Chattanooga’s Live Music Scene – 2010 Music Awards, Part 1

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - by Bob Payne
Bob Payne
Bob Payne

2010 is coming to a close and that means that it is time for the third annual Music Awards. Movies have the Oscars, Broadway has the Tony Awards, Television has the Emmy, and in Chattanooga, locally based musicians have the Music Awards. These prestigious awards are all decided by just one vote – mine. There are two nice features about this method – nobody can get all their buddies to vote and swing the award, and all of the ones that did not win an award, only lost by one vote. Also, nobody has to buy an advertisement to be one of the best of the best.

The Hall Of Fame Award, presented to a musician or band that has been playing live music in Chattanooga for at least three decades, went last year to Overland Express and Jimmy Tawater. This year, the winner of the Hall Of Fame Award goes to Dennis Massengale. Dennis, and his bands Silver Creek, Big Deal, and No Big Deal has been entertaining audiences since the 70’s. There aren’t many musicians in Chattanooga that haven’t played music with Dennis, especially those with lots of talent. Dennis owns ChattaMusic, a locally owned music store on Ringgold Road, and No Big Deal continues entertaining audiences to this day.

This year’s best venue (cover charge) – is again going to Rhythm & Brews. R & B brings in the very best in local, regional and national acts. In addition to featuring much local talent, Mike Dougher brought in the likes of Tony Joe White, Here Come The Mummies, and Shelby Lynne this year, among others. Located on Market Street, right in the heart of downtown, Rhythm & Brews has also been the site of several fund-raisers for those less fortunate.

The year’s best venue (no cover charge) – goes to Bud’s Sportsbar. Again. Well managed, with great food and service, Bud’s Sportsbar offers live music several nights per week, and consistently rewards bands with some of the better paydays in town. Bud’s is in its 32nd year, is located on Brainerd Road, and features lunch specials and dinner with everything from steaks to their award winning wings. They also have the best baked potato in the entire world.

Best New Venue goes to Southside Tavern & Bistro. Located on Chestnut Street, one block from Main Street, this venue features fine music, good food, service and a beautiful atmosphere.

Most fun event – Aquapalooza. What can you say about an event that has great live music right on the lake, hundreds of boats, girls in bikinis, and fun for all? Convertibull and The Cadillac Saints played great sets this past year, with sound provided by Steve Kelly. (Best ever sound, too!)

The Best Riverbend Show (Non Coke Stage act) goes to Jimmy Tawater. He showed Chattanooga why he was chosen for the Hall Of Fame Award last year and why audiences have loved him for 5 decades. In the 95 degree heat, Jimmy mesmerized music lovers with his slick guitar skills and showmanship.

The Best Riverbend Show (Coke Stage) goes to The Chattanooga Symphony, The Waybacks, John Cowan, and Joan Osborne performance of The Beatles Abbey Road album. Best Riverbend performance ever. Period.

Dumbest idea I had all year – Poking fun of Whitwell. I think I got letters from everyone that lives there, or ever did live there, and they were not happy with my pronunciation of their fine city’s name. There are some proud folks there in Whitwell, and they get the award for having the best community spirit.

Next week, stay tuned for part two of the awards, including Best Cover Band, Best Guitar Player, Best Bass Player, Best Drummer, Top Female Singer, Top Male Singer, Best Blues Band, Top Country Band, Entertainer Of The Year, and more!

Speaking of Riverbend, they made a blockbuster announcement today, with Miranda Lambert slated for the Coke stage on June 15. Read all about it here. For the past year or two, she has won every major award given to musicians, except of course, the Music Award. Riverbend naysayers that say the festival doesn’t book current and relevant acts can eat their words.

The big Miranda Lambert announcement is just one of many more to come. Uriah Heep has already been announced, as have the Beach Boys. Stay tuned for more big announcements from Riverbend, as this year promises to be the best ever as the festival celebrates their 30th birthday. And, for you that think Riverbend only features country acts or oldies, hold on to your hats, as Friends Of The Festival is working hard to prove you wrong - again.

Here’s a nice Christmas thought – Saturday at Hamilton Place Mall, Riverbend will be selling 2011 pins at a 40% discount. That’s right folks, you can buy a great present for your friends and relatives for just $24. For nine nights of fun, that’s less than $3 per night. Just look for the Comcast Center Court. You can catch Miranda in Evansville, Indiana this coming February 25, but the ticket for just that one concert will cost you $32.40 – $55.80. Or, for $24 you can catch her at Riverbend, and pick from the other 90+ acts, too. What a bargain.

Bob’s Pick-O-The-Week is Arlo Gilliam, playing at Bud’s Sportsbar next Wednesday. I wrote about Arlo a few months ago in the article that got the folks from Whitwell so upset with me.

Bob’s Pick-O-The-Weekend is split between Sugars downtown and Sugars Downtown. Yup, Friday night the Kudzu Revue hits the new venue and Troy Underwood and friends are as entertaining as it gets. Saturday night, the Power Players Show Band comes to Sugars and rocks the house on one of Chattanooga’s best sound systems.

To get the latest schedule of live music, links to bands websites, pictures of activities in Chattanooga, and more. Just CLICK HERE!

Email Bob Payne at or click here for Facebook Page.

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