"And the winner for the Absolute Best of Tulsa's Band of the Year is ..." Wouldn't you love to hear your group's name called.
It has a nice ring to it -- "Band of the Year." Besides granting pretty intense bragging rights, it looks nice placed on the mantle above the fireplace or neatly typed on a group's résumé. The title basically makes any recipient a card-carrying force to be reckoned with. These bands have practiced, performed and made a name for themselves in the Tulsa music community, and they're looking to be the name to complete the above phrasing. Let's find out how they made it thus far.
On top of being nominated for "Band of the Year," Chuk Cooley and the Demon Hammers has spread like a virus across the ballot. "Album of the Year" (Born Rebels), "Song of the Year" ("Moving Mountains"), "Best Live Stage Performance" and "Best Metal/Hard Rock" are all within the band's grasp. With all of these categories, it's a wonder if you aren't familiar with the Demon Hammer's sound, its live shows or the devotion of its fans.
The sound of Chuk Cooley and the Demon Hammers is rooted in metal and alternative rock, but the group puts an acoustic twist on the formula. The result is a percussive and restrained tenacity that cannot be accomplished by simply turning all amps to 11. The mix results in a unique sound that is both melodic and powerful, a perfect launching pad for Cooley's personal songs.
Cooley's stage presence is that of a preacher with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the fires and brimstone of hell. He has survived years of incarceration and drug abuse only to rise above and preach positivity and redemption in a manner only a sinner could.
Last year, Cooley was nominated for "Best Male Vocalist" and the band for "Best Metal/Hard Rock," the latter of which they won. This year, it is a question of how much the success of the previous year will multiply, and how many more trophies the Demon Hammers could take home?
Like Cooley and company, Eric and the Adams is not a single award nominee outfit. Alongside "Band of the Year," songwriter/vocalist Eric Himan is up for "Artist of the Year" and "Best Male Vocalist," while the band itself is in pursuit of "Best Pop Rock."
The group's name is implicit of exactly what to expect. It features the previously mentioned Himan, and a rhythm section comprised of siblings Angel and Jimmy Adams. Himan had been performing and releasing music as a solo artist in Tulsa for years before asking the two Adams to back him up for a gig. The temporary arrangement quickly turned into an established fact. To further alter and evolve his sound, Himan switched from acoustic guitar to electric and the sound of Eric and the Adams properly formed.
The chemistry of the trio has helped push Himan's songwriting past the general pop singer/songwriter material to encompass aspects of rock and soul, too.
The core sound of Eric and the Adams is built upon modern pop radio concepts and appeal. However, the group proves that one need not subscribe to the sugary hollow saccharine noise that often pollutes the FM in order to make good pop music.
Last year, Himan walked away with trophies for "Best Artist of the Year" and "Best Male Vocalist." We'll see if he can defend his titles from 2009, while adding to his collection this year.
One might recall the band Halo Jordan from the award show last year for two particular reasons. First, the band arrived to the ceremony with a head-turning horse drawn carriage. More importantly though, the lesser-known band swept all three categories in which they were nominated beating out favored acts for "Best Album," "Best Song" and "Best Christian Performance."
The rockabilly trio has its roots in an oldies band called The Twisters, which featured father-son duo Red Polston and Aaron Polston. The duo formed Halo Jordan as a way of spreading their Christian faith, and its members often refer to the band as a ministry of sorts.
The sound of the band is rooted in the classic rockabilly sensibilities and rhythms of artists such as Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, but the devout Christian message of the lyrics gives the vocals a familiar gospel tinge.
No longer the underdogs, the band has downsized from three to two nominations this year: "Band of the Year" and "Best Christian."
Band Restless Ribbon has built upon their 2009 "Newcomer of the Year" award in the most admirable fashion. This year, they are up for no less than five categories including "Best Male Vocalist," "Best Pop/Rock," "Band of the Year," "Song of the Year" ("Here When You Need Me") and "Album of the Year" (Restless Ribbon).
The young trio performs an incredibly dynamic and catchy brand of emotive rock complete with soaring choruses helmed by Chase Stites' vocals.
Restless Ribbon definitely has the most modern sound of all the nominees fusing the fury of pop punk and emo with incredibly infectious pop production.
The band has only been together since the end of 2008 and it earned the award for "Newcomer of the Year" in 2009 with less than a year under its belts. If the band keeps up with its current momentum, there is no telling how far it will go.
Stars Go Dim has one of the more impressive résumés of all of the nominees for "Band of the Year," winning songwriting awards, regularly touring regionally and sharing the stage with John Mayer and Sara Bareilles among others.
Last year, they made an unsuccessful bid for "Best Rock/Pop," but this year stands to be quite different.
The band is nominated for "Album of the Year" for its well-received Love Gone Mad, which released last year, and it returns to the "Best Pop/Rock" category this year as well. Lastly, their vocalist Chris Cleveland, the emotional and melodic center of the band, is up for "Best Male Vocalist" totaling four nominations.
The attention is well deserved. The band is a pop behemoth producing professional and well-executed material that belongs on the radio alongside national artists it has shared the stage with.
As with many of the categories, "Band of the Year" is a grab bag of styles and is anyone's game really. Every band finds itself in its own genre, and each deserves the victory in its own way. The band will have a chance to showcase its talents at this year's Tulsa State Fair. Now, it is just a matter of who you guys voted for.
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