Music News & Reviews

Lexington Music Awards director finds his isn’t a job for a one-man band

Hybrid the Rapper accepts his award for best hip hop at the first annual Lexington Music Awards.
Hybrid the Rapper accepts his award for best hip hop at the first annual Lexington Music Awards.

David McLean learned a lot last year, staging the first Lexington Music Awards.

Chief among them is that an awards show is a different animal from a concert.

“I’m a producer, and I’ve produced shows before and bands in studios, and I’m hands on, but I’m not a micromanaging producer,” McLean says, relaxing in a front row seat at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, where the second annual ceremony will take place Sunday.

“The biggest task is making everything come together on that day, because you’re dealing with everything from the program guides and posters and media outreach and all the things that go in addition to the actual show.”

An awards show has a lot more moving parts than a concert, including emcees, presenters, multiple performers and ... well ... awards.

McLean, a Lexington musician and music teacher, conceived of the awards late in 2014 as a way to bring the Lexington Music Community together and bring greater exposure to the area music scene. He hustled together a nominations process where nominees were selected by popular vote and then the nominees voted for the winners.

One of the first lessons McLean says he learned was that the music community is bigger than he and others perceived it to be. For example, he notes an assumption in some circles that local music is what happens at downtown clubs such as Al’s Bar and Cosmic Charlie’s.

“Then you have a club like Austin City that’s been ongoing for like 35 years, if I’m not mistaken,” McLean says of the Woodhill Drive country establishment that has actually been around 33 years and been a nominee from best live music venue both years of the awards. “That’s sort of an indication that there is still a bit of compartmentalization and fragmentation to the scene.

“That’s fine, but if you get people together from those scenes, that helps.”

And that was something McLean wanted to ramp up with this year’s event: getting more collaboration on stage, like a performance by local pop and rock singers Sydney Cubit and Rhyan Sinclair with jazz vocalist Jeana Pillion of the jazz groups Soljam and Young at Heart. The event also boasts a hip hop trio of Devine Carama, Hybrid the Rapper and Sheisty Khrist.

McLean and his crew decided that they didn’t like the dynamic of having recorded music play when winners are announced at an event highlighting live, local music. So this year, The Twiggenburys will serve as a house band and foils for hosts Bill Meck and Angie Beavin of WLEX-TV.

The awards have benefited from having many people involved with many ideas, he said. His right-hand person this year has been Marcie Timmerman, who has lent a hand in fund raising, social media and other organizational bits and pieces.

“I’m helping behind the scenes to make sure things get done and they are where they are,” Timmerman says. “And I try to get David to delegate more.”

While he says he’s not a micromanager, McLean says he does suffer from an aversion to taking people up on their offers to help.

“I feel bad because nobody’s getting paid,” McLean says. “We don’t really have a budget yet. We’re at sort of a skin-of-the-teeth, break-even point. So I need to get better at delegating when people volunteer and take it as, they’re volunteering because they really want to help, instead of feeling bad that I can’t pay them and trying to do it myself.

“I need to go hang out with Michael Jonathan a day or two, because he’s really good at letting people help,” McLean adds, referring to the Lexington musician whose Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour is staged weekly with a volunteer crew.

McLean says that last year, “I was dashing back and forth like a chicken with my head cut off checking everything, and then I suddenly realized, ‘Everybody’s got it. I just need to calm down,’ and I literally stood back and just watched the show from the side.

“The team we have is fantastic, and they’re going to make me irrelevant very soon, which is the goal in all honesty.”

Rich Copley: 859-231-3217, @LexGoKY

If You Go

Lexington Music Awards

When: 6 p.m. Jan. 31

Where: Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third St.

Tickets: $15

Online: lexingtonmusicawards.org, lexingtonlyric.tix.com

Call: 859-280-2218

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