The Wooks’ big year continued Sunday night as the contemporary bluegrass group took three honors at the third annual Lexington Music Awards, including album of the year, song of the year and best bluegrass/country band.
There were four two-award winners as well: Tyler Childers, who won for best American/folk artist and best singer-songwriter; Gail Wynters, who won for best female vocalist and also took a previously-announced lifetime achievement award; Miles Osland who won for best jazz/Latin/big band/world act and best wind/brass player; and Wilcutt Guitars, which won for best music store (instruments) and best instrument repair/builders/customization.
The two-hour ceremony at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center was emceed by Bill Meck and Angie Beavin of WLEX-TV and featured a number of performances, including Avery Crabtree’s blues-soaked rendition of the country classic “Tennessee Whiskey,” the UK alumni group Sara Holroyd Singers and the Apotheosis Percussion Duo.
Several of the lifetime achievement award winners were predictably absent — Dwight Yoakam and John Michael Montgomery — and the late Homer Ledford’s son accepted for him. Yoakam did send a statement saying he takes his Kentucky heritage with him wherever he goes. Retired WUKY-FM host Nick Lawrence took the stage in his tuxedo and, as he had for 24 years on “Curtains @ 8,” heaped praise on Lexington for its active arts scene. Gail Wynters said that being a musician was what came naturally to her, and expressed amazement at her two-award night.
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But as for the voted awards, it was upstart The Wooks’ night.
Formed just a few years ago, The Wooks have enjoyed a quick rise regionally and nationally, notably taking top honors last summer at the Rockygrass Festival in Colorado. The band’s debut album, “Little Circles,” came out in the summer and features guitarist CJ Cain’s “County Girl,” which won song of the year. As the band accepted the bluegrass/country band award, frontman and banjo player Arthur Hancock thanked the crowd for “supporting hillbilly music.”
Here’s the complete list of winners:
Album of the year: “Little Circles,” The Wooks
Song of the year: “County Girl,” The Wooks
Critic’s choice award: University of Kentucky Wildcat Marching Band
Community service: WUKY-FM
Best female vocalist: Gail Wynters
Best male vocalist: Corey Cross
Best drummer/percussionist: Ryan McQuerry
Best guitarist: Ben Lacy
Best bassist: Robert Trott
Best keyboardist: Raleigh Dailey
Best wind/brass: Miles Osland
Best strings: Maggie Lander
Best American/folk act: Tyler Childers
Best blues act: Tee Dee Young
Best classical act: Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra
Best country/bluegrass act: The Wooks
Best funk/R&B/reggae act: Driftwood Gypsy
Best hip-hop/rap act: Hybrid-the-rapper
Best jazz/Latin/big band/world act: Miles Osland
Best pop act: Rhyan Sinclair
Best rock act: Bent Penny Band
Best singer-songwriter: Tyler Childers
Best cover band/variety act: Lexington Lab Band
Best live music venue: Willie’s Locally Known
Best music store (instruments): Wilcutt Guitars
Best music company: CD Central
Best recording studio/producer/engineer: Sneak Attack (Jason Groves)
Jay Flippin Music Educator Award: Beth Dean Mankel
Best live sound technician: Matthew Florez
Best DJ (radio): Kenny Cummings
Best instrument repair/builders/customization: Wilcutt Guitars
Lifetime achievement awards:
John Michael Montgomery