Zone Music Awards Show

A Guided Meditation on the Zone Music Awards Show.

Jeff Oster

Jeff Oster

The children and grandchildren of Windham Hill Records had a family reunion this weekend under the auspices of the Zone Music Reporter. That’s an on-line music and radio trade magazine that grew out of the demise of the New Age Voice in the early 2000s. It’s a home for musicians plying various brands of post New Age music, from neo-classical to ambient, solo piano to electronic, relaxation/meditation to groove/chill. In other words, a lot of the music that you hear on Echoes. Each year, radio programmers cast ballots for the best albums in categories like those above as well as Contemporary Instrumental, World, and Vocal. Among the nominees were Robert Rich, Hans Christian, Ludovico Einaudi, Kevin Keller, Chronotope Project, and Wouter Kellerman as well as artists from the sweeter side of New age, like Amy Faithe, David Nevue and Peter Calandra. In many ways these musicians are outsiders: artists on the musical fringes. Some of them are on cutting edge, many are on the velvet edge dusted with Stevia©, but none of them could be considered mainstream.

From the opening meet and greet event, the affair had the feel of a high school reunion grafted onto a music conference. Musicians, writers, radio programmers, promoters and record labels were all reconnecting with old musical friends or discovering people they’d only known digitally for many years. Will Ackerman, the founder of Windham Hill Records, was the éminence grise, albeit a blonde one. I kept thinking of the Eric Burdon line from “Monterey”: “Prince Jones smiled as he moved amongst the crowd.” Except 10,000 electric guitars weren’t groovin’ real loud. Seven albums and artists Ackerman produced were nominated for awards. Three of them won.

At least as steeped in the New Age lore was Steven Halpern, looking dapper, a full head of white hair and beard, wearing a black suit, open necked white shirt and red scarf. He was the first to consciously make and market New Age music and he presented, with humor, the Best Album and Best New Artist Awards.

Daryl Portier & Steven Halpern at ZMRs

Daryl Portier & Steven Halpern at ZMRs

It was all on display at the 12th Annual Zone Music Awards show, which took place on Saturday, May 7, at the Joy Theater in New Orleans. Modeled after the Grammy Awards telecast, it featured live performances, awards and banter between hosts Bill Binkelman and RJ Lannan, writers for ZMR. Like the Grammys and Oscars, it also displayed women dressed to the nines in low-slung sequined gowns and body-hugging cocktail dresses, with notable exceptions like White Sun’s Santosh Kaur Khalsa, who was bedecked in a white turban and matching robes.

And the men? Well, other than a few wearing variations on eastern attire, the guys stuck to business suits with unusual ties. RJ Lannen claimed his baggy suit came from a Goodwill-type store. I believed him.

In-between awards presentations and the Lannan/Binkelman Show were musical performances. They ran the gamut from piano playing singers to nouveau flamenco guitarists to space music.

Darlene Kodenhoven, Jennifer Zulli, Paul Avgerinos, Ron Korb, Jonn Serrie at ZMR Awards Show

Darlene Kodenhoven, Jennifer Zulli, Paul Avgerinos, Ron Korb, Jonn Serrie at ZMR Awards Show

Much of the music had a hardcore New Age approach, including a guided meditation from Jennifer Zulli. You just don’t see that at the Grammys. In that vein, Paul Avgerinos had a surprisingly affecting set. Fresh off winning the 2016 New Age Grammy Award, he played a set of chants dedicated to his guru, “the hugging saint,” Amma. It hit me as corny and sappy at first as Avgerinos, Jennifer Zulli, and Darlene Koldenhoven began chanting, but I found myself drawn into their serene mantras, especially the “Om Mantra.” Robin Spielberg dropped piano fairy dust with Jonn Serrie laying a synthesized carpet. Ron Korb floated some airy Asian flute leaves while Jeff Pearce laced it all together with his gently penetrating guitar sustains. Pearce was playing around the clock. He played a 90 minute, deep, deep ambient excursion for solo electric looped guitar the previous evening.

Ron Korb took the stage for his own set with his Asian flutes, playing melodies from his album, Asia Beauty, which would win for Best World Music Album. Even when he played to a backing track, it didn’t diminish the channeling of ancient spirits through his flutes. To use an Asian, zen-like phrase, he is a monster player.

