Congratulations to all who were nominated last night! And a big thank you to those who contributed their time to make the awards show happen. I know a lot of local musicians really appreciated the effort and accolades displayed last night. Events like the New England Music Awards are a really great way for local and regional acts to be exposed to new audiences, and one another…not to mention the amount of support from the community it builds!
The first performer of the night was the Ron Noyes Band from New Hampshire, who ended up winning a Best in State award. The band collaborated with John Popper of Blues Traveler on their second album, “Dust Bowl Diary”. I had spoken to Tad Kinchla of Blues Traveler a few years ago about performing in New England, so I was curious as to how the collaboration came about. When asked, Ron Noyes said that Popper had obtained a copy of their previous album and then went to one of their shows, about 4-5 years ago. They ended up becoming friends and asked him to join them on the album.
When asked about his musical influences, Noyes mentioned Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, and even mentioned listening to Wu-Tang Clan growing up!
Jen Kearney, who was nominated as Best R&B/Soul act, gave an amazing performance. One audience member turned to me and said, “What range! I wish I could sing like that”. Kearney’s vocals were rich and her keyboard accompaniment (which she performed herself, along with guitar later on), was rather lush as well. Her lyrics provided vivid imagery. A few compared her to Fiona Apple, which I definitely heard as well.
Mission Hill also performed, showcasing a range of musical ability, energy, and great band dynamics. Their lead singer, Jensen, interacted with the audience quite a bit and drew the audience in. How many bands can get a room full of people singing along to a song about ‘backstabbing b*tches’? You guessed right, Mission Hill can! However, I appreciated that the song was not a smorgasbord of screaming, thrashing, or redundancies. The songwriting ability from this band was not in question at all, and they concluded with a very interesting cover of “All Along the Watchtower”.
I also spoke to DR and yO B of FLYiZ, who were there to support Gang of Thieves (Best in State, Vermont). Hailing from New York, DR and yO B cited different influences ranging from parents who were classical musicians, sibling musicians who are into jazz, and living in the Bronx and having hip-hop ‘instilled’ in their lives that way.
Lastly, a big thank you to Boston’s Hard Rock Cafe for holding the event. Staff were wonderful and patient with the masses and loud noises at the Cavern Club, and bartenders were nice enough to make sure my food was meat free!
I’d also like to give a shout out to Bad Trick and I am sorry I was not able to stay for your set!
More photos can be seen on LaParadiddle’s Facebook page.
The final list of awards presented are as follows:
Ragtop Angel/Adam Ezra Group
Songwriter of the Year
Song of the Year
Takin Off/Adam Ezra Group
The Suicide Dolls
Producer of the Year
Jazz Act of the Year
Roots/Folk/Americana Act of the Year
Hot Day at The Zoo
Indie/Rock/Pop Act of the Year
Ryan Montbleau Band
Blues/RB/Soul Act of the Year
Room Full of Blues
Country Act of the Year
Hip Hop/New Age/Techno Act of the Year
“Best in State”
Tower and The Fool
Ron Noyes Band
Gang of Thieves