It’s time for the nominees to start hoping for a Sammy

Syracuse Area Music Award Hall of Fame member Ronnie Leigh performs this morning a the Palace Theatre.

Syracuse Area Music Award Hall of Fame member Ronnie Leigh performs this morning a the Palace Theatre.

All it took was the voice and keyboard work of Ronnie Leigh to get me excited about the Syracuse Area Music Awards all over again.

In Syracuse, jazz singer Leigh has been The Voice for many decades before NBC started a singing competition named “The Voice.”

To start the festivities to announce what’s-what for this year’s edition of the Sammys, Leigh sang the standard “All Blues.” He ended the program with his soulful rendition of Marvin Gaye’s classic “What’s Going On?”

It was a Sammys Hall of Famer in great form.

The gathering was to announce this year’s class for induction into the Sammys Hall of Fame, the identity of winners of several significant trophies and the nominations in the best-of-CD categories.

The Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a March 6 ceremony at Upstairs at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased from Debbie Foley at

The other winners will be honored at the Sammys ceremony March 7 at the Palace Theatre. Those tickets, too, are $20, and can be purchased at

The Hall of Fame inductees are the Homel-Alaniz Band, Art Robins, The Tiffault Family, The Flashcubes and Gerber Music.

John Spillett of Solvay High School is music educator of the year.

The late Ronnie James Dio is the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

The Madison will receive the Founders Award.

I will write more about these talented people as the Sammys dates approach.

Here are the nominees for the best-CD trophies:

Best Pop:

Jess Novak, Kill the LItes, April Sun, Sir Magnus, Joe Lorenz.

Best Country:

The Easy Ramblers, Mick Fury & Midnight Moonshine, Nick Piccininni, Just Joe, The Fulton Chain Gang.

Best Jazz

Jessie Collins Quartet

Best Hip Hop:

Oxburg, Mafiosa, Jefell, Tall Bucks, Powder Jay & Blaze-A-Lot.

Best Blues:

Funky Blu Roots, Double Barrel Blues Band, Tim Herron, Mark Doyle and the Maniacs for 2 CDs.

Best R&B:

Erika Lovette, The BlackLites.

Best Metal:

Era, One Last Shot.

Best Americana:

The Ruddy Well Band, Pale Green Stars, Greg Hoover, Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb, Kayleigh Goldsworthy.

Best Alternative:

Hobo Graffiti, Trent Park, 4 Point 0, Our Friends Band.

Best Rock:

The Gunrunners, Elephant Mountain, Safe, Gregg Yeti & The Best Lights.

Modern Rock:

No nominations.

Best, Other Style:

Duo L’Adour, The Fat Peace, Markita Collins, Mike Powell, Joanne Shenandoah.

The nominees were chosen by a panel of judges from recordings submitted to the Sammys committee.

Sammys chair Liz Nowak said more than 100 submissions were received.

There also will be a winner of the Brian Bourke Award for best new artist, and People’s Choice winners from online voting at the Sammys site linked above.

As previously announced, performances on March 7 will includes sets by the Mike McKay Band, Brownskin, Pale Green Stars, The Goonies and The Flashcubes.

6 thoughts on “It’s time for the nominees to start hoping for a Sammy

    • I really enjoyed listening to, and talking with, you and your brother and the great J Project band, Michael. You can sing and Geoff plays a mean guitar! Thank you for the kind words, and I can share some good news, I think, on that front. Yesterday, the New Times asked me if I would cover the March 7 Sammys event for them because their music writer Jess Novak is nominated for an award. I’m looking forward to it.


  1. Great post and so many great bands. Ronnie Leigh is definitely The Voice, I have to agree with you there. I hope some of your readers Google and YouTube these artists to get a taste of what Syracuse music has to offer.

    Fantastic post, Mark.


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