The SAMMIES stage hosted 15 local acts all nominated for Sacramento Area Music Awards in different categories, Thursday night at Ace of Spades. The performances demonstrated the variety, depth and diversity in the music scene.
The indie three-piece, COVE, belted out emotional, soothing and heart wrenching experimental tunes inspired by dreams, while Kyle Rowland Blues Band drove the room to get down with some classic blues riffs.
Newcomers, Shouju Kitten, churned out sugary-sweet pop-punk, James Cavern soulfully crooned and the Element Brass Band (high on their win) closed out the night with an epic New Orleans style party that flooded into the street.
One performer that really stood out, taking home Artist of the Year and Outstanding New Artist, was violinist Joe Kye of Joseph in the Well. Kye played a solo set, looping violin picking, and then singing and playing to create a complex layered sound.
Another musician who cleaned up was Stevie Nader, winning both Outstanding Singer-Songwriter and Release of the Year for his album Boywolf: Grit. He was preparing to play his set when SAMMIE hall of famer, Autumn Sky, announced his win – he recommended everyone take a shot at the bar for him.
SAMMIE organizer Jerry Perry introduced Nader’s set like this:
“You may remember our next act from such moments as winning the previous award or the one before that – or the same two awards last year, plus last year’s new artist award… now let’s enjoy his next memorable moment, ladies and gentlemen, Stevie Nader.”
While some artists are getting attention relatively early in their Sacramento music careers, other waits a while for the recognition. Kris Adams of Life in 24 Frames took home the SAMMIE for Outstanding Indie Artist.
“We’ve been in Sacramento for eight years and this is the first time we’ve been nominated,” said Adams. “We don’t play Sacramento a ton, so I think we’re probably a little bit under the radar here… Getting something like this makes me feel slightly more appreciated in the place where we live. I’ve always felt like maybe our music didn’t fit in here as well as it did in other places – and this makes me feel like it does, which is nice because this is my home.”
If an artist wins an award three times in the same category they enter the SAMMIE Hall of Fame. This year three artists were recognized with that honor, Musical Charis, Mercy Me! and Walking Spanish. They are no longer eligible to be nominated.
Three bands won their third award in a category and will be entering the Sammie Hall of Fame next year, teen-punk rock duo Dog Party, producer Ira Skinner, and hardcore group White Minories.
Nominees are picked by the staff of the Sacramento News and Review and then voted on by readers.
The night closed out with the winners of the Outstanding Jazz Ensemble, Element Brass Band.
“It feels fantastic. We’re performing tonight so that just gives a little extra kick for the performance. We’re all pretty happy about it,” said Joby Morrow, trombone player for Element Brass Band. “We’ve been working pretty hard, practicing quite hard, been in the studio earlier this year – it feels like a nice feather in the cap.”
This is Element Brass Band’s first SAMMIE win.
A little extra kick might have been an understatement; about a dozen musicians crammed onto the stage and pumped up the dwindling crowd at Ace of Spades. As the show came to an end, folks poured into the streets and the band followed and kept playing. People grabbed each other and started dancing – a big grand finale to the 23rd SAMMIES.
THE 2015 SAMMIE WINNERS
Hall of Fame
Artist of the Year
The Nickel Slots
Electronica / Experimental
Color the Sound
Big Sticky Mess
Some Fear None
Life in 24 Frames
Element Brass Band
The Nickel Slots
Joseph in the Well
Punk / Post-punk
Element of Soul
Release of the Year
Stevie Nader and Boywolf: Grit
The Three Way
The Infamous Swanks
Bomba Fried Rice