Wrappin’ up the CAMMIES

Hap Hathaway at the CAMMIES Finale/Awards Show with the Butte Area Cypher Crew.

Hap Hathaway at the CAMMIES Finale/Awards Show with the Butte Area Cypher Crew.

photo by leah mckean

CAMMIES, last call Man, Chico knows how to party on a Sunday afternoon! The CN&R loves the local music scene, and we thank you all for kicking so much ass at another great CAMMIES finale. For those who missed it, here are the winners of the 2014 Chico Area Music Awards.

2014 CAMMIES People’s Choice Awards

Best Blues Act: Sapphire Soul
Best World Act: Wolf Thump
Best Rap Act: The Resonators
Best Jazz Act: Bogg
Best Hard Rock/Metal Act: Sorin
Best Punk/Ska Act: Big Tree Fall Down
Best Indie/Experimental Act: French Reform
Best Singer-Songwriter: Lisa Valentine
Best Rock Act: Aubrey Debauchery & The Broken Bones
Best Folk/Americana/Country Act: Three Fingers Whiskey
Best Jam/Funk Act: Alli Battaglia & The Musical Brewing Co.
Best Electronic Producer: Playboy Smooth
Best Electronic DJ: DJ Becca

2014 CAMMIES Critics’ Choice Awards:

Best Drummer: Noel Carvalho (Los Papi Chulos, Swamp Zen)
Best Female Vocalist: Mandalyn May
Best Guitarist: Mark Porkchop Holder
Best Male Vocalist: TyBox
Best Local Album: Talapachie, Michelin Embers
Best New Band: Electric Canyon Convergence
Best Songwriter: Donald Beaman
Best Local Act: French Reform
Local Badasses: Uncle Dad’s Art Collective

Susan Dobra

photo by alan sheckter

And, the Lifetime Achievement award … The recipient of our most prestigious CAMMIES award was out of town the day of the ceremony, so it seems right that we publicly recognize her in these pages since she wasn’t there to feel the love in person:

Normally, the CAMMIES Hogan/West/LaPado Lifetime Achievement Award goes to people with long résumés of working in the music community in many facets over the span of many years. But this year we’re giving the award to someone based on one particular piece of work. That piece of work by itself has found the recipient working with just as wide of a range of local musicians as previous recipients of this award, and has had an effect that reaches far beyond the confines of her gig.

In 2000, when local musicians Susan Dobra and the late Greg Tropea started an open mic (actually, the unamplified Open Mikeless) night at his old Humboldt Studios (where Café Coda is now) there were no regular open mics in town; no place where local musicians could just show up and try out their stuff. Today, of course, thanks to the influence of Dobra and those who’ve followed her, you can find an open mic or open jam nearly every night of the week.

Open Mikeless eventually moved to Has Beans, where it changed its name to Open Mikefull. Then it moved to the now-defunct Café Culture, then back to Has Beans before splitting in two. Longtime soundperson (and later cohost) Dan Casamajor kept Thursday open mics going at Has Beans, while Dobra moved the Open Mikefull name to a biweekly event—first and third Thursdays—at the Paradise Grange.

For a story on the 10th anniversary of Open Mikefull, Dobra told this paper: “All we do is set up mikes and people come in and do the most amazing things.” In fact, some of those amazing musicians who worked on their chops at open mics—Aubrey Debauchery, Deedee Vest, Julian Ruck, Fera—have gone on to become CAMMIE-winning artists as well.

In the same anniversary story, Casamajor also chimed in: “Open mic revolves around Susan’s joyfulness and graciousness. She will send you home feeling like a star even if you need to go home and practice some more. It’s a labor of love and a highlight of our week, a focal point of our lives.”

As a thank you for giving local musicians a stage and giving our future stars a venue at which to gain confidence and learn how to perform, the 2014 CAMMIES Hogan/West/LaPado Lifetime Achievement Award goes to: Susan Dobra.