The second annual Lexington Music Awards were given Sunday night in a speedy ceremony at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center.
Awards in 29 categories and five lifetime achievement awards were distributed in the ceremony that lasted right around two hours-and-15 minutes and featured six performances starting with guitarist Alan Robinson’s scorching rendition of the national anthem on electric guitar. WLEX-TV chief meteorologist Bill Meck and reporter Angie Beavin served as emcees – Beavin getting a lot of ribbing for having the same last name, though different spelling, as newly elected Gov. Matt Bevin – and local Brit rockers The Twiggenburys served as the house band, offering up witty repartee with Meck and a late-ceremony rendition of Fame in honor of David Bowie.
Big winners in the evening included musician Taylor Hughes, who won best singer-songwriter and best song for I Can’t Love You Like I Said I Could with Whitney Acke and Ray Adams; Avery Crabtree who won best country-bluegrass and best male vocalist; Paul Osbourne who was named best wind-brass and whose band, Soljam, was named best jazz-Latin-big band-world and Willcutt Guitars, which won best music store and best instrument repair-builders-customoization.
Nominations were made through popular online vote. Nominees voted for the winners.
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The emotional high point of the evening was the lifetime achievement award winners, all of whom had spent decades in Kentucky music and music education.
Banjo legend J. D. Crowe said he supposed the honor meant he was being put out to pasture but quickly added he was enjoying his retirement. “I never did this for awards, I did it because I love making music,” Crowe said. One of his protégés, Ricky Skaggs, was also honored with a lifetime achievement award, but he did not appear or send a representative.
Exile founder J.P. Pennington was on tour with the band Sunday, but sent his wife Susie to deliver a statement reflecting that all the times it seemed it would be more convenient to move to Nashville, they chose to stay in Lexington. “I cut my teeth on the Lexington music scene,” Pennington wrote.
Trumpeter Vince DiMartino, a retired Centre College music professor, reflected on his career as an eductor and performer, recalling Central Kentucky as a great area to collaborate with people. He had especially fond reflections on University of Kentucky saxophone professor Miles Osland, calling him the best organizer of musicians he ever knew.
The McLain Family Band essentially closed out the evening accepting their lifetime achievement award with Raymond W. McLain saying the group had been honored to take Kentucky music around the world. The group closed singing You Sing for Me, a song written by group founder, the late Raymond Kane McLain.
Here are the winners from the 2016 Lexington Music Awards.
▪ Americana/folk: Maggie Lander
▪ Blues: Tee Dee Young
▪ Classical: Lexington Philharmonic
▪ Country/bluegrass: Avery Crabtree
▪ Funk/R&B/reggae: Kung Fu Grip
▪ Hip hop: (tie) Devine Carama, Hybrid the Rapper
▪ Jazz/Latin/big band/world: Soljam
▪ Pop: Rhyan Sinclair
▪ Rock: The Seas
▪ Singer-songwriter: Taylor Hughes
▪ Cover band/variety act: Lexington Lab Band
▪ Song of the Year: I Can’t Love You Like I Said I Could, writers Taylor Hughes, Whitney Acke and Ray Adams
▪ Female vocalist: Lauren Mink
▪ Male vocalist: Avery Crabtree
▪ Drummer/percussionist: Tony Hammons
▪ Guitarist: Ben Lacy
▪ Bassist: Bob Bryant
▪ Keyboardist: Raleigh Dailey
▪ Wind/brass: Paul Osbourne
▪ Strings: Katie Penn-Williams
▪ Community service: Rennie Neubecker and LexJam
▪ Live music venue: Cosmic Charlie’s
▪ Music store: Willcutt Guitars
▪ Music company: CD Central
▪ Recording studio/engineer/producer: Sneak Attack Recording Studio
▪ Jay Flippin Music Educator Award: Kevin Holm-Hudson, University of Kentucky
▪ Live sound tech: Wallace “Gator” Harrison
▪ Radio DJ: Dead Air Dennis, WKQQ
▪ Instrument repair/builders/customization: Willcutt Guitars
Note: More photos will be posted later Sunday night or Monday morning.