Days before the swarm of SXSW, the Austin music scene takes a moment to pause and reflect. For one lovely evening at the Moody Theater, local artists and industry leaders gather for an evening of recognition, celebration, and community. Less a stuffy awards show and more a party with a few statuettes tossed in, the 2020 Austin Music Awards on March 11 promises to be an unforgettable night of explosive performances and heartfelt thanksgiving.
Austin’s Historical Event
The history of Austin Music Awards coincides with the birth of The Austin Chronicle. First included in Issue #1 as the Austin Music Poll, the feature quickly morphed into a proper awards show in 1983. It’s since become a highly anticipated yearly event where Austin’s finest musicians are recognized.
Over the years, the ceremony has played host to legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Ely, and Bruce Springsteen. Unlike most awards shows, the winners are chosen by the Chronicle’s readers. This unique connection between award recipient and voter makes the ceremony more about celebrating the local scene than an industry giving one another high fives.
This year, the show looks to return to a more laid-back, casual feel more in touch with the event’s roots. Comedian Chris Cubas and former AMA award winner Jackie Venson will emcee the show. And to make the night more accessible to music fans, ticket prices have been significantly reduced.
And the Nominees Are…
The slate of nominees cover every imaginable genre across 51 categories. From well-known awards like Best New Austin Band and Album of the Year to newer categories, every facet of the local music scene will be represented.
As always, two prestigious awards will be awarded to three incredible stalwarts of the Ausin music industry. The Margaret Moser Women in Music Award will be handed to Tamara Saviano. A renowned producer of Texas music, most notably for Kris Kristofferson’s wonderful “The Cedar Creek Sessions,” Saviano is a mainstay in Austin’s music industry and beyond.
This year’s Townes Van Zandt Songwriter Award will be awarded to Bill and Ruth Ellsworth Carter. Long time singer/songwriters, their work has been covered by everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Waylon Jennings to Stray Cats. Two talented musicians who still crank out stunning songs to this day.
There’s a Party Going On
Between the handshakes and acceptance speeches, there’s a concert going on. This year’s musical lineup is nothing short of spectacular. And the lineup is:
- Big Wy’s Horns
- DJ Chorizo Funk
- Grupo Fantasma
- Hard Proof
- Harry & Emmy
- Jon Dee Graham
- Kathy McCarty
- Rich Brotherton
- Sir Woman
- Walker Lukens & The Side Arms
- The Well
And don’t forget the surprise guests. Every year, Austin Music Awards organizers manage to shock the audience with unexpected stars. Whether it’s an out-of-the-blue appearance by Fiona Apple or a visit from Robert Plant, the Moody stage becomes a magnet for superstars. Guaranteed to be a surprise or three during the proceedings.
With a more casual vibe, modest ticket prices, and a lineup bursting with homegrown talent, this year’s Austin Music Awards is a true return to roots. Those who claim the Austin music scene is on the downward swing should grab a ticket to this celebration and rethink their stance. More than an awards show, it’s a musical showcase of all that’s right and true about our one-of-a-kind music community.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Did you vote in the 2020 Austin Music Awards? If so, who are you rooting for?