Accepting for Jukin’ Bone was Whiting, Mark Doyle and John DeMaso. Discussing the problems of being a young band, Whiting offered a piece of advice, “I would recommend not signing contracts under the influence of anything distilled or brewed, made in a laboratory or passed around and smoked,” eliciting loud laughter from the audience.
The final inductee of the night was moe. Al Schnier spoke first in accepting the honor, speaking of all the Syracuse area venues spent taking in shows as a fledgling musician. Schnier lauded promoters such as Chuck Chao of Creative Concerts, who inducted the band, thanking them for shaping who they became as musicians:
We came here as kids to see concerts Chuck (Chao) was promoting. They made us fans. Whether it was Driving Sideways or the Todd Hobin Band or the New York Flyers or 805; these were the bands we looked up to as kids. They could have been the Allman Brothers or the Grateful Dead; they were the same to us. You guys were rock stars.
Drummer Vinnie Amico attributed the band’s style to its Upstate New York roots, “We all wear our hearts on our sleeves. We all kind of have this style, this thing we do, because of where we’re from. We’re blue collar, baby. We work hard, we play our music that way. There’s an edge to our music and that’s a testament to Upstate New York.”
On Friday, 54 artists were nominated among 13 Syracuse Area Music Awards categories. Sprinkled in among the awards were performances by several of the Syracuse area’s finest musicians, representing genres ranging from blues rock to country, rap, alt-rock and jam. There is definitely a varied and vibrant scene in Central New York.
Emcee Dave Frisina kept the event lively and loose, often interacting with presenters and winners as they approached the microphone. Best Jam Band winner, Joe Driscoll, affectionately referred to the host as a jedi to laughter from the crowd.
The performances throughout the night revealed the depth of talent in the area. The Ripcords opened the night accompanied by the Boneyard Horns. They ripped through three bluesy/tex-mex style songs, kicking off the night in a celebratory fashion. Unfortunately, just as they seemed to be letting loose, their set was over. You can get a taste of what the Ripcords have to offer at their ReverbNation page here.
Best R&B recipient Alani Skye had several family members in attendance and received perhaps the most vocal and joyous reception to a win. Her win for Don’t Forget About Me was never in question for the vocalist as she accepted the award.
A performance by rap artist Curtis “Tall Bucks” McDowell and the Brownskin Band followed. The rhythm section of the Brownskin band mixed equal parts jazz and funk behind McDowell’s rhymes. A guest appearance by Syracuse rapper Real Tall for the song “Solar Radiation” had elements of early ’90s era Leaders of the New School collective.
The reality of life as a working musician came to light when Lauren Mettler was awarded the SAMMY for Best Folk. After an awkward pause waiting for the recipient to make her way to the stage, her brother made his way up to accept. In his speech, he stated how he had just texted her and she was still on her way to the theater. So, as any good brother would do, he stalled for time as she made her way down the aisle, peeling her coat off as she ran towards the stage.