This article originally appeared in the Kentucky Kernel.
With award season in full swing, Lexington will be rolling out the red carpet on Jan. 29 to honor members of its thriving music scene during the third annual Lexington Music Awards held at the Lyric Theatre.
The event is organized by David McLean, who performs with Gone to the Dogs, teaches guitar at SDML Academy of Guitar and owns Skinny Devil Music Lab, which works in all phases of music, including instruction, performance, booking, recording, producing and more. According to McLean, the idea was something he’d discussed for years, albeit in the context of how difficult it’d be to accomplish.
“Being a self-employed musician, I’m probably a tad less risk averse (and a lot dumber) than the average person, so i figured I’d just do it,” McLean said.
Top honors at the LMAs go to the album of the year, which not only highlights some of Lexington’s top bands, but also the many recording studios in town, including producers and engineers that help curate the magic behind the scenes. Album of the year nominees include The Wooks debut record ‘Little Circles’, All the Little Pieces’ ‘Legend of Lavinia Fisher’, Warren Byrom’s ‘Heavy Makes You Happy’ and Eric Bolander’s ‘Postcards to Myself’.
The Wooks are up for a bevy of other collective and individual awards, including for best song with the track “County Girl”, best country band, and best bassist with band member Roddy Puckett. Fiddler Jesse Wells and banjoist Arthur Hancock are also nominated in the performance category under the strings genre along with renowned cellist Ben Sollee.
Aside from the artists, 2016 was a groundbreaking year for many of Lexington’s music venues. Among them were The Burl and Willie’s Locally Known, two locales nominated for best venue at the LMAs. The Burl opened in July and has brought a plethora of well-established artists to central Kentucky since it’s opening, including My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel, Wheeler Walker Jr., Murder by Death and Blackfoot Gypsies, among others.
After residing for years on Lexington’s north side, Willie’s Locally Known relocated to Southland Drive last year, adding more space, an upgraded food menu and music every night of the week. Other nominees for top venue include Twisted Cork and Austin City Saloon.
The Lexington Music Awards begin at 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the Lyric Theatre. The Twiggenburys will perform at the show as the house band.
Drummer: Rick Warner, Jeff Frohlich, Ryan McQuerry, Robby Cosenza
Guitarist: Todd Striklin, Cliff Jones, Zach Lafferty, Ben Lacy
Bassist: Roddy Puckett, Robert Trott, Steve Nall, Danny Cecil
Keyboardist: Palmer Tolly, Raleigh Dailey, Beth Mankel, Lucas Hippe
Wind/brass: Miles Osland, Paul Osbourne, Kenny Henry, ToniMarie Marchioni
Strings: Maggie Lander, Jesse Wells, Arthur Hancock, Ben Sollee
Critic’s Choice Award: University of Kentucky’s Wildcat Pep/Marching Band, Robby Cosenza, The Bats
Venue: Twisted Cork, The Burl, Austin City Saloon, Willie’s
Store: Willcutt Guitars, Willis Music, Doo Wop Shop, Don Wilson Music
Company: CD Central, Pops Resale, Cream Enterprises, The Album
Studio: Sneak Attack (Jason Groves), Charlie’s Tone Lab (Michael Vandermark), Long Island Recording (Steve Nall), Third Sky Studio (Richard Easterling)
Educator: Rob Rawlings (BCHS), Beth Mankel (Studio 88), Sara Holroyd (UK), Bill Kite (HCHS)
Live sound: Wallace “Gator” Harrison, Matthew Florez, James Rutledge, Phillip Osbourne
DJ: Kenny Cummings, Max Corona, Deadair Dennis, Jay Alexander
Gear Repair: RS Guitarsworks, Willcutt Guitars, Hurst Music, Audio Electronics
Winners of the lifetime achievement award were selected on Jan. 20 and include Dwight Yoakam, John Michael Montgomery, Homer Ledford, Nick Lawrence and Gail Wynters.