Album of the Year
White Noise, We the Ghost
The lack of a new Del Toros album leaves the door open for someone else to win this year and We the Ghost wasted no time jumping in to fill the gap. Although the band's debut, The Mixtape EP, was a great introduction to the band, White Noise raises the stakes with a refined lineup, tighter songs, and even better production by Rockwell Ripperger, who has become the band's unofficial unseen member. Every song on the disc has an undeniable hook, but know that when you hear lead track "Let Me Know", it will be stuck in your head for days. Songs this undeniable inevitably rise to the top.
Other favorites: Almost There, Dustin Pittsley; We Are All in the Gutter, But Some of Us are Looking at the Stars, The Bourgeois; Beautiful Distractions, by Joesf Glaude
Artist of the Year
This one should come as no surprise to anyone. Although Brandon Clark may have slowed down a bit from a pace that had him playing over 300 shows a couple years back, he's still one of the hardest working musicians in town, mixing up solo, duo ("The Branditos" with Brandon Autry and regular dates with Travis Kidd) and band (BCB and Thieving Birds) gigs, making him nearly inescapable and the epitome of a full-time Tulsa musician. Need any more explanation why Brandon Clark is taking home his 4th consecutive "Artist of the Year" award?
Other favorites: Chase Stites; Dan Crossland
Band of the Year
We the Ghost
After a year that saw We the Ghost go to SXSW, play the big downtown New Year's Eve concert, kick off the Guthrie Green concert season, open for Imagine Dragons, and release another new CD, it's only fitting that the group should land "Band of the Year" honors. And with featured appearances at Center of the Universe and Utica Music Fest locked in for this summer and songwriting for the next album already underway, you can rest assured that We the Ghost isn't about to slow down. In fact, odds are Tulsa's favorite rock band will be in the running again next year as its buzz only continues to grow.
favorites: Beneath; FM Pilots
Dustin Pittsley Band
It's been a big year for Dustin Pittsley Band as the band has toured nationally, played Buddy Guy's in Chicago, opened a string of shows for Dierks Bentley, won the Tulsa Blues Challenge (yet again) and returned to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. Add in the release of Already There, Pittsley's most mature and well rounded album to date, and you can see why Pittsley and his crew are finally taking home the ABoT trophy for "Best Blues/R&B", even though their music covers not only the blues, but so much more.
Other favorites: Little Joe McLerran; Wanda Watson Band
Best Christian Artist
Angie Cockrell's presence within Tulsa's music scene has continued to grow over the past eight years as she has released four albums and crossed genres. Armed with a stunning voice, her faith has always stood strong in the center, regardless of style, whether Cockrell dips her toes into pop, jazz, country, blues or bluegrass. That mix of faith and flexibility is why she also rises to the top to stand out as this year's "Best Christian Artist."
Other favorites: Scales of Motion; Stars Go Dim
Tulsa Symphony repeats in this category, but this isn't a matter of winning by the status of a name. TS raised the bar this past season with an ambitious "Colors" series with each month's show representing a different hue in the spectrum and corresponding emotion. With a combination of Tulsa's elite musicians, prestigious guests and a repertoire that keeps pushing the boundaries of Tulsa's expectations of the performing arts, TSO has earned this distinction in every way.
Other favorites: Tulsa Oratorio Chorus; Joesf Glaude with James Ruggles
Best Club DJ
When Tulsa wants to get out and dance, it looks for the best DJ's in town. This year's race was closer than ever as the local dance scene has expanded with some killer new talents pushing the limits and expanding our EDM envelop. At the end of the day, however, DJ Kylie returns (also a winner in 2010) to reign supreme with her high energy mixes that fill the dance floor wherever she goes.
Other favorites: Darku J; DJ Scandal
Kristin Nicole Band
Even though the group has scaled back its schedule over the past year, Kristin Nicole Band has kept its reputation in tact by delivering a high energy show that mixes modern and classic country with a rock attitude. By hand picking its dates, a loyal fan base continues to show up in droves and show it support, making Kristin Nicole Band a perennial winner, taking home the honors in this category once again.
Other favorites: Jimmy Blythe & Midnight Run; Outlaw Son
Best Cover Band
By delivering a mix of classic rock, pop, soul, '80s nostalgia and current hits, The Sellouts have continued to build a following as a Tulsa favorite. And considering the band can do all of it well -- and is led by charismatic front man Jacob Dement -- it's only logical that our readers should name The Sellouts this year's "Best Cover Band".
Other favorites: The Chasers; Hi-Fidelics
Best Female Vocalist
Branjae Jackson is that rare voice that manages to stay true to classic soul and funk while throwing in just a touch of rock attitude. After paying her dues in the background, Jackson has been turning heads over the past year with her own band, Branjae & the Allstars, but this is just the beginning. As one of the strongest female voices in Tulsa, we're expecting to hear much more from this young lady over the coming year as she continues to blow up on the local music scene.