Ron Korb at ZMR

Ron Korb at ZMR

The most unaffected and pretension-free performance of the night came from Erik Scott. The former bassist with Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie and Sonia Dada took the stage with just pedal steel guitarist John Pirruccello and some minimal backing tracks. He played music from his album, And the Earth Bleeds, deploying a deep, note-bending soulful sound and heartbreaking melodies. Pirruccello wove cosmic country glissandos around Scott’s bass, while Jeff Oster stepped-in on a piece with some flugelhorn dressing. Even Scott missing a cue and forgetting to trigger a backing sequence couldn’t mar it.

Seemingly dropped in from Caesar’s Palace was Louis Colaiannia who looked and sounded like he should have been at the Las Vegas Music Awards instead, with slick songs that would have fit on the old Dating Game TV show. His vibraphonist Joey Glassman provided some relief with a driving solo. Colaiannia actually said one of his songs was “baby-making music.” Nudge-nudge. Wink-wink. Know what I mean? He wasn’t the only performer who one attendee thought was “cringe-worthy.”

Synthesist Jonn Serrie capped the evening by tapping the lounge lizard side of his music with, like Colaiannia, a dose of Vegas. His outfit was a puffy, gold lamé blouse and tight black leather pants that might have left Rick Wakeman wincing. All he was missing was a cape, as he stood for most of his set facing the audience, poised with hands spread between two keyboard stacks. He had a whole prelude act that featured him as a commander of a spaceship taking off while his wife, Annie, stood on stage swaying to music from his more romantic, saccharine side. There were nice touches by Jeff Pearce and Jeff Oster, but when the evening called for an energized flight of grandeur to end the night, Serrie delivered something soporific and corny without a touch of irony.

Jonn Serrie

Jonn Serrie

Other performances included the out of tune operatic new age pop of pianist/singer Darlene Koldenhoven, joined by flutist Wouter Kellerman and violinist Josie Quick, some tricky nouveau flamenco by Terra Guitarra, and pianist Robin Spielberg.

Jeff Oster, who played with half the acts, was also the big award winner, taking home plaques for Best Chill/Groove Album and Album of the Year for Next. He brought producer Will Ackerman and engineer Tom Eaton on stage and among his thank you’s, he gave a shoutout to Echoes as the first place he ever heard his music on the air.

Paul Adams, who we’ve been playing since his Various Waves album in 1990, took home Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, for his lush, New Acoustic outing, Imaginings, beating out two nice albums by Neil Tatar. But Tatar got his when he won the Best New Artist award. “Getting Best New Artist for New Age music is really incredible,” he said, “especially at my age.” He’s 65 years old.

Bob Ardern’s Eight Winds album had a surprise win in the Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic category. The little-known artist beat out some strong contenders like Peter Kater & Michael Brant DeMaria’s Heart of Silence.

Another surprise was in the Best Relaxation/Meditation Album award: Sherry Finzer & Mark Holland’s Flute Flight. Their wonderful CD of flute duets beat out new age pioneer, Steven Halpern and Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Deuter.

Jeff Pearce at ZMR Awards

Jeff Pearce at ZMR Awards

The Vocal Album category usually doesn’t feature vocals in the traditional sense, dominated instead by chant and new age ballad releases, but taking home the award was Blackmore’s Night, the renaissance-meets-Loreena McKennitt project of guitarist Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple and his wife, singer Candice Night.

The Best Electronic Album was a surprisingly weak category, especially for the ZMRs. Ken Elkinson’s vaporous and amelodic  – Music for Commuting, Vols. 7-12 won, while albums by the likes of Steve Roach, Robert Rich and Tangerine Dream didn’t even make the final five.

The strongest category was Best Ambient Album. The robust field included Chronotope Project’s Dawn Treader, Bryan Carrigan’s Fall into Winter, Howard Givens & Craig Padilla’s Life Flows Water, and one of the best albums of 2015, let alone best ambient album, Robert Rich’s Filaments. The duo of Al Jewer and Andy Mitran took home the award with their lush ambient album, Surrounding Sky.

Best Piano Album – Solo award went deservedly to Fiona Joy for her Signature-Solo release, beating strong contenders from Robin Spielberg and Michele McLaughlin. With the exception of old Windham Hill stalwart Scott Cossu’s Safe in Your Arms, the Best Piano Album with Instrumentation category was filled by parlor pianists, with Kathryn Kaye’s Patterns of Sun and Shade taking the prize.

