¡Viva H-town!

Latinos come to the fore in this year's music awards

Critic's pick: Tina y los Gallitos

Best Bluegrass

Lonestar Bluegrass

Drop Trio
Daniel Kramer
Drop Trio
Carolyn Wonderland
Daniel Kramer
Carolyn Wonderland

As Bill Monroe once said, "There's no room for vulgarity in bluegrass." So give the LSB band credit for some of the best ad-lib acceptance remarks of the evening. They admitted that their previous win in this category "got them a lot of good gigs this past year." They also noted that "God is good all the time, God is good." Then this candid admission: "Thanks, Mom, for making me learn the fiddle." Forget or forgive their unscripted remarks, and just know that the folks in Lone Star Bluegrass can flat play their asses off. They deserve more attention than they get. -- William Michael Smith

Critic's pick: Lonestar Bluegrass

Best Tejano/Orchestra (Five or More with Keyboards)

Houston's Powerhouse a.k.a. AVIZO

The group's multiple names give you some indication of their sound. Sounds, actually. Houston's Powerhouse is a party band playing pop, R&B and rock tunes; AVIZO plays traditional Tejano and Mexican music with some salsa thrown in. The group also acts as the no-name backup band for Latin music pioneers such as Augustine Ramirez and Sonny Ozuna. Same guys, different sounds. Founder-trumpeter Robert Dorantes says, "I don't like the Tejano label because we basically do everything. Not that I'm ashamed of the label, because that's where we started, but we work hard at other types of music, too. We try to be an all-around group."

Powerhouse/AVIZO is putting together a CD called 20, to celebrate their 20th anniversary together. Longtime friends and Tejano stars Little Joe and Jay Perez joined the group for the recording. -- Olivia Flores Alvarez

Critic's pick: Houston's Powerhouse a.k.a. AVIZO

Best Lounge DJ

DJ Sun

You'd think that winning for the umpteenth time at something would make it easier. That the butterflies would fade away in successive contests. Not so, says DJ Sun, honored recipient -- yet again -- of the Best Lounge DJ award.

"I get nervous every time," says the sultan of soul, "and I'm very appreciative every time." This probably won't help Sun shake the reputation that hails him as a top-notch spinner of downtempo (see "The Sun King," page 69). These things take time. MJ, after all, was still considered a basketball god, even when he was taking BP in the minor leagues. If Sun's command of all things Soular on KPFT is any indication, we think he'll make it to "the big show" -- Best Dance Club DJ -- in no time at all. -- Michael Serazio

Critic's pick: DJ Sun

Best Blues

Tony Vega Band

I didn't even recognize Tony Vega without his trademark flashy cowboy shirt and felt Western fedora, but whether he's tricked out in his gig duds or looking like a nerdy urban professional in his Buddy Holly glasses, Vega is one of the hottest live acts in town. His Music Awards showcase performance was the most impressive show I saw all day: The three-piece ensemble blasted through standards and originals with the cocksureness of a band that tours hard and plays harder. No SRV imitator stuck in the past, Vega's got chops that are choice but innovative. And he rocks. -- William Michael Smith

Critic's pick: Little Joe Washington

Best Horn/Horn Section

Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters

No contest here. The former Little Richard sideman continues to be one of the most popular and revered acts in town. Like the blue-collar segment of the population that he represents so well, Gaines just keeps getting up and going to work because blowing that horn and makin' people happy is what he does, who he is, what his very being is about. Despite worldwide fame, respect and recognition, Gaines maintains a humble persona, giving credit for his win to his fans and to his band. Ever the self-effacing gentleman, Gaines said, "Winning this award means everything to me and the group." -- William Michael Smith

Critic's pick: Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters

Best Cover Band

Molly & the Ringwalds

Like VH1, Houston loves the '80s. Mike Snow, spinner of '80s records, wins year after year in the DJ category, and this band of Reagan-era revivalists won by one of the widest margins on the ballot, and picked up more votes than almost anyone on the page. Despite the somewhat controversial and bitter departure of their founding bassist in the past year, the Ringwalds just roll on and on, and they seem likely to continue doing so until the Point becomes the oldies station. Meanwhile, a steady, packed-out Friday happy hour gig at the Continental is the best place to catch 'em. -- John Nova Lomax

Critic's pick: The El Orbits

Best Alternative Rock


They're the new Blue October. New October, if you will. And you will! This four-piece is primed and ready for 94.5 gallons of Buzz, and they've now got a trophy to prove it. The band graciously shared its award with a few of the others in its category: Paris Green and Pilot Radio. Those who thought Silverleaf was light and poppy were learned their lesson when they played an intense song off The Show (the runner-up for Local Album of the Year), one that, uh, showed us why they so richly deserved their first ever award. -- Brian McManus

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help
Houston Concert Tickets