Other favorites:Kristin Nicole; Olivia Duhan
COURTESY SP’S REVERBNATION
The Hip Hop landscape continues to shift as Alan Doyle steps up his game to take home this year's award. Armed with four albums and two EPs worth of material that marry old school rap with a contemporary attitude, Doyle doesn't worry about niches, instead playing everywhere from Hip Hop to rock venues, delivering his music to a broad audience with performances at Turf 300 Club, Treehouse, Vanguard, The Yeti, Fassler Hall, Back Alley Blues and anywhere else that will allow him on stage. That no boundaries approach is just what launched him to the forefront to take him the trophy this year.
Other favorites:Surron the Seventh; Mike Dee
Best Indie Rock
All About A Bubble
Although All About A Bubble initially formed in 2011, it was 2012 before the band really found traction and began making headway. Getting its gear stolen (and amazingly enough, recovered) only lit a fire under the band, which released its debut disc, The Life and Times of..., and has become a local favorite; playing any stage they can while mixing an indie attitude with a keen sense of melody. That's exactly what has vaulted the band to the front of the indie rock scene over past 12 months.
Other favorites: Scales of Motion; The Del Toros
How did this young siren dethrone the mighty Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey? Perhaps it's the fact that her voice is as stunning as her looks or that she's finding a balance between traditional jazz and classic pop. It could also be that she has earned the praise of Tulsa's old guard by showing respect to their work while helping our city's next generation of artists begin to write a new chapter in our jazz history. Mostly, though, she's bridging the gap between generations while looking forward to the future and proving to be one of our most promising young talents.
Other favorites: Joesf Glaude Band; JFJO
Best Large Music Venue
How can Cain's Ballroom *not* win this category? Although we've got a number of fabulous venues, and even a sense of history with a few, none can rival Cain's Ballroom in heritage, history and reputation. There's a reason why everyone wants to play Cain's Ballroom, be it emerging rock bands that want to play the same stage The Sex Pistols played, Texas country artists wanting to prove their worth or living legends like Willie Nelson, Robert Plant and Bob Dylan. More than merely "The House that Bob built", the Cain's Ballroom is a tangible piece of history and part of the fabric of Tulsa.
Other favorites: Brady Theater; BOk Center
Best Live Performance
As the winner in last year's Metal/Hard Rock category, Beneath took advantage of that title to get a little more exposure and the opportunity to play a wider variety of venues. In the process, the band proved that it's not only brutally heavy, but blisteringly intense with a live show that blows everyone away. The band approaches every gig as a full blown concert, earning itself a new distinction for delivering the "Best Live Performance."
Other favorites: The Chasers; Searching for Sanity
Best Local Producer/Studio
Ripperger may be better known as the man behind Stephen Speaks, but he's quickly building his reputation as a great producer by helping others reach their vision with a guiding hand and great ear. Just a few of the things he's had a hand in over the past 12 months: Christmas with Friends, Jason Ferguson and We the Ghost's White Noise (which, perhaps not so coincidentally, won "Album of the Year"). And he's already a front runner in next year's race for his engineering work on Eric Himan's new CD, Gracefully, which just came out. Rockwell proves to be something of a renaissance man with a studio gift that others weren't previously aware of -- until now.
Other favorites: Hank Charles/Valcour Sound; Church Studio
Best Male Vocalist
Beau Tyler (We the Ghost)
e front man for We the Ghost, Tyler doesn't have much to room to complain. After all, he may be the primary songwriter, but he's got not one, but two killer guitarists in his band, which allows him to interact with the audience and focus on singing. That has only made his vocals even stronger, but he's also shown he's not afraid to challenge himself and sharing the spotlight with Ben Kilgore and Stephen Speaks on the band's last record only pushed him even further, earning honors as "Best Male Vocalist" for the second consecutive year.
Other favorites: Other favorites: Dustin Pittsley; Jimmy Blythe
Best Metal/Hard Rock
After years of toiling behind the scenes, Beneath finally emerged from the shadows last year as the surprise winner in this category by marrying classic and modern metal sensibilities. Not about to lay low or take a step backwards, the band has only turned it up this year, becoming a leader on the local hard rock scene and establishing itself as a live entity to be reckoned with. With new music on the horizon, Beneath continues to up the ante and takes home another award in the Best Metal/Hard Rock category.
Other favorites: Other favorites: Searching for Sanity; Firstryke
Best Music Video
"Be Your Own Machine" by The Bourgeois
The Bourgeois snags top honors in the first year for us to include a "Best Music Video" category with a clip that encapsulates the band's vibe and a true independent spirit. At once gritty and a touch ethereal, "Be Your Own Machine" musically channels elements of modern classics like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and The Replacements while diving headlong into the future with the ambience of an art house flick. It's also one of the first videos to be composed with the trendy new Vine app.
