Chattanooga’s Live Music Scene – 2013 Music Awards Part 2

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - by Bob Payne
Bob Payne
Bob Payne
- photo by Melted Snowmen Photographers

Part 1 is in the books, and if you missed it, you can view it here - http://chattanoogan.com/2014/1/29/268455/Chattanoogas-Live-Music-Scene--2013.aspx. Don’t forget to come back, though!

We’ll start off part 2 with the Bass Player of the Year award. We have some mighty fine bass players in Chattanooga, but long, tall Jim Rhodes takes it home for the fourth year in a row. Try as I may, I can’t get by Jim’s great playing and even greater smile. He can sing, too. Catch him anytime with SRO Band, Power Players, or Jimmy Tawater’s River City Showcase. Congratulations, my friend.

Best cover/party band goes to the Power Players Show Band for the second time. They just keep getting better and better. Previous winners include Bud Lightning, Crossfire, Bounty Hunter, SRO, and Power Players.

Best Male Singer award (tie) goes to a guy I had never heard until a few weeks ago. While it’s hard to beat out previous winners David Anthony, Landis Batts, and Jeff Hight, Jeremiah Sullivan has done it for 2013. I have heard him hit three octaves and he really is good. Look for him whenever the Sullivan Band plays.

Also, and I did say it was a tie; Greg Glover wins for 2013, also. Yes, that Greg Glover – and I’m not talking about his news delivery voice on television. I am talking about his wonderful voice singing with the fantastic big band Sweet Georgia Sound. Congratulations to both Jeremiah and Greg for being named 2013 Male Vocalist of the Year.

Best Drummer is a difficult category, too. Johnny Smith, Greg Rudder, and Bill Brewer are all previous winners. Those selections alone make it difficult. However, once again I fell for the big smile and solid drumming, so for 2013 I chose Darrell Kelly from the Malemen Band. Besides being one of the nicest guys ever, Darrell can play the drums as solidly as anyone. 2013 saw Darrell playing some percussion and electronic drums and less time at the drum kit, but he still has great skills and timing. Plus, he has that smile.

Best Rock Band is a category I don’t always award, with Jordan Hallquist rightfully earning the title last year and Infinite Orange getting it in 2008. This year, I am selecting Amber Fults and The Ambivalent Lovers for Rock Band of the Year. Blessed with killer musicians and an energy level second to none, they have been in the forefront of Chattanooga’s music scene all year long. I first saw Amber about 5 years ago at T-Bones and she was a new, talented, but somewhat stage shy performer. Not anymore – she rocks the stage and puts on a killer show.

Best venue without a cover charge goes to Buds Sportsbar. Now a 5-time winner, Bud’s has it all going on – great, and I mean really great food, good management, and consistent offering of live music for 3 nights a week for over 30 years. One of the best stories I ever heard about Bud’s came from an older friend of mine. He had a coupon for a discount at Longhorn Steakhouse and went out to eat there. He ordered his rib eye and said it was great. When it came time to pay his tab, he presented his coupon only to find out he was next door, at Buds. The server, typical of Bud’s experienced staff, got the on-duty manager to accept the Longhorn coupon. To this day, when John goes out or a good steak, he heads straight to Bud’s, located right next door to the Longhorn Steakhouse.

The Austin Nickels band wins Best Blues Band for 2013. They can play the blues, southern rock, and a little of anything else you want. When you have Kris Phillips on guitar and Jeff Hight’s voice, you know it’s going to be good. Congratulations Austin Nickels Band.

Best new bands worth watching – Rag Doll and Rokaholix. They both have great female singers and talented players in the band. Rag Doll does mostly covers, while Rokaholix does many originals. Catch them at your favorite venue.

Entertainer of the Year for 2013 goes to a band I first heard at a Christmas party three years ago. My first impression was that they were extremely talented and they would go places. Maria Sable and Smooth Dialects have built a sound and a following that are exceptional. They are dynamic, energetic, fun, and full of talent. You can catch them here in town, or wait a couple years and catch them on TV. Previous winners include Bexy Ribeiro, Roger Alan Wade, and Chris Gomez.

Our third Chattanooga Music Hall of Fame inductee for 2013 is the Malemen Band. Tracy Ingram, Darrell Kelly and the gang have built one of the premier show bands in the country. For several decades, the Malemen have entertained wedding guests, corporations, and parties all over the Southeast. Not only do they have a bucket full of talented guys, they have three of the most talented, pretties ladies you will ever see on stage. This band is made up of consummate professionals. The only regret is not getting to see them out playing at our local venues very often. Congratulations to the very talented Malemen Band. Without exception, they also are among the nicest gathering of musicians ever assembled. For 2013, they join The Dismembered Tennesseans and Jerre Haskew as the newest inductees into the Chattanooga Music Hall of Fame. 

Email Bob Payne at davrik2000@yahoo.com or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davrik2000.


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