I hope that you were all listening to Curtis Salgado when he was standing at the podium at the Muddy Awards. He was basically telling you the same thing I have been stating over and over again in this column for the past few years. Get out and check out some new music.
Curtis had spoken with me about a week before the Muddys and asked if he could be open about the awards show. I told him to fire away. He was concerned with seeing the same names year after year on the ballot when we have a world of talent within our region that is being overlooked. I told him I couldn’t agree with him more. Though the nominees selected are all worthy and deserving of the recognition, and most importantly they are the selections of our members, one can’t help but wonder why so many others working so hard night after night do not reach the ballot, too. When Curtis asked if I would mind his talking to the attendees at the Muddys, I told him I had no problem with that. Before the show started he cornered me and asked again just to confirm that there wasn’t an issue with his addressing his thoughts. Again, I told him to go for it, that I was behind him fully on this point.
There may have been some people upset by what Curtis spoke about, but he was only speaking the truth. And I would tend to believe that many of the people nominated over and over again would state the same thing. That is why we began retiring categories and naming them after those who have won at least a dozen times. This was started by request of some of the artists themselves as they felt that others should receive the recognition that they had received seemingly each year. Two categories next year will be retired and named for those with a dozen wins or more: R&B Act – Lloyd Jones and Drums – Jimi Bott. So, at least two categories should be offering new nominees.
Curtis wants to recognize his heroes, too. I saw him on stage at the Blues Music Awards where he said that he was up against the “real” blues men and that he’d give his award to Otis Clay if he could, because that was an influence for him and he felt deserving of the award for as many years as he has set our hearts afire with his soulful voice. That was the same thing he was talking about regarding local vocalist Andy Stokes. Here is a man within our own community who is a bone-deep soul man and entertainer and Curtis called Andy his vocal hero. Yet he is missing from the Muddy ballots. There was a smattering of applause in agreement with Curtis, BUT, if people would have stuck around until the end of the night, they would have also been true believers as Andy Stokes closed out the night and had those still there jumping with adrenaline. All I could say was WOW!!
All we are saying people, is there are a tremendous amount of talented musicians in our midst. You could probably attend a different show a few times a week for several months and not see the same act twice, there are that many. It’s always great to see names appear on the ballot that have been missed over the years, such as this year with folks like John Mazzocco, Doug Rowell, Dave Mathis and Ken DeRouchie. And I always get excited by the New Act category because it means you are paying attention to some acts you may not be familiar with.
Get out there and do yourself a favor, check out somebody new to you this month. Make a practice to do this regularly. Go to a new venue. You just might be surprised at what you discover out there. And maybe we’ll see some more names nominated along with your regular favorites. Lord knows there are enough out and about to make a difference.