On Nov. 21 at the Taft Theater, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards will experience its second "first" of 2005. While past years' ceremonies have doled out both the theater and music awards to honor excellence in the local performing arts communities, this year marks the first time the CEAs have split into two separate events.
And there's a new beneficiary to receive money raised by the music awards — the Michael Bany Scholarship Fund.
On Aug. 26, local theatrical awards were given out at a fantastic ceremony at CCM's Corbett Auditorium. Now the musicians get their day, as the CEAs return to the Taft for the first time since 1998, when The Afghan Whigs, who had just released what would be their final album, were inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame.
This year's batch of nominees is a mixed bag of familiar faces, newcomers and first-timers. Two new categories have been added. For Best Live Act, Noctaluca, Moth, Pain Link, Jake Speed and the Freddies, Robin Lacy & DeZydeco and the resurrected Hogscraper each received nods, representing a wide range of performance and musical approaches.
Speaking of resurrected, this year marks the return of the Best Musical Ambassador category, which honors artists who have made waves outside of the city limits and haven't been ashamed to admit they indeed hail from our delightful little metropolis. Iswhat?!, The Greenhornes, Heartless Bastards, Bottom Line, Cathedrals and the acclaimed Indie act The National (featuring all Cincinnatians but now based in Brooklyn) each received nominations in the reborn category.
Other categories open to public voting include Bluegrass/ Country (featuring nominees Rumpke Mountain Boys, Comet Bluegrass Allstars, Mack West, Danny Frazier Band and Dallas Moore Band), Folk/Americana (perennial nominee Jake Speed and the Freddies and first-timers The 13s, The Hiders, Gregory Morris Group and perhaps the most unusual nominee, 500 Miles to Memphis) and World Music (Mojenjo Daro, Roger Drawdy & the Firestarters, Tropicoso, Robin Lacy and Silver Arm).
First-time Rock nominees include newcomers Vinyltones, Bastion, Noctaluca and The Terrors, plus nationally-beloved tour-dogs Heartless Bastards. For Hard Rock/Metal, you can vote for new faces like Foxy Shazam, Pain Link and Blacklight Barbarian or Croatan and Black Tractor, who both received nominations last year in the same category. In Alternative/ Indie, Wussy, Cathedrals, Staggering Statistics, The Minni-Thins and (in)camera scored noms, while the Punk category features The Virgins, Black Tie Bombers, Death in Graceland, Caterpillar Tracks and Hogscraper, the only Punk band in the world to use wash-tub bass and banjo (that we know of).
The singer/songwriter category has some old favorites (Rob Fetters, Jeremy Pinnell of The Light Wires) as well as first-timers Peter Adams, Dan Mecher, Gregory Morris and Whitney Barricklow. The legendary Big Joe Duskin is joined in the Blues category by the Sonny Moorman Group, Ricky Nye and singer Cheryl Renee, while the Funk/R&B category honors Freekbass, Derrick Sanderson, Marvin & the Experience, The Naked Redheads and TriFectaFunk.
Triage, William Menefield, Faux Frenchmen, Cat City and long-running nominee Mike Wade make up the Jazz category, while 4 Track Allstars, Ill Poetic, Iswhat?!, CzarNok and djdq (of Glue and Animal Crackers) nabbed Hip Hop nominations. Travelin' Barefoot, Da Lemmings OnSombol, Grand Oversoul, Souse and The Ohms fill out the Jam Band category. For Experimental/Electronic, you can vote for Diet Audio, Le Technopuss13s, Hungry Lucy, Realicide or Burning Star Core.
The Critical Achievement Awards will be decided by the CEA nominating committee members. Staggering Statistics, The Terrors, Vinyltones, Turnbull ACs, The Virgins and Kentucky Struts received nominations for New Artist of the Year. The Album of the Year category has Bastion's The Honey Sacrifice, The Swarthy Band's Oh Yeah, Vinyltones' Memoirs of a Song-book, Heartless Bastards' Stairs and Elevators, Sonny Moorman's Crossroads Motel and Humans Bow Down's A Mirror.
The bigee, Artist of the Year, features Moth, Heartless Bastards, Cathedrals, The Greenhornes, Thee Shams and Hip Hop duo and Capitol Records' signees CzarNok.
Let the campaigning begin!
CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS information and ballot can be found at citybeat.com/cea.