NAMA Picks

The Set List



By Brian Washburn 





It’s time for Northwest Arkansas musicians to press their tuxes, wait for the limo, find the most sophisticated (and sexiest) date and begin poppin’ bottles. Yes, tonight, it is time for the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards. Winners in 22 categories will be announced for the first time at 8 p.m. tonight in a ceremony at the Dickson Theater.


And with this year’s nominees stumping last year’s (who thought anyone could be as big as Benjamin Del Shreve?), it’s anybody’s guess who will take the gold, give the best performance (either Jarris, Souled Out, Pat & Mattie, Cletus Got Shot, or the Kory Montgomery Band) or, most of all, give the pluckiest acceptance speech of the night.


Last year, rocker Ben Del Shreve took home multiple prizes, including Band of the Year and Record of the Year. His performance also took the awards ceremony to new heights when the crowd surrounded the stage and sang along to several of Shreve’s hits. His luck just might not have run out, though, as he will defend his Band of the Year title at this year’s event. But this year he faces even stiffer competition than he did last year. Other nominees include A Good Fight, Jarris, Kory Montgomery Band, Cletus Got Shot and Boom Kinetic. While each plays distinctly different music, they have all shared the spotlight this year and are on the rise regionally (and some even nationally).


My pick for Band of the Year 2009: A Good Fight. They on the verge of a major music deal, had their music played on MTV and rocked NWA all year long. These up-and-comers deserve all the recognition they have coming to them.


Band of the Year is stiff competition, but it is nothing different than with Album of the Year. This year’s nominees include: XNA Allstars, Trout Fishing in America, Shout LuLu, The Poggs, Wade Ogle, The Good Fear and Paul Boatright. This category is even more differentiated than the rest of the categories as it features familiar old-school faces in the NWA music scene as well as new ones.


My pick for Album of the Year 2009: Wade Ogle’s Songs from Winter. Ogle’s numerous bands have had an astronomical impact for the succeeding generations, but with this album, Ogle has stepped away from the past and shown music lovers that his soft side still rocks.

New bands are always popping up and while they don’t always last, there are the select few who have an immediate impact. This year has shown a rise in these bands, which is possibly the best part of 2009. Nominees for Best New Band include: The Poggs, Cletus Got Shot, The Smithstonians, Indiana and the Byrds, Hardaway and the Commoners and 3 Penny Acre.


My pick for Best New Band: A tie between Hardaway and the Commoners and Indiana and the Byrds. Though the two genres are not even in the same ballpark, both bands have hit the scene and will be around for a while.


The two most prestigious of the awards of the night will go to three deserving acts. Heavy Metal gods Vore will receive the NAMA Lifetime Achievement Award, while Sarah Hughes and Six Hung Sprung will be inducted into the highly selective NAMA Hall of Fame.


Although these categories might be the most important at the NAMAs, several others have propelled local musicians to new heights.

Best None of the Above: Very Special Guests, The Nick Noltes, Hosta, Earth Society, 1 Oz. Jig. My pick: Very Special Guests.

Best Party Band: Wes Hart Band, Use Curtis, Full House, Boom Kinetic, Big Uns. My pick: Boom Kinetic.

Best Roots/Americana/Country: Shout Lulu, Pope County Bootleggers, Jamie Wolfe and the Wranglers, Cletus Got Shot, Charliehorse, 3 Penny Acre. My pick: Cletus Got Shot.

Best R&B/Blues: R.J. Mischo, Leah & the Mojo Doctors, Kory Montgomery Band, Isayah’s Allstars, Eoff Brothers, Adam Posnak. My pick: Kory Montgomery Band.

Best Metal/Hard Rock: Spoken, Kind, Open Addiction, Deadbird, The Counterlife, Calling Tokyo, The Battle Within. My pick: Spoken

Best Southern Rock: Thanks For Nothing, Maud Crawford, Joe Giles and the Homewreckers, Bob Kramer Incident, Big Uns. My pick: Thanks For Nothing.

Best Power-Pop Band: Well, Well, Well, Jesus Chrysler Supercar, Indiana and the Byrds, A Good Fight, Family Dogs, Benjamin Del Shreve, After the Scars. My pick: A Good Fight.

Best Pop Rock: Truth About Movie Stars, Jarris, The Good Fear, The Darksuits, Apartment 5, Army of Birds. My pick: Jarris.

Best Indie/Ambient Band:, Memphis Pencils, Mar, Dreamfast, David’s Pegasus, Christmas Fuller Project. My pick: Memphis Pencils or

Best Electronic/Groove: Tanner Beam, DJ Shortfuze, DJ Soulfree, Luminfire, Beat Bachs. My pick: DJ Shortfuze.

Best Urban: Hardaway and the Commoners, Souled Out, Smurf G, SoundChild Crew, Lucio Baldomero. My pick: SoundChild Crew.

Best Jazz: Matt Smith Trio, Walter Savage Trio, Nathan McCloud Group, Claudia Burson Trio, Andrew Sieff Group, Al Gibson Trio. My pick: Matt Smith Trio.

Best Funk: Wes Hart Band, The OneUps, Fayetteville Funk Ensemble. My pick: Fayetteville Funk Ensemble.

Best World Music: Raja, Darlene, Joseph Israel. My pick: Joseph Israel.

Best Jam Band: Velcro Moonshoe, Mountain of Venus, Crazy Neighbor. My pick: Velcro Moonshoe.

Best Male Vocalist in a Band: Ben Wardlaw (Charliehorse), Randy Soller (Randy Soller and the System), Eddie Love (A Good Fight), Jeff Kearney (1 Oz. Jig), Sam Dudley (The Darksuits), Benjamin Del Shreve. My pick: Benjamin Del Shreve.

Best Female Vocalist in a Band: Tanya Shylock (Mountain of Venus), Liz Lottman (LaFuSo), Leah Spears (Leah and the Mojo Doctors), Amyh (Dreamfast). My pick: Leah Spears.

Best Singer/Songwriter (Female): Shannon Wurst, Susan Shore, Candy Lee, Opal Fly, Jori Costello, Tiffany Christopher. My pick: Opal Fly.

Best Singer/Songwriter (Male): Ben Rector, Wade Ogle, Jeff Fox, Paul Boatright, Kevin Bennoch. My pick: Wade Ogle.

Categories: LIVE! In NWA