No. 28

November 01, 2015

Last year in December 2015 the first ever Maryland Music Awards (MMA) was held in Baltimore at Ramshead Live. The event was the creation of Vance Van Horn, owner of Sheffield Recording Studios, as a charity event in the name of the Nicole Van Horn Trust, a non-profit fund raising foundation for his daughter who died in 1997 of cancer at the age of 14. We voiced our concerns that the nomination categories lacked coverage of the genres of metal music, instead focusing on those of pop, rock, jazz, etc. that were more mainstream. Maryland being a vibrant source of metal music, no music award event would be complete without the inclusion of the metal genres. Some progress has been made with this years nominations including one category for "Best Metal Band". This is still lacking as I dare say that lumping thrash metal with that of death metal is like comparing apples and oranges. Needless to say we are glad to see some inclusion for metal music so we urge everyone to go to the Maryland Music Awards website at and vote for your favorite metal band.

Van Horn's decision to not include rap and death metal as part of the MMA has received some criticism in the local music scene in Baltimore since, both genres are well represented in the area. Van Horn’s response, according to an article in the Carroll County Live, was that the dark messages of these genres do not pair well with the MMA’s ultimate goal of raising money and awareness to the plight of children with cancer. He says ” I won’t and can’t promote that on TV. ” What is one to make of these statements ? Should those who embrace the genres of rap and death metal not support charities because it doesn't fit well with their goal of raising money for children with cancer ? There are plenty of death metal bands in Maryland playing events in support of charities, take a look at Silence the Blind. A great band, that supports charities and whose music is deserved of a nomination for a Maryland music award. Van Horn's message seems clear that this event is less about the bands and music awards, being more about him raising money for his own charity. Shouldn't it be the other way around ? I find the whole thing to be very biased and unfair to local musicians. From a look at the artists nominated last year, is it coincidence that the majority are bands/artists working with Sheffield Recording Studios ? Is that not borderline conflict of interest ? Is it right to hold an awards under the moniker of "Maryland" while excluding bands because they don't fit what television deems as unfit for airiing ? Couldn't these outed artists be nominated, be given opportunity to win in certain relative categories, but be excluded from performances on the televised recordings of the awards event if indecencies were an issue ? Maybe it should be called the Nicole Van Horn Music Awards instead of the Maryland Music Awards. I mean no disrespect to the charity in saying that.

Among the voting panel are : Frank Johnson…National Director at Atlantic Records , John Grant …Owner Secret Sound Studios , Paul Reed Smith ….CEO PRS Guitars , Keith Larsen… Owner Mid Atlantic Drum , Steve Huber … Music Director 98 Rock , Drew Mazurek … Producer / Engineer , Jake Mossman … Head Audio Engineer Sheffield Studios , Paul Manna … CEO 24/7 Entertainment/Concert Promoter , Steve Wright … Owner Wrightway Studios , Spam … Music Director / WHFS , Ed Petterson … Owner Omega Studios , Vance Van Horn … President Sheffield Studios, Grammy voting member , and many others in the music business.

Organizers insist that you don’t complain about not seeing your favorite act on the list if you haven’t bothered to vote. There is a category for Best Metal Band in this years nominations so its time to stand up, voice your opinion, and place your vote. Deadline for nominations is December 15th, so get a move on it. Let's bring metal music to these awards, it will only happen with your vote.

Feature Pics

Maryland Music Awards 2015.

Maryland Music Awards 2015.

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