Best Singer-Songwriter (Male)

Fred Friction
Everyone who knows Fred Friction as host of KDHX's Fishing with Dynamite recognizes his Uncle Tupelo jones. He starts off every Thursday morning with a track from and a shout-out to that "little band from Belleville." As a singer and songwriter, however, Friction is very much a self-made man, a raw dive-bar poet who sings of doomed but hopeful characters over simple guitar strums, classic country melodies and the intermittent belch. He's an irreverent Americana rapscallion, to be sure, but his songs are bad habits you'll never want to shake. (RK)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 11 p.m.

Jon Hardy
The 2007 release Working in Love was a breakthrough for Jon Hardy (née Lutjens). It revealed a songwriter realizing a wholly personal vision — it was a breakup album, after all — within the forms of classic soul and pop songwriting, the kind of tunes that would have been top-shelf productions of the Brill Building. The recording sounds professional enough, but it's the songs — which are economical and catchy as memes — that sustain it. In simple lines like, "You know love don't work like that" and "You're the name that we all say," Hardy plants emotional seeds that expand in the listener's mind with natural, metaphorical force. (RK)
Main Outdoor Stage, 2 p.m.

Radical Sons. Nominated for Best Indie Band. Performing at Cicero’s, 6 p.m.
Radical Sons. Nominated for Best Indie Band. Performing at Cicero’s, 6 p.m.
Scripts 'N Screws. Nominated for  Best Hip-Hop/Rap Artist 
(Duo or Group). Performing at Vintage Vinyl, 8 p.m.
Scripts 'N Screws. Nominated for Best Hip-Hop/Rap Artist (Duo or Group). Performing at Vintage Vinyl, 8 p.m.

Bob Reuter
These days, Bob Reuter has more incarnations than Jack White. He's still one of the town's most compelling photographers and radio personalities, he still performs solo in cafés and bars, and he now fronts two bands: Thee Dity South and Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost. The former sounds like an exorcism of Howlin Wolf's ghost from a north St. Louis punk's body, and the latter captures what that exorcism sounds like recorded in a kitchen at the end of the world. In all cases, his images are fierce, original and true. (RK)

Caleb Travers
On his first album, Blue Weathered Dreams, Caleb Travers let his deep, sonorous voice and his acoustic guitar do most of the talking. But since then, Travers (with help from guitarist-about-town Jimmy Griffin) has plugged in and given an electric jolt to his songs, which recall the uptempo roots-rock of Tom Petty and Ryan Adams. Regardless of the sonic accoutrements, Travers can hold his own: His never-faltering voice and an ever-growing songbook owe a debt to his forebears, without being beholden to their templates. (CS)
Brandt's Café, 9 p.m.

Best Album (self-released)

The Educated Guess
West Skyline Drive
Ambition can be a curse, especially in young artists, but it's to Charlie Brumley's credit that his band, the Educated Guess, makes good on its big dreams. West Skyline Drive isn't exactly a concept album — it's more a series of loosely connected songs that centers on the American pioneer spirit, set to suitably twangy and grandiose music. Still, Brumley's knack for big-sky arrangements and E Street-indebted piano-playing make him a young artist worth watching. (CS)
The Cucina Outdoor Stage, 5 p.m.

Fred Friction
Jesus Drank Wine
Fred Friction's long-in-coming solo debut isn't an easy listen. He makes no effort to smooth over that craggy slur, earned by a lifetime of smoking 100s and supping on Stag beer, and cares nothing for rhythmic or melodic variation. These are country songs, three chords and Friction's twisted sense of the truth, sweetened slightly by instrumental assists from the likes of Tom Hall and John Horton. The album makes clear his debt to Americana junk masters like Tom Waits and Johnny Dowd, but songs like "The Whiskey I Drink" and "Little Baby Dreams" are enough to guarantee him last-call sing-along immortality. (RK)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 11 p.m.

The Helium Tapes
The Helium Tapes
After years of gigging around town, the Helium Tapes made its recorded debut last year. The wait was worth it, though: Sunyatta Marshall leads the group with a sweetly beguiling voice, and guitarist Tim Lohmann contributes both sonic inventiveness and an ear for pop dynamics. Much of the album is a throwback to the dark-tinted psychedelia of the '60s underground, although the Helium Tapes honors this heritage by updating it for modern times. (CS)

Kentucky Knife Fight
The Wolf Crept, the Children Slept
On The Wolf Crept, the Children Slept, Kentucky Knife Fight takes its liquor-soaked, corn-fed barroom rock and commits it to tape, without losing any of the rebel spirit that infuses its live shows. Singer Jason Holler sounds assured throughout the disc and embodies the restless, unrepentant spirit of the drifters and scoundrels that populate his songs. Meanwhile, his bandmates kick in the right amount of outlaw country and roots-rock to make the tunes stick to your ribs. (CS)
The Cucina Outdoor Stage, 3 p.m.

Defeated, TN
Defeated, TN is anything but. A thematic and musical victory, the album transcends the condescending term "local release." Eerie and mysterious, but also direct and passionate, the sound is psychedelic country-rock, in the vein of Beachwood Sparks and Sparklehorse, filtered through a box full of letters found in an attic and the personal connection Theodore makes to those stories. With a joyful lo-fi noise, the band creates an old, weird American world that is both self-contained and expansive. Discovering this record — properly released only on vinyl — is like being let in on a secret that you can never promise to keep. (RK)
Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 10 p.m.

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