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Music Awards Survey

A rundown of every act on this year's bill

Novak says if anyone wants to "hear good songs with great harmonies, they should come out" to see her and Mones, or check out their individual bands. By day Novak is a hairstylist and owner of All Decked Out, a hair salon with a musician-heavy clientele -- "I am responsible for creating nice-looking musicians!" She notes that cutting heads has given her "set hours to play music as well as the funds to record the CDs." Lucinda Williams, the Wallflowers, Luna and Teenage Fan Club are some of her national faves, while Chris Sacco, Tody Castillo, Mando Saenz, Mark Zeus and Clay Farmer are among her favorite locals. Though she enjoys performing, she says, "Writing is my passion...I'd like to get a song recorded by a big artist!"

UME
Best Indie Rock
Two years
www.umemusic.com

An indie rock band, some of whose members are Houstonians who go to college in Pennsylvania, UME makes up for lost time by gigging as often as possible while home on school breaks. My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney with a bass are decent comparisons. Petite singer Lauren Larson caterwauls like a she-devil who's missed a few meals. Beware.

Hilary Sloan & Aunt Erma's Fillin' Station
Best C&W, Best Bluegrass
Two years
www.hilarysloan.com

Gruene Hall and the Broken Spoke are two of Hilary Sloan's fave places to play, and even if you don't catch her at one of those legendary Texas dance halls, her music will take you there. The singer-fiddler says that "music was never a choice I made -- just what I've always been," and adds that without it she would have only "ever-increasing insanity" or "incarceration." Sloan is proud of the fact that she is often mistaken for a classic country cover band -- "People that I've talked to are surprised to hear that most of the songs are mine." Emmylou Harris and Ralph Stanley are two of her favorites, which is no shocker, but so is "Me'Shell NdegéOcello," which may surprise some. For final wisdom, Sloan turns to the Book of Tom T. Hall: "Joe, don't let your music kill you -- nobody cares."

Kyle Turner
Best Jazz
About 15 years
www.kyleturneronline.com

Former Kirk Whalum protégé Kyle Turner has been called a "rising saxist with the sexy sound," and his repertoire includes "straight-ahead jazz, fusion, R&B, gospel, blues and smooth jazz." After he spent stints in Austin and Los Angeles, the new millennium found Turner back in Houston, where he was born and raised. "Kyle Turner's soul is exposed in every note he plays," says Whalum of his onetime apprentice. "And that's the way music was intended to be!"

Free Radicals with Harry Sheppard
Best Jazz
Eight years

freerads.com

Free Rads drummer Nick Cooper answered our questionnaire from Chiapas, Mexico, where he was chilling "in an indigenous Zapatista community." The band's new CD, Aerial Bombardment, was recorded with 50 musicians. Cooper likes to say that his ska/reggae/jazz/funk/rock/etc. orchestra features some "members too young to drink, and others with great-grandchildren." He lists "Helios, Super Happy Fun Land and the Brooklyn Academy of Music" as top gig spots for this band, which was almost named Zeno's Paradox.

Zwee
Best Funk/R&B/Soul
Current lineup since 2002; Zwee since 1997; Zwee & the Graveberries since 1994
www.zweemusic.com

By day, Zwee's Frank Zweback is a teacher, and he offers this lesson: "Better to get off your ass, do something and be marginally successful than to complain about what you can't do. It's only life, so live it." His band has done just that, by taking home the Best R&B/Funk trophy last year, and "headlining at Griff's St. Pat's Day fest, playing at the Super Bash, and the 40 Ounce party on Super Bowl weekend," the last of which he says "was our best show ever, maybe." Zwee loves "the good people" that are in the Houston music scene, only he wishes there were more of them: "People just don't go out to see music that much." Among Zwee's pantheon of greats: "Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, James Brown, Pharoah Sanders and A Tribe Called Quest."

Rehab
709 Franklin, 713-22-REHAB

5 pm Lise Liddell
6 pm Studemont Project
7 pm The Buddhacrush
8 pm DeSangre
9 pm [Band to be announced]

Lise Liddell
Best Folk/Acoustic, Songwriter of the Year
Since childhood
www.liseliddell.com and www.wheeloffire.com

Hearing "Puff the Magic Dragon" on the radio in carpool on the way home from kindergarten was a watershed moment in Lise Liddell's life. She recalls that she "bawled her head off" when she found out that "twit" Jackie Paper left Puff alone by the sea. "Music has always charged me emotionally like nothing else ever could," she says. A third CD is slated to join the 1997 release, White Heart, and 2002's Lovers' Moonlater this fall. Barbra Streisand, k.d. lang,Nanci Griffith and Elton John are the progenitors of her favorite albums, and she doesn't care what you think about that. "I'm not lying about [that question] and I'm not embarrassed, either!"

Studemont Project
Best Hip-hop
A little over two and a half years
www.studemontproject.com

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