February 17, 2010, 7:26AM
GRAND RAPIDS — Traveling the “dusty road” for late-night gigs, long recording sessions and overseas tours has paid off for Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Drew Nelson.
Nelson was the big winner at Tuesday night’s Jammie Awards hosted by community radio station WYCE-FM at The Intersection, walking off with Album of the Year honors for his “Dusty Road to Beulah Land” CD and Song of the Year for “Waiting for the Sun.”
But in a night filled with a celebration of Michigan’s best music, Nelson, 38, was characteristically thrilled just to be part of the show, sharing the stage with many exceptional musicians and songwriters, from blues guitarist Greg Nagy (best new solo artist) to inventive rock act Chance Jones (best alternative album) to jazz’s rousing Groove Merchant (best jazz album).
“It’s the recognition of your peers. It’s huge,” Nelson said. “When your hometown recognizes you, it’s real special.”
That attitude was typical of many musicians who were among the hundreds of fans wedging their way into the nightclub for performances and award presentations as part of the 11th annual Jammies. Even those without a nominated album for 2009 couldn’t resist being part of the musical affair.
“It’s a chance to see local musicians get the red carpet treatment,” acknowledged singer-songwriter Chris Andrus, who’s finishing up a solo album at the studios of Mackinaw Harvest Music.
As WYCE music director Pete Bruinsma put it, it was an excuse for many bands and artists to see emerging groups they might not otherwise get a chance to see.
“I have a list in my head of people I want to see,” Nelson said. “It’s a place to discover new people.”
Nelson’s win Tuesday follows his selection in January as The Press’ Local Spin of the Year.
WYCE doled out awards in 15 local categories based on voting by the radio station’s 80-plus programmers, along with its people’s choice awards for Best New Artist and Best Overall Artist, determined by online fan voting. Those honors went to rock group Bowery, led by Phill Kulas and Shanee Laurent, which last year released its debut album, “Our Love is a Ghost.”
In a tie, programmers voted The Fainting Generals and Cookie Bumstead, both rock bands with an innovative flair, as Best New Group of 2009.
2010 Jammie Awards
WYCE-FM presented its awards for best local music of the year Tuesday night in a star-studded affair at The Intersection. Here are the winners:
Best local album of the year
Best local song of the year
Best new solo artist
Best male solo artist
Best female solo artist
Best instrumental album
Best traditional artist/group
Best contemporary duo or group
Best new group (tie)
Best blues album
Best jazz album
Best jam or funk album
Best alternative or electronic album
Best various artists album
Best record label
People’s choice award for best new album and best overall
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