Outstanding Rock Band
You readers have just awarded Las Pesadillas their sixth Sammie. Now this isn’t supposed to happen, folks. Usually a band wins three Sammies in a specific category before getting retired to the Hall of Fame, but the Pesadillas’ unique music seems to evolve at the speed of sound, so they never win the same award twice. So far, they’ve taken home Sammies for their songwriting, their CDs, their live show, and for being both the best country and rock act in town. Look for them next year in the rap/hip-hop category.
Outstanding World/Latin Band
Often when a lead singer leaves a band, it signals the end. But when Sam Miranda left Raigambre last year to form his own project, it didn’t slow down the rest of his former bandmates. Now fronted by a new singer, the dynamic Celia Hernandez-Lopez, the band is once again out on the town, rocking their Chicano-groove with style and getting audiences up on their feet and dancing.
Outstanding Folk Musician
No surprises with this award! When Jackie Greene emerged on the scene in 2001, we knew he was one to watch. Sure enough, he proved himself a formidable folk contender, drawing comparisons to heavyweights like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Winning the Readers’ Choice award in the folk category for the second consecutive year (after winning Outstanding Blues Act the year before that), Greene has proven that he’s the guy to beat. Put your gloves on and step into the ring, but don’t say we didn’t warn you—this kid is a knockout.
Outstanding Country/Bluegrass Band
No doubt about it. Sacramento likes its country music filtered through more than a little bit of rock ’n’ roll. Nevada Backwards will grab hold of a listener and shake him way harder than anything he’s likely to hear on KNCI 105.1 FM, but the band still retains that mandolin-and-fiddle-influenced, foot-stompin’ sound that could only be developed in the wild West. Catch the band in a desert near you.
Outstanding Rap/Hip-Hop Musician
The rap/hip-hop category has been dominated for the past three years by the talented, but frightening horrorcore rap of 2005 Sammies Hall of Fame inductee Brotha Lynch Hung. Perhaps it’s a sign of a kinder, gentler Sacramento that Hung’s successor to this award is the super-positive Crazy Ballhead. Crazy B rocks stages all over the 916 and lends his conscious, upbeat rhymes and intricate song structures to such diverse events as film festivals, comedy shows, rock concerts and poetry readings. That’s why, when we said “Sammies!” you said “Ballhead!”
Outstanding Jazz Band
Four Guys from Reno
Four Guys from Reno continue to impress many guys and gals in Sacramento. Don’t be fooled by the name. They’re from Sacramento and, though they move pretty fast, we only counted three of them. Mostly centering on world beat-influenced fusion jazz that reminds one of the more upbeat jam bands, the Four Guys are certainly musicians to watch—particularly as they pick up their second Sammie award. If they win another one next year, it’s straight to the Hall of Fame.
Outstanding R&B/Funk Band
Brother Nefarious stirred up the crowds at last year’s Sammies awards with a rousing display of bongo-driven ensemble funk. Well, the crowds must have remembered because this explosive sextet has won this year’s Readers’ Choice Sammie for Outstanding R&B/Funk Band. If you’re looking for an instant Afro-Latin dance party, look no further than a Brother Nefarious show.
Outstanding Blues Band
Catfish & the Crawdaddies
It’s no wonder that Catfish & the Crawdaddies titled one of their CDs Blues from Another Delta, since one can hear Sacramento, New Orleans, and Mississippi delta blues in its rocking, shuffling sound. Led by Ray “Catfish” Copeland—an alumnus of Little Charlie and the Nightcats—for over 15 years, the band picks up its first Sammie this year.
Outstanding Cover Band
Attend a Mercy Me! show and it’s likely that you’ll know most, if not all, of the song lyrics by heart. The band has won its second Sammie for Outstanding Cover Band by specializing in the tunes that we all know and love, the kind that have been proven to get the party started. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the words to the Commodores’ “Brick House,” Mercy Me! still wants to see you let it all hang out.
Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal Band
Deconstruct may be the only Sacramento area metal band endorsed by the I Love Vagina Clothing Company. In fact, Deconstruct’s Web site lists 12 product endorsements, from Gibson guitars to D’Addario strings. But that’s not the only thing that sets this Sammie-winning metal ensemble apart from the herd. Deconstruct is a band gunning heavily for the mainstream and its churning guitars and growly vocals certainly seem ready for metal radio.
Outstanding Electronica Band
This brother-sister duo has dominated the electronica category since it was first introduced in 2003. Dusty Brown mixes ethereal vocals with heart-stutter drum-and-bass beats to take listeners on an aural, emotional ride. This summer, the Brown siblings plan to spread their sound to the Midwest on a cross-country tour. Since this is the duo’s third Sammie, they can rest assurred that Sacramento will still be in the palm of their hands when they return.
Outstanding Punk Band
The Knockoffs are nothing if not late bloomers. It took the band nearly four years after its inception to solidify it’s current lineup and it didn’t release 0its 10th anniversary DVD until closer to its 12th anniversary. The energetic and hilarious quartet has been together about as long as the Sammies have existed, and now, in 2005, the Knockoffs have finally won a third Sammie for Outstanding Punk Band—which will land them in the Hall of Fame next year. Congratulations, boys! Now would someone please buy them a monkey?
Outstanding Pop Band
They say that with age comes wisdom. If the adage is true, the members of Didley Squat are certainly wise beyond their years. The Sammies critics singled out Didley Squat keyboardist Stuart Nishiyama for an award this year, while SN&R readers voted the whole band worthy of the top pop honor. With an average age of 20, this unconventional pop-rock quartet has proven that age doesn’t matter—at least not to Sammie.