Erik Scott with Jeff Oster at ZMR Awards

Erik Scott with Jeff Oster at ZMR Awards

In the Best World Album category, flutist Ron Korb took home the award with his elaborately-packaged and beautifully produced Asia Beauty. He beat out last year’s New Age Grammy Award winner Wouter Kellerman’s Love Language among others.

Finally, I became part of the awards ceremony, even though I didn’t personally win or present anything. Early in the day before the awards show, Kevin Keller had sent me an email talking about remixing his Intermezzo album and remembering when we first met and recorded a living room concert at his home in San Francisco’s East Bay. I jokingly replied, “Hey! I’m at the ZMR Awards. Do you want me to accept your award?” I followed it with a winky-face. He emailed back: “Actually…YES. Seriously.” His album, La Strada is a masterpiece of ambient chamber music, was an Echoes CD of the Month, and was #4 on my Top 25 for 2015. But I still didn’t think he could win over entries by Ludovico Einaudi and Yo-Yo Ma. But he did. Much to the surprise of presenter Jennifer Defrayne, who was told that Kevin wouldn’t be there, I leaped on stage, took his award and said some nice things about this artist who deserved it and more.

Bill Binkleman & RJ Lannan Hosting ZMR Awards

Bill Binkelman & RJ Lannan Hosting ZMR Awards

This only scratches the surface of the ZMR Music Awards, the only institutional accolades out there for music like this. Producers Daryl Portier and Ben Dugas have done a remarkable job both in putting the awards together in the first place. The show which was nicely, if modestly produced, despite the frequently dead announce microphones on stage. But even that became a good running joke. This was a meeting of a tribe that doesn’t necessarily get the respect it deserves, and certainly has trouble punching through to the mainstream. Maybe this ZMR Awards will help some of them get there.

~John Diliberto

  26 comments for “Zone Music Awards Show

  1. Tater Nuts
    May 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    What were they thinking when they put this show together? They should re-name it the Hardcore New Age Music Awards. I was at that show and was missing some great electronica acts that appeared in recent years. Instead they decided to go the drowsy 80s New Age route. Some nominations were a joke, especially in the chill/groove category. I wonder why Robert Rich or TD don’t get nominated. Probably because they are not paying the ZMR promoter a lot of money for an award. But it was great seeing you John! –Tat

    • May 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Yep.

    • May 12, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Nile Rogers…Bernard Purdie…Chuck Rainey…Tony Levin…somehow I think they’ve been responsible for some of the chillest grooves EVER…if they’re part of a “joke”, I’m liking the punch line…
      Just sayin.

      • Tater Nuts
        May 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm

        I don’t wanna burst your huge ego bubble but outside the tiny ZMR pond, nobody has ever really heard of Next, especially in the real chill out music scene…just sayin’. Money isn’t everything if you don’t have street cred’.

  2. Emmanuella
    May 11, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I guess all the desperate people playing at this “award show” have THOUSANDS of dollars to waste on a certain renowned promoter to get played on stations. People that have “money” win over real talent. What a shame.

    • Candice Michelle
      May 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Great review John, and great response Daryl. I am also a DJ and a voter in the awards process, and as Daryl pointed out – so is John! I was also graciously invited to present two awards. I can assure you with 100% certainty, Emmanuella, that not everyone (especially) who performed onstage or won awards hired “a certain promoter”. In fact, a few of the award-winners didn’t hire promoters at all, yet somehow managed to beat-out others who did. Some of the award-winners didn’t even crack the top 10 of the monthly ZMR charts yet still trounced albums that reached the top spot!

      Does that mean I necessarily agree with all of the nominee choices or think that the voting process is free of flaws? Not at all! I think – actually I’m certain – that Steve Roach, Erik Wollo and Tangerine Dream were FAR more deserving of nominations in the Electronic category than some of those other titles were – but the “fault” there mainly lies with some of the other DJ’s who are *clearly* unfamiliar with (or just don’t particularly favor) Electronic music, yet are still permitted to vote in that category. Nevertheless, the winner in the Electronic category did NOT hire a promoter – beating out two who did! I also agree with John that the Ambient category was pretty solid, where Robert Rich *did* receive a nomination for his most excellent album “Filaments”.

