Houston Press Music Awards Winners

Devin the Dude, Katie Stuckey and The Dimes clean up

The Dimes agreed the Warehouse stage was cozier than their previous gig, preceding Saliva at the Verizon Wireless Theater at last Sunday's Music Awards Showcase. "It was weird," said Miller. "We never played on a stage that big before."

"We were so separated from each other," agreed Carlos Sanchez. "We don't like that."

Last year at this time, The Dimes — who formed in early 2004 — were preparing for the release of their debut EP, which launched them on their three-award trajectory. And although they were the night's big winners, their after-show plans would hardly betray them as such.

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Flamin' Hellcats
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"I've got school tomorrow, so I've got to go home and go to sleep," Miller said.

"I have a job interview," offered Jose Sanchez.

"I have to go to work," moaned Carlos.

That left the drummer as the only wild card. "I might go out and celebrate," he allowed. "Maybe Poison Girl." (Hope he brought a fake ID.)

Besides, The Dimes didn't have to party all night to earn their rock and roll bona fides. They're pretty good at talking smack, albeit inadvertently: When naming off bands that helped them break into the scene (a list that also includes Flowers to Hide and the late Stolen Library), Carlos meant to say Bring Back the Guns — with whom they split a bill this Saturday at the Proletariat — but it came out "Bring Back the Buns." Everyone had a good laugh about that one.

If that's not enough, before a single award was given out Wednesday, Carlos had already bled for his art. "I was walking out and the sound guy, or one of the guys, hit me in the face with the door," he said, his T-Shirt pockmarked with blood and a decent-sized cut on his left eyebrow. "I was like, ‘aw, shit,' and that's when I started bleeding." — C.G.

Best Female Vocalist/Folk/Acoustic Katie Stuckey and the Swagger First-time candidate Katie Stuckey must have one helluva e-mail list. Winner of two awards in her first time on the ballot, Stuckey doesn't seem to have played enough gigs around town or have a high enough profile to have won — not that she isn't a legitimate talent. Anyone who has caught one of Swagger's infrequent shows knows Stuckey, trained at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, can belt 'em out with the best voices around. Her band puts some overdrive in the proceedings, making her "folk-acoustic" designation all the more puzzling. It also seems odd that someone trained at such a high level would choose country music as a vehicle, but Stuckey says it makes perfect sense: "Country just fits what I like to write, what I think about, how I put things together." She also reports that she's got an album "made with friends in L.A." that will drop in the next few weeks. So why base herself in Houston? "I believe if you're going to build a fan base in country music, you have to be in Texas," she says. "This is the place. And Houston's just great. I mean, come on, how thrilling is it for me and my band to be sharing the same stage with people like Devin the Dude and Million Year Dance? Not enough people understand how cool the Houston music scene is." — William Michael Smith

Best Male Vocalist Tony Vega The bluesmen did most of the cussin' in their acceptance speeches this year, and while he didn't quite match Little Joe Washington's Toastmaster theatrics, Tony Vega expressed his feelings at being voted Best Male Vocalist thusly: "You guys shocked the shit outta me!" In his rambling two minutes, the longtime local blues-circuit landmark also reckoned, "Houston fuckin' rocks!" Vega also took the moment to announce to a rapidly dwindling crowd that he is moving to Austin. "Not for the music, but my wife's got a job there," he swore. "And I want to thank my wife. Baby, you're H-H-H-HOT!" There's a song in there somewhere. — W.M.S.

Album of the Year (Liberation) Million Year Dance Million Year Dance delivered on their Best New Act victory at last year's awards by taking one of the most prestigious categories of all, even though — if you want to split hairs — 2006's six-song Liberation is actually an EP. Singer Jonathan Welch smoothed things over in his acceptance speech, saying, "It's been a true pleasure to share the same space with everyone — this award is for everyone who made a full-length album." MYD also opened the ceremony with the lush, Radiohead-like "All the Names of God." "We love playing that song," Welch said backstage. "We chose that specifically." The song will appear on the record MYD is currently working on, but they were happy Liberation's victory gave them a chance to "repromote" the EP. Furthermore, the band took home a bonus prize for winning Album of the Year: a copy of Guitar Hero II. Guitarist and percussionist Doyle Odom, who carried the game offstage, was a little nonplussed, but Welch spoke up immediately. "We're going to rock that mother," he said. — C.G.

Best Metal Chrome 44 If ever a local metal band was more determined to make it big, Houston has yet to meet them. With their win, Chrome 44 seems well on their way to fulfilling the promise proclaimed on their Web site: "No setback or hurdle will hinder them from making their dream come true." At the moment it looks like hurdles are being blasted away with slick, hard-driving riffs, a dedicated fan base and the new addition of vocalist Sloane Gallegos, who called the win "Amazing!" The band, which recently completed their second full-length album, ÉInto the Red, performs at JavaJazz August 16. Don't be surprised if these guys not so subtly force their way into greater prominence; they are all hungry for a successful full-time career. As for the Press award, bassist Dave Hancock quipped, "It will go in our little trophy booth. We'll start one for this." — Linda Leseman

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