SXSW 2015
Austin Music Awards

Local artists and unsung heroes honored at annual Austin Music Awards

Local artists and unsung heroes honored at annual Austin Music Awards

2014 Austin Music Awards_Austin Chronicle_SXSW_Billy Joe Shaver_qMarch 2015
Billy Joe Shaver was only one of the amazing local artist who performed during the 33rd annual Austin Music Awards. Photo by Nicole Raney

On Wednesday, some of our city's most remarkable artists were honored during the 33rd annual Austin Music Awards. Every year, the The Austin Chronicle and SXSW team up to host an evening that is part awards ceremony, part local music showcase.

Emcees Laurie Gallardo and Rick McNulty from KUTX took guests through a stunning lineup of performances and award announcements for this year's winners, which were voted on by Chronicle readers during the annual Music Poll.

Gina Chavez walked away with the most honors, raking in a total of four awards for her 2014 album up.rooted and beating out artists such as Gary Clark, Jr., Spoon and Shakey Graves. Band of the Year went to Riders Against the Storm, an innovative hip-hop group centered around husband and wife duo Chaka Mpeanaji and Qi Dada.

This year's Hall of Fame inductees represented a wide range of local talent, from singer Margaret Wright to guitarist Redd Volkaert to instrumental band Explosions in the Sky. But no matter what genre they play (or where they originally came from), the evening's winners had only love for their fellow Austinites for putting them up there on stage. "There is no music scene without you," Malford Milligan declared as he accepted the award for Best Male Vocals.

 "There is no music scene without you," said Malford Milligan, thanking fellow Austinites for their contribution to the industry. 

Interspersed among the congratulations on Wednesday were several mind-blowing performances that captivated the audience. "True Texan" Billy Joe Shaver kicked things off with a small set of original songs, but the night's most buzzed about performance was a touching Ian McLagan tribute from Alejandro Escovedo, Patty Griffin, The Bump Band and surprise guest Little Steven Van Zandt.

Earlier in the night, the late McLagan was posthumously awarded Best Keys player. "This man we consider an honorary Austinite, and we loved him dearly," said KUTX host Jody Denberg as he presented the award to McLagan's only son, who flew all the way from England to accept the honor on behalf of his father. "My dad would be thrilled to be here today because he loved this city so much," said Liam McLagan to the sound of warm applause, adding that Austin "gave him a home."

Homegrown musicians Gary Clark Jr. and Shakey Graves took the stage with fellow all-stars Phranchyze, Eve Monsees, Suzanna Choffel, Elias Haslanger and Warren Hood during "Return to Austin High," a range of performances that was just as diverse as our city's music scene. Austin's most talked about female artists banded together for "Viva la Diva," including Dana Falconberry, Tameca Jones, Sunny Sweeney, Carson McHone, Nina Diaz, Jazz Mills and 2014 darling Gina Chavez.

The industry winners were announced earlier in March, with titles such as best radio station (KUTX), best music venue (Strange Brew) and best recording studio (Arlyn Studios) going to the most deserving Austinites working behind-the-scenes. Casey Monahan — who headed the Texas Music Office since its inception before being removed from his position in February — was also inducted into the Hall of Fame and awarded as this year's Unsung Hero.

The artists who took away top titles from the 2014 Austin Music Awards are below. For the full list of winners, visit The Austin Chronicle.

Band of the Year: Riders Against the Storm
Musician of the Year: up.rooted  by Gina Chavez
Album of the Year: Gina Chavez
Song of the Year: "Siete D" by Gina Chavez
Best New Band: Migrant Kids
Hall of Fame inductees: Explosions in the Sky, Redd Volkaert, Margert Wright, Blaze Foley, Conjunto Los Pinkys