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The Second Annual 'Phoenix' Music Awards

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Last year an indie musician expressed an interest in perusing a piece on your crusty chronicler’s “Best of 2012”. Unfortunately, still does not currently make anyone privy to the specific statistics on every article published. Still, the idea certainly had merit.

It only seemed fair to establish an objective method to establish “the best” of your randy writer’s writings. Hence it was decided last year to determine the “Top 5” articles based solely on the number of “Likes” on each article. This way the results would more accurately indicate the effort made by readers. (In order to “like” the articles one must at least actually open the page and click on the “Like” button.)

Earlier in 2013 Examiner had actually removed the “Like” button but upon popular demand it was brought back relatively quickly all things considered. Hopefully, this did not have any impact on the voting. At any rate, the Academy folks have their Oscars and now you, the readers, have The Phoenix Music Awards affectionately known as” The Will.i.ams”.

(View the photos to see this year’s winners)

The “Top Five” Phoenix Music Awards:
The “Top Five” Phoenix Music Awards: Courtesy of Michael-Ann

The “Top Five” Phoenix Music Awards:

In fifth place is singer-songwriter Michael-Ann.  The story is titled “Michael-Ann captivates Canyon Club”.  This was your rockin’ writer’s first exposure to the indie artist and he was not disappointed.  This was also the first of many surprises this year to see Michael-Ann supporters who had probably not previously read anything on Examiner by your rockin’ writer rally to her side enough to get her into the “Top Five”.

The Cherry Bluestorms
The Cherry Bluestorms Courtesy of Suzanne Garner

The Cherry Bluestorms

Fourth place goes to The Cherry Bluestorms who are taking the stage in L.A. as this goes to press, in fact.   The story is titled “Nothing bad about The Cherry Bluestorms’ ‘3 Penny Opera’.   This band walked away with “First Place” last year but don’t get the wrong idea.  Most winners of “Will.i.ams” for one reason or another didn’t make it anywhere near the top this year for some reason.  (Your confused chronicler doesn’t make the news though he just reports it.)

The Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes
The Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes Courtesy of The Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes

The Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes

Third place goes to the (L.A.-based) Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes.  The title of the article is “The Blowin' Smoke Rhythm & Blues Band fires up Harvelle's”.  Here your rockin’ reviewer learns what it’s like to be caught in a mass of writhing, hot flesh as he recounts the noteworthy night.

Bubble Gum Orchestra
Bubble Gum Orchestra Courtesy of Bubble Gum Orchestra

Bubble Gum Orchestra

In second place this year is Bubble Gum Orchestra.  In truth, if multiple “Will.i.ams” were actually permitted, BGO would have garnered two positions in the coveted “Top Five”.  The title of their highest scoring or “most liked” article is “Bubble Gum Orchestra's 'BGO II': No ‘Symphony of Sorrow”.”

Randa Lee
Randa Lee Courtesy of Mary Sparks

Randa Lee

And . . . in First Place--at the top of the list of this year’s Phoenix Music Awards—is (drum roll please) — singer-bassist Randa Lee.   The title of the article which scored short of 900 “likes” is “Randa Lee: Live at Riverside VFW”.  What was it Ringo Starr once said: “We got some fans in the forces”?  Randa Lee must also because her VFW gig scored much higher in terms of votes than the Halloween-related event pieceYou go, little girl who could!

The Phoenix Music Awards: Special Categories: "Best Surprisingly Fun Venue"
The Phoenix Music Awards: Special Categories: "Best Surprisingly Fun Venue" Courtesy of Mary Sparks

The Phoenix Music Awards: Special Categories: "Best Surprisingly Fun Venue"

Now, we come to the presentation of the “Special Category” Phoenix Awards. These awards stand as recognition for different significant performances and/or acts that made the year memorable regardless of “the numbers”. Without these performers the year would have been much less interesting and entertaining. 

The Special Categories this year include: “Best Surprisingly Fun Venue”, “Fan Favorite”, “Hometown Heroes”, “Most Interesting Instrumentals” and “Most Censored Series”.