    • May 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      I played a set at the ZMR awards last year- and was on stage with a couple of acts this year. I’m PRETTY sure I’m not desperate, (well, not musically) and I’ve never used a certain renowned promoter. Ron Korb, who put on a mesmerizing set this year, used NO promoter for his album (an album that won ZMR’s “Best World Album of 2015”), Paul Avgerinos did not use said renowned promoter and still played a set- and there were plenty of winners of the show’s categories (Kevin Keller, the aforementioned Ron Korb, and Ken Elkinson) who used no promoters at all.

      … in fact, a major highlight of last year’s show, for me, was the set from Tigerforest- and he does NOT use a promoter (it was a great set, and *I* had to follow that with MY set. Thanks, Universe…)

      Look- it’s easy to think that there’s a secret organization of “ZMR-approved musicians”, gathering in the basement of the Joy Theater in NOLA, and, i don’t know, taking turns drinking Yanni’s blood from the Holy Grail. There’s not. In fact, going through a list of past performers for ZMR, you find a wide variety of promotional strategies for the performers (some using one promoter, another using a different promoter, and some using NO promoter). In my two years of attending and playing at the awards, I can honestly say that one of the most cringe-worthy sets i saw was someone who used the “world renowned promoter”- and the OTHER most cringe-worthy set was from someone who DIDN’T use that promoter. And the BEST set I’ve seen so far at the ZMR awards was by an artist who didn’t use a promoter at all.

  3. Daryl Portier
    May 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    ZMR does not and never will have a promotion arm. We only facilitate this event and the awards process. We report out the results as the broadcasters voted. (by the way John is a reporter and award voter).As for the show this year, by design we had a more new age flavor to the show. The past years we have not represented this genre and since they are a part of the music we represent, it was time to include them in the show. Next years show will have a different flavor as all of the past shows have, We do not play favorites. As for the desperate people playing the show comment, REALLY!

    • May 12, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      While there are criticisms to be made, I believe everything Daryl says to be accurate.

      • Daryl Portier
        May 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

        Thanks John for the comment. Glad I got to finally meet you.

  4. May 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    It was lovely to meet you finally John….. mixed opinions are parr for the course in any awards shows – and all good critics point out the good and the bad – its great to see you have invited and created discussion. 🙂

  5. Phillip Brooks
    May 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    My wife and I have been coming to the ZMR event for the past 4 years. We love it every time. Putting an event together like this is an immense amount of work. People don’t seem to realize this. We are also happy to see that Echoes is giving the ZMRs more attention. I hope that John will come back in the future and maybe even host the show? We have been avid listeners for the longest time!
    This year’s ZMR event was a little slower which is great for variety. However, the performance by Jessica Zuly , Darlene Koldenhoven and Paul Alvgerinos still left us a bit baffled. Don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic musicians but were they trying to convert us to their secret cult? Was Xenu waiting behind the stage to welcome new members? It seemed a bit off and wacky…
    Eric Scott was fantastic and so was the guitar duo. We were sitting in the back of the theater and loved the sound! What made us laugh was the New Artist category. Why were there no hot young talents nominated? No offense to Mr Tatar. He fully deserved. It was still a wonderful event and Jeff Oster is one heck of a guy.

    • May 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      One of the factors in Instrumental or New Age music is the element of diversity. In this musical case diversity embraced a Middle Eastern theme, an ethnic theme, and a religious theme. The music was there to be enjoyed and an invitation was put forth to participate or not. I myself felt a part of this moving experience, but it was by choice. Nothing off or wacky here. Anything can be a source of inspiration.

  6. Ben Dugas
    May 12, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    To add further to Daryl’s comments in response to Tater Nuts regarding the winners, with the exception of the Lifetime Achievement Award, ZMR itself has no input into the voting and therefore has no bearing on the results (for full disclosure, Bill and RJ as reviewers do vote – who knows this music better? – but their vote is weighted exactly the same as everyone else’s and their opinion is just that, their opinion). If you have a beef with the results, I would check with the 60 or 70 broadcasters that voted. In the meantime, keep in mind that not everyone, especially someone like TD, spends their time / money promoting their music to radio. If you don’t get the radio / internet station saturation, how can you possibly expect to get a win voted upon by radio broadcasters? Maybe they have, but I don’t personally recall TD ever promoting to radio in the 15 years I’ve been with ZMR. If they have, I’m disappointed that they never sent anything to ZMR (I’m actually disappointed either way that they never sent us anything). As for the Robert Rich CD, it actually was nominated, it just didn’t win. I agree it’s a great CD, but not enough of the broadcasters agreed with you that it was the best to give it the win.

