within a month of the event.

Overall, I am pretty disappointed in how these first music awards for Maryland have played out so far. It should have been done right, with every one promoting it, open to all genres, and to the full financial benefit of the music artists. The event happens on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 at Ramshead Live. Doors open at 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm. Tickets are $25 GA; $50 VIP. This event will supposedly be filmed and then televised after the coming Super Bowl 2015. Hopefully, after its airing I might find some more encouraging things to say about it.

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