by Petula Caesar

Last night at Rams Head Live, Baltimore hosted the first Maryland Music Awards ( The voting process, as described on the website, seemed very straightforward. “We need you to help us nominate both bands and single performers in the various categories listed below. We will then count up all the nominations for the bands and performers in each of the categories. The bands with the most nominations will be selected. That will give us any where from 3 to 5 finalist in each category. The final winners will be judged by a group of industry professionals that will consist of radio and television personalities, studio engineers, producers, booking agents, entertainment lawyers, entertainment writers, and club owners.”

The end result was a very interesting and kind of odd sampling of Maryland’s musical talents. Though the event took place in Baltimore, very little about the event showcased the urban elements of this particular city’s music scene and how it impacts Maryland  music as a whole, which I found rather disconcerting. While I did appreciate the great show that the performing bands presented, and did like the overall effort that clearly went into this venture, the lack of diversity in many area was odd to me.

The one thing I did totally agree with in regard to the list of winners was the selection of Matt Davis as Largest Contributor to the Maryland music scene. 98 Rock’s “Noise In The Basement” is hands down the epitome of what local radio can do to support its local music scene (especially live music) if it is so inclined, from providing lots of top venues for local bands to play at  to spinning music by local artists — and he has done so for years and years and years. Comparatively speaking, local urban radio’s inability and/or unwillingness to match this level of support and ongoing commitment to quality local music is a consistent major disappointment.

I’ll have more to say about this later, but until then, congratulations to these winners:

Rock Category: Crack The Sky

Country Category: Erik Karge

Gospel Category: The Maryland Gospel Choir

Jazz Category: Carl Filipiak

Hip-Hop/ R&B: Ryan Collins

DJ Category: D.J KayJay

Breakout Category: Fiction20 Down

Songwriter: Dean Crawford

Live Performer Category: Ballyhoo!

Cover Band Category: Hot Tub Limo

Largest Contributor Category: Matt Davis

Music Icon Category: Rob Fahey


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