By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
By Craig Hlavaty
Name: DJ Sun
Nominated in:Best DJ
A decade-plus institution on the Houston scene, both in the clubs and on the box, Sun spins "down-tempo, soul, nü-jazz, glitch, broken beat and beyond," and the people love him for it. He has racked up about as many Music Awards as local legends as Norma Zenteno, the Zydeco Dots and Carolyn Wonderland. The Suriname-born DJ also has been known to lug his crates to that country, as well as its former colonizer, the Netherlands. If there's a chill-out room in heaven, chances are DJ Sun will be behind the decks.
Name: Allen Oldies Band
Nominated in:Best Cover Band
Allen Hill lives fully up to his name as "The High Priest of the Oldies." He might not be able to sing too well in the strictest sense of the word, but his manic energy and feel-good vibe more than make up for that shortcoming. The tuxedo-clad banshee is, as he puts it, completely and utterly "dedicated to living and playing the dance wonders of the '60s hit parade," songs like "Green Tambourine," "That's Cool, That's Trash" and "She's About a Mover." "Everyone loves the oldies," they say, "and no one does the oldies better than the Allen Oldies Band."
Name: JW Americana Nominated in:Best Punk
Personnel:Doug Kosmo a.k.a. C.C. Dupree (bass guitar, vocals), Shane Lauder a.k.a L.C. Dupree (drums, vocals), Arthur Moreno (saxophone, vocals), Rodney Elliot a.k.a. J.W. Dupree (guitar, vocals), Geoffrey Muller (banjo), Scott (mandolin, vocals), Tony Barilla (accordion), Mike Switzer (trombone), Chris Kemmerer (trumpet)
Believe it or not, some bands can claim both Navasota songster Mance Lipscomb and new-wave freaks Devo as influences and can carry it off. JW Americana is one such band. Be warned -- their live shows tend to be spectacles and occasionally involve bloodshed. Little-known JW Americana trivia: According to published reports, singer-bassist Doug Kosmo "easily has the presence of a prominent cult leader as he has a huge fan base in Houston, Thailand, and five Eastern Bloc countries."
Personnel:Jay Brooks (bass), Kelly Doyle (guitar), David Cummings (piano), Aaron Koerner (trumpet), Tomas Escalante (vocals), Steve Ruth (trumpet, percussion), Alfred Tam (trombone, conch), David Taschery (drums), Andy Salmon (percussion), John Best (vibes), Claudio Depujadas (percussion) and John Daniels (percussion/fire breathing)
What do you get when you mix Les Baxter, Combustible Edison, Martin Denny, Esquivel and Henry Mancini? Well, Clouseaux got "dark instrumental exotica with a twist of lounge and surf" music. All that "exotica" has filled up four releases, Clouseaux in 2002, the Destination OasisEP in 2003, Lagoon in 2004 and Beyond Good and Evilthis year. Guitarist Kelly Doyle has won Best Guitarist honors before, and the group is a repeat nominee in the Best Jazz category. There were rumors that band member John Daniels was planning a protest over the lack of a Best Fire Breathing category, but that's been settled.
Name: Mark Towns
Nominated in:Best Salsa/Reggaetón/Latin Pop
Personnel:Mark Towns (band members vary)
Guitarist Mark Towns says he started asking for a guitar to play as soon as he could talk. Since he was too small for even a student guitar, his parents would give him a ukulele. But Towns knew better and he'd toss it aside, saying, "This is not a guitar!" That was many years ago. Now, even though he's not Latino, he's considered one of the leaders in Houston's minuscule Latin jazz scene (it's about the music, not his skin color, stupid!), and it's well known that he has one of the best books in town (his collection of sheet music). His first CD, the self-released Flamenco Jazz Latino(out in 2000), featured fellow Houstonians saxophonist Kirk Whalum and flutist Hubert Laws. Last year, his second release, Passion, again featured Laws (hey, wouldn't you, if you could?), as well as percussionist Jorge Orta and pianist Rainel Pino. Fans will see Towns performing solo, as the leader of a duo, trio, quartet, quintet or all-star show band. And in none of those groups does he play a ukulele.
Name: Hayes Carll
Nominated in:Best C&W; Best Folk/Acoustic
A laconic and dry-witted former Bolivar beach bum, Carll is a bona fide local success story. This year he signed with Nashville major label Lost Highway Records, and of course, he now plans to move to Austin. Carll counts among his fans Ray Wylie Hubbard, who has this to say about him: "He walks on that stage, and he just owns it -- like it's his time, his stage, and he has total control and keeps your attention his whole set. And I admire that."
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