By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The 2009 RFT Music Showcase looked different than it did in past years, and it wasn't just because of the nasty thunderstorm that shortened Beat Street Crew's set and drenched the crowd. During the past year, a ton of popular local bands (many of which were perennial music-awards nominees and showcase performers) broke up, which shook the foundation of the cozy St. Louis music community.
And so this year's list of music-awards winners — which were chosen by RFT's readers — reflects the city's continued music evolution. Northwoods — a Simon & Garfunkel-esque duo, which just started playing here last summer — swept the Best New Band category by a comfortable margin. So did Kentucky Knife Fight in the Best Album (Self-Released) category, for its The Wolf Crept, the Children Slept. And hodgepodge blues trio the Rum Drum Ramblers swept both categories in which it was nominated: Best Blues Artist and Best Local Album (On a Label), thanks to the Big Muddy Records release Hey Lordy Mama Mama Get Up and Go.
But even the city's veteran bands weren't resting on their laurels. Gentleman Auction House (Best Pop Band), Head On Collision (Best Metal/Thrash) and So Many Dynamos (Best Indie Band) all released quality albums on well-respected national indie labels in the last year. Local winners Erin Bode (Best Jazz Artist), Earthworms (Best Hip-Hop/Rap Artist, Duo or Group), Bob Reuter (Best Singer-Songwriter, Male) and Cassie Morgan (Best Singer-Songwriter, Female) also released CDs. And even those who didn't release new tunes in the past year continued to perform around (and out of) town on a regular basis, filling local venues with exuberant music night in and night out.
Either way, the bands and artists on these pages represent a diverse cross-section of the local music community. Congratulations to all!
Best Americana/Folk (Traditional)
Best Americana/Folk (Untraditional)
Best Blues Artist
Rum Drum Ramblers
Best Hip-Hop/Rap Artist (Solo)
Best Hip-Hop/Rap Artist (Duo or Group)
Best Hip-Hop DJ
Best Indie Band
So Many Dynamos
Best Jazz Artist
Head On Collision
Best New Band
Best Pop Band
Gentleman Auction House
Best Rock Band
Best Singer-Songwriter (Female)
Best Singer-Songwriter (Male)
Best Album (Self-Released)
Kentucky Knife Fight
The Wolf Crept, the Children Slept
Best Album (On a Label)
Rum Drum Ramblers
Hey Lordy Mama Mama Get Up and Go
(Big Muddy Records)
Lifetime Achievement Awards
The Bottle Rockets • Bunnygrunt • Kim Massie • Murder City Players • The Trip Daddys
The RFT's inaugural Lifetime Achievement category isn't meant to honor local-music dinosaurs who've been put to pasture. No, the first annual list of honorees recognizes bands that have been toiling away in the city's clubs for years, while continuing to improve their craft. The Bottle Rockets has a new album, Lean Forward, due in August — and it's among the best in the group's long and storied catalog. Sloppy-pop innovators Bunnygrunt promise that a new LP, Matt Harnish and Other Delights, is due soon. Reggae stalwarts Murder City Players are working on new tunes, and rock-a-billy rioters the Trip Daddys recently produced Roll On!, an LP full of its trademark sounds. And then there's Kim Massie, the brassy soul legend who never tires of performing around St. Louis, whether she's taking the stage at Brandt's Café, Jazz at the Bistro, the Sheldon or Beale on Broadway.