Other favorites: "Flatline," by Beneath; "Matthew," by All About a Bubble
Newcomer of the Year
SocietySociety isn't really a new band so much as a band reborn. After breaking up and following different paths, the members all came together at the end of 2012 and reemerged with a renewed energy, fresh attitude and new maturity and focus. When the band mixes live hip hop with big guitar riffs and punk rock energy, its wins over audiences from across genres to create a new buzz in town. That's why SocietySociety has jumped to the forefront as one of our most promising young bands to become the Newcomer of the Year.
Other favorites: Young Lyons; For the Wolf
Best Party Cover Band
Should we just rename this the "Crossland" Award? Once again, Dan Crossland and his merry men dominate this category by delivering more than just music. A Crossland show isn't just another night in the club, it's a full contact sport. A full light show, a fun set list and a band that actually puts on a production. No matter how your week has gone, you can always count on this band to bring the party.
Other favorites: Sellouts; Octane Blue
Best Radio Personality
Gary "Turbo" Webb / 91.3 RSU Radio
After spending a few years in the shadows, Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma's biggest supporter of local and regional metal and hard rock finally steps into the spotlight as metal fans reward him for a job well done. If you want to know what's really going on within the metal and hard rock scene, this is the man to listen to. He'll feed your ears 'til they bleed.
Other favorites: Sellouts; Octane Blue
Best Radio Station for Music
91.3 FM, RSU Radio
In a turn of events that surprised even the UTW staff, RSU Radio sneaks by all the big boys to snag the "Best Radio Station for Music" award by opening its airwaves to all genres of music. Bluegrass, metal, jazz, electronic, reggae, ska, classic rock, Americana and college rock each have a place in the playlist, proving that sometimes the little guys can be the big corporate stations at their own game by delivering something for everyone.
Other favorites: 104.5 FM The Edge; 97.5 KMOD
Best Red Dirt
Red Dirt Rangers
It's hard to define the Red Dirt genre, but even harder to do so without referencing Red Dirt Rangers. The band is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with its "Oklahoma World Tour" and the release of Lone Chimney, an album that perfectly summarizes what The Rangers are about -- which is just about everything. Touches of folk, rock, country, jazz, blues and jam band all come together to create a magical chemistry that many have tried to emulate, but only the Red Dirt Rangers can truly create from scratch. The Rangers have never gone away, but a 25th anniversary resurgence merely reminds us why we've loved them for so long. It's hard to imagine the Red Dirt movement without Red Dirt Rangers.
Other favorites: Jimmy Blythe; Brandon Clark Band
FM Pilots had a near immediate chemistry once it formed in 2010, quickly producing a debut EP and gaining the attention of Z104.5/The EDGE to land on the 2010 Homegroan compilation. Since then, a steady diet of writing and playing has allowed the band to continue to develop and gradually win over local audiences with a radio ready blend of pop melodies, slick production and rock delivery. With two EPs and a stack of shows under their belt, including back to back trips to SXSW, FM Pilots is poised to take its next step as it earns honors as this year's "Best Rock/Pop" artist.
Other favorites: We the Ghost; The Del Toros
Best Small Music Venue
It's been roughly a year since The Vanguard opened its doors and since then it has hosted everyone from local bands to nationally touring acts. Names like Band of Skulls, Joy Formidable, Vintage Trouble, The Mowgli's, The Flatlanders, Ian Moore, Ben Taylor, Justin Furstenfeld and the 1975 have all graced the stage in this club, as the Vanguard continues to push its boundaries and book the best talent possible, regardless of genre. And when armed with a killer sound system, Tulsa is finally starting to recognized what a hidden treasure the room is, making it the "Best Small Music Venue" this year.
Other favorites: Mercury Lounge; SoundPony
Song of the Year
"Matthew" by All About A Bubble
All About a Bubble
If you need a good summary of All About A Bubble, "Matthew" is all great place to start: a solid mix of atmospheric, indie pop and melodic rock that builds to an emotional climax. As a standout track on the band's 2012 debut, it has also been the focus of fan attention, leading the band to shoot a video for the track and release it as a single. Obviously, that was a wise move as "Matthew" brings home top honors for the band as "Song of the Year."
Other favorites: "Let Me Know," We the Ghost; "Defy the Idea," Beneath
Urby Hall of Fame Inductee
Pretty much single-handedly defined, then refined the Tulsa Sound. Making huge strides with his eponymous band, and also making appearances with acts like The Tractors, Steve Pryor has become a name synonymous with "guitar," "shred," and "awesome." The photo -- ubiquitous in the '90s and '00s -- of Pryor against a brick wall, cigarette in mouth and angel wings chalked behind him is an iconic image in the Tulsa music world. Pryor is a member of the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame and for a time was considered the heir apparent to Stevie Ray Vaughan. And you can tell, too, even if you're not listening: Pryor's and Vaughan's Strats, when viewed side-by-side, have nearly-identical scuff marks, revealing very similar playing styles. If you're looking to find the baddest guitar badass in a town full of badass musicians, you don't look past Steve Pryor.
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