By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Mothers, guard your children. L.L.
Best National Rap/Hip-Hop Paul Wall His new record Get Money, Stay True might not have sold as well as its major-label predecessor, but Paul Wall remains "the people's champ" in H-Town. Wall edged out one-time rapping podna Chamillionaire and a host of other platinum-selling names to claim his second straight win in this category. And just as he did last year, Wall didn't let the fact that he's a big-time national star stop him from coming in and picking up his award in person. That's the way you get to keep being the people's champ. J.N.L.
Best Misc. Instrumentalist Geoffrey "Uncle Tick" Muller By his own reckoning, Muller plays three styles of banjo, several types of guitar, bass, mandolin, harmonica, dulcimer, Cajun fiddle and "various homemade instruments that don't really have names." What's more, he builds many of them himself, and then plays them in numerous bands, including Sideshow Tramps, the Umbrella Man, Sabra Lazal, Le Hot Club, Two Star Symphony and other local bands without names. "You know how it is, man," he said the day after the event. "It's hard out here for a misc. instrumentalist." J.N.L.
Best Salsa/Latin Pop Mango Punch! Mango Punch! took Best Salsa/Latin Pop for the third year in a row. With members hailing from Venezuela, Louisiana, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Texas, the band's roots are as diverse as their music. They performed the pregame show at Super Bowl XXXVIII and have played for Mayor Bill White. And according to their Web site, drummer Chad Tumminello is still available for drum lessons. In songs like the hip-shaking question "Que Me Pongo?" Mango Punch! deliver on their promise to bring people together and to provide "fun en español!" A.P.
Best Jazz Drop Trio When Drop Trio won for best jazz last year, the big discussion was who would be the one to pick up the eighth Houston Press statuette they've received overall. Keyboardist Ian Varley lives in Austin, bassist Patrick Flanagan in Fort Worth and drummer Nuje in The Woodlands. This year they figured it out: None of them showed up.
Friend of the band Jamie Martin accepted the award for them Wednesday, saying afterwards, "[Nuje has] family vacation and Ian has work, and I'm not sure exactly what's going on with Patrick for sure." But don't think the trio isn't grateful.
"Houston is still our home base," said Varley later by phone. "We play in Houston more than anyplace else." The trio got to appreciate their hometown's loyalty on a West Coast tour this past year.
"It's funny, having been out on tour, you realize the world is a bit larger than Houston," says Varley. "And it's hard getting love outside of your hometown. It always feels really great in Houston."
This fall, the gentlemen will embark on a northeast tour, playing big cities like New York and Chicago. But don't ever expect them to stray that far away from the place that made them the funky-ass jazzmen they are today. C.D.L.
Houston's Finest CD Store and Venues That swanky joint called Venue downtown was deemed the best place in town to hear Latin music, the only surprise in yet another year that saw Blanco's (C&W), the Mucky Duck (Folk) and Big Easy (Blues) continue their strangleholds of at least a decade's duration. Warehouse Live triumphed for the second straight year as Best Rock Venue and Best Concert Venue, and the convincing margins of victory in both categories suggest that its run may continue for a long time.
Since the closure of Cactus Music and Video, Soundwaves prevailed for the second straight year, doubling the vote total of second-place finisher Sound Exchange, which in turn doubled the tally of third-place Sig's Lagoon. Those of you who voted Best Buy in fourth place, ahead of Vinal Edge, All Records and a host of other real record stores, deserve everything bad that ever happens in your lives. J.N.L.