    In the vast majority of categories, voting is generally very close between the top vote getter and the number 5 position. If you consider how that would break down by percentage of votes, an across-the-board tie would equate to 20% of the vote for each candidate. In many if not most categories the winner doesn’t even get 30% of the vote.

    Alternatively, a single broadcast voter is very likely to not have even half of their votes go to the eventual winner and based on probabilities, would probably be in that same 20% – 30% range. That being the case, if 1 or 2 out of 5 of the CDs that you thought should win actually got the award, then it would mean you were like a typical broadcaster. If one artist garnered 80% of the vote or more then maybe you could make an argument about potential undue influence but I can assure you, that is not even close to the actual situation.

    As for the great electronic acts, I’m as big a fan of electronic as anyone. If you have influence to get TD to play our show next year (well, what’s left of them), call us at ZMR and I can assure you, they will be on stage in 2017 in New Orleans. I have contacted many electronic artists that have declined our request to play – primarily because it is far too difficult for them to take their show on the road. I kind of thought Jonn Serrie was a top notch selection but perhaps you disagree. It is by far the hardest category to fill for the show. Feel free to help us get those acts. Have Peter or Klaus or Jerome or Christopher or Ulrich or … call us directly and they are a lock to be in the lineup. Are there any others that you can help us get on the stage? O’Hearn? Done. Hammock? Book ’em. Paul Lawler? Come on across the pond, we’ll find a space for him. Who am I missing? It’s possible we already asked your favorite.

    We do not purport that our show is perfect and we welcome criticism in an attempt to make our show better. Every year we talk about what worked and what didn’t and try to improve the following year. Recognize, however, that your idea of the perfect show is not the same as the guy sitting to your left nor is it the same as the guy sitting to your right. Your energy expended criticizing is admirable, but the energy you dedicate to us helping improve would be far more effective in producing a great show and it would be appreciated.

    And Emanuella, suggesting that we make decisions based on a promoter demonstrates a lack of knowledge of our selection process. We have a couple dozen selection criteria and neither promoter nor artist income are on the list. Neither is how much they spend on our site. Since we don’t take promoter into consideration, then the only conclusion would be that you believe we don’t have the ability to identify real talent. Perhaps you are correct and that may be a very fair criticism. Of course, alternatively you must believe that YOU ARE capable of doing what we can’t. So have you offered to help? Who played your show? I must have missed that email. You know how to get in touch with us.

    We are here to help all of the artists in the industry. Our vision of success is that every artist in our genre has all of the fans they want, is successful using any criteria they think is important and is able to make music that they believe is their best artistic expression without having to worry about putting food on the table. It is to have a 3 day festival weekend of wall-to-wall shows with variety that everyone appreciates and is attended by tens of thousands of fans from around the world. To suggest otherwise is an indication that you just don’t know us and what we are about.

    I appreciate feedback both positive and negative but just giving us feedback and not volunteering to help is essentially the same as just trying to tell us what to do with our time and money. That’s a sweet gig if you can get it.

    • May 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      … the only thing to add to this eloquent post by Ben Dugas is the sound of a mic drop….

    • May 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Yup.

    • May 14, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Ben,

      I understand what you are saying. I am a big fan of the ZMRs and love that you put this show together. And like always, you can never please everybody.

      Here is my take on the discussion:

      The ZMR has a reputation as a “Hardcore” New Age focused music community and that is great!
      Unless you take some dust off, I doubt that the reviewers and broadcasters will change the way they report. And because of its reputation as hardcore new age it is impossible to have TD, Air, Rich, Hammock, Schnauss and all these “cool” cats perform or show up at the ZMRs…same thing for Mr Einaudi or Mr Richter who are contemporary composers. They will never chose to go that route because they want to keep their credibility as electronic / contemporary artists and probably don’t want to share the stage with some hocus pocus spiritual healing mumbo jumbo.
      Or maybe they just make music for the love of it and not for desperately trying to get an award and feed their massive ego. Who knows! Maybe you don’t even need them.