This year the “” for “Best Surprisingly Fun Venue” goes to the Vault Martini Bar & Grill in Redlands, California.  The title of the article written after the first visit there is “Seville Street Blues rocks Redlands' Vault Martini Bar”.  Your creative critic does indeed love Rhino Records but they are mentioned in another category. 

Yes, The Viper Room has history but it has no place to sit.   The Main Street Restaurant is a great spot but after being there so many times the great service—thanks Lissa—is no longer a surprise but something upon which customers can rely. 

The Vault Martini Bar not only offers outdoor performances but crazy, colorful crowds and easy access to the bar.  It has this great movie studio, back alley feel to it and my smokin’ sidekick Mary Sparks doesn’t have to take a hike to indulge.

“Fan Favorite”
“Fan Favorite” Courtesy of TOO

“Fan Favorite”

Next up, we present the” for “Fan Favorite". This year the award goes to “Stuck in your Head”. As this goes to print, the series will reach at least 40 editions—more if you count the Christmas editions.   While other series are also popular, this is the most popular series that was both inspired by and created through the contributions of the readers and is not simply "liked" for promotional reasons  It may have gone from weekly to monthly but this series just will not fade away.

“Hometown Heroes”
“Hometown Heroes” Courtesy of Alex Hofflund UMG

“Hometown Heroes”

A new category this year is “Hometown Heroes”.  This one goes to the band The Wonder Years.  On one of your all too often penned-in penman’s solo excursions he had the pleasure of meeting and briefly reminiscing with this rockin’ homegrown “homeboy” group.  In other words, the guys in this band are also from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania vicinity.  The article is titled "The Wonder Years rocks Rhino Records". 

“Most Interesting Instrumentals”
“Most Interesting Instrumentals” Courtesy of Borislav Mitic

“Most Interesting Instrumentals”

This year the “” for “Most Interesting Instrumentals” goes to Borislav Mitic.  The track-by-track review of the disc in question is titled “Borislav Mitic: Track by track”.  While your screwy scribe is no major fan of most instrumentals—(hello, he is a singer)—sometimes certain instrumental pieces just work.  Mitic can make them work.

“Most Censored Series”
“Most Censored Series” Courtesy of TOO

“Most Censored Series”

Last but certainly not least, this year we have a rather controversial award category: “Most Censored Series”.    The “” for “Most Censored Series” goes to the series “Dancing In The Sheets”.  Happily, while things have long since become silent, earlier this year your pondering penman was told by one (then?) member of the editorial staff that because Examiner was seeking a better position on some type of ranking  chart they were making changes in policy. 

No specific guidelines had been established prior to this action.  Interestingly, while a graphic of two girls barely covered with cassette tape had caused one edition of "Retro Rock" to be temporarily unpublished until said pic was replaced, more recently Examiner approved the publication of a pic of Miley Cyrus’ naked “Wrecking Ball” video stills.   

All graphics of people who appeared to be making love were deleted from the "Dancing In The Sheets" slideshows.  (They had also been deleted from the slideshows of other articles that used the word “sex” in the title.)  Happily, more recent editions published in the “List” format presently remain untouched.  If some of the early slideshows seem brief and less entertaining now you know why.  

It was also stated that pictures of couples were said to be “filler” and your restricted writer was also told not to publish pictures of any sexy album covers (which of course has fueled your obviously “offensive” author and sometimes sarcastic scribe) to move the already established idea for a collection of “Sexy Album Covers” a bit higher up his tuneful “to do” list.  Thankfully, no further information or communication regarding this issue has taken place.   Well, they say all great artists are censored so perhaps your rascally has truly made it. 

At any rate, congratulations to all our winners! The Phoenix Music Awards thanks God, the readers, the performers and promoters (especially the one who suggested the name “Will.i.ams”), and all the little people. You love us! You really love us! (Let’s see if anyone gets the joke this year.)

My name is Phoenix and . . . that's the bottom line.


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