Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bon Iver, WAMI Favorite

By Evan Rytlewski
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Bon Iver, the nom de plume of Eau Claire folk singer Justin Vernon, took home Artist of the Year honors at the 29th Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) awards last night, an inevitability, perhaps, given the widespread critical acclaim Vernon garnered across the country for last year's For Emma, Forever Ago. It's hard to argue that any Wisconsin musician made a bigger, broader impact last year than Vernon.

Though this year's WAMIs saw the veteran award show pluck nominees from beyond its usual (often inner) circles, upsets were few and far between. Invade Rome edged out Kings Go Forth for the New Artist of the Year honors in an unsurprising affirmation of WAMI voters' preferences for rock music over soulóor anything not rock, reallyóand Danny Gokey was shut out of the Christian/Gospel Artist category, not that he was going to be there to collect an award, anyway. Mostly, though, awards went to predictable local favorites and established names, as is the WAMI's usual preference.

The winners:

Alternative Artist of the Year                    The Lackloves
Hard Rock Artist of the Year                     Spiral Trance
Rock Artist of the Year                              Verona Grove
Pop Artist of the Year                                Ronnie Nyles & the Tallulah Who
Country Artist of the Year                         Geoff Landon & the Wolfpack
Christian/Gospel Artist of the Year           Chad James
Hip Hop/Rap Artist of the Year                 The Figureheads
R&B/Soul Artist of the Year                     Soul Food
Tribute Nostalgia Artist of the Year          Mark Shurilla
CD of the Year                                          "My World" by Hindsight
Song of the Year                                        "Hallmark" by The Lackloves
Artist of the Year                                       Bon Iver
New Artist of the Year                               Invade Rome
Bassist of the Year                                     Chris Steelman
Drummer of the Year                                 Dave Schoepke
Guitarist of the Year                                   Evan Christian
Reeds/Brass Player of the Year                  Warren Wiegratz (Sax)
Special Instrument Player of the Year        Rachel Trapp (Violinist)
Keyboard Player of the Year                      Connie Grauer
Music Venue of the Year                            Mill Creek Blues
Print/Electronic Media of the Year            OnMilwaukee.com
Producer of the Year (Tie)                         Jeff Hamilton and Justin Perkins
Radio Station of the Year                          89 Nine Radio Milwaukee
Recording Studio of the Year                    Renwood Messenger
Americana Artist of the Year (Tie)            Copper Box and Liam Ford Band
Cover Band of the Year                             Sonic Circus
Big Band/Swing Group of the Year          All Star SuperBand
Jazz Artist of the Year                               Paul Spencer Band
Blues Artist of the Year                            Alex Wilson
World/Reggae/Ska Group of the Year      De La Buena
Bluegrass Group of the Year                    Liberty Bluegrass Band
Female Vocalist of the Year                     Ronnie Nyles
Male Vocalist of the Year                        Cory Chisel

People’s Choice Award:
NE Quandrant                        Grand Union
NW Quandrant                       Copper Box
SE Quandrant                         The Toys

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