      I understand that the more mainstream categories “Electronic” and “Chill” are so tough to figure out. Mostly because, as someone mentioned in a previous post, no ZMR reviewer or broadcaster knows what these genres are about, and yes even the two top reviewers Mr Binkelman and Mr Lannan. They are wonderful reviewers but mainly in the New Age genre.
      I highly doubt that they have ever heard any fresh new music of the young ambient / electro bucks coming from Europe and the US.

      Keep on doing your own thing and make ZMR are brand of its own. Maybe drop the electronic genre to prevent future wildfires. We will keep on going to the ZMRs and are looking forward to the Awards in 2017.

      Phil

      • Candice Michelle
        May 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm

        “no ZMR reviewer or broadcaster knows what these genres are about”

        Actually Phillip, that’s simply not true. Your comment implies that not even John knows what these genres are about since he too is a broadcaster who reports to ZMR. A few of the other broadcasters I’m familiar with who report to ZMR lean quite heavily ambient/electronic (at least a couple of them even play it exclusively) and definitely know what these genres are about through and through.

        And I can assure you that I, as well as a number of people who attended the show, felt every bit as uncomfortable as you did with the new age ‘proselytizing’ that took place at the end of one particular set. Just because people aren’t rushing to this blog to express a similar opinion on the matter or aren’t posting about on FB, doesn’t mean they haven’t shared them privately with the show’s organizers. Some people just don’t want to “step in it”…I happen to be a bit less cautious I suppose. 🙂

        “Or maybe they just make music for the love of it and not for desperately trying to get an award and feed their massive ego. Who knows! Maybe you don’t even need them.”

        I agree with this statement 100%. And the great news is that no one is being forced to participate in or attend the awards show. I also know for a fact that not every artist who happens to get nominated is gunning for an award either. They (or their record label) just wanted to get their music out there to as many stations as possible, and the end result was that they got nominated for an award which may or may not mean a darn thing to them.

        The Electronic genre encompasses a vast number of musical styles. But just because I’m not likely to ever see someone like Lustmord (who I’m a huge fan of) get nominated there, or disagreed with two of the categories’ nominees being classified there, doesn’t mean I think ZMR should just drop that category from the awards show. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure they have no intention of doing so.

    • May 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Whoa..excellent.

  7. May 12, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    It was my first time, and I enjoyed myself. I got a chance to meet a few people for the first time in the flesh. I don’t usually get out much but there were definitely a few people with whom I felt a sense of simpatico. Elizabeth Geyer and I celebrated that there were some connections that make you feel less alone in the world.

  8. May 13, 2016 at 11:53 am

    From the Academy Awards to 8th grade class president, there will always be disagreements. Like Paul Adams, I found my first trip to the ZMR gathering a chance to meet and interact face to face with folks that perhaps I never would have, and the event fosters good will and inclusivity. As far as difference in taste, they will certainly always exist, but diversity is a necessity in all creative art and music, without which creativity simply dies, and art with it. I guess you just gotta create and let live. peace.

  9. May 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    I kind of thought Jonn Serrie was a top notch selection too. Jonn Serrie thinks that Annie is a top notch selection…

  10. Emmanuella
    May 15, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Jonn Serrie is a little too much in love with himself???

  11. May 17, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Who the hell are you Emmanuella and Tater-Nuts? Were you really there? Are you an impostor on this site stirring the pot? I think so, and I think I know who you are.

    • Hannah Neemous
      May 17, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      People can express what they wish, right? Just because you do not agree, there is no need to get defensive. Lots of good comments made on both sides of the spectrum. I think the point brought here is that the show needs more diversity overall. Everything is ducky, no need to freak out and make assumptions. :^)

  12. May 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I couldn’t attend this year, but the spirit of Paul Adams’ & Erik Scott’s comments reflect the ZMR Awards that I know and love. Hey, this is John’s space, and he’s writing to entertain & gain traffic…he succeeded in that, and it’s his right to do so no matter what we think of his ‘style.’ But to those commenting, when did music get so grossly judgmental…I thought most musicians found that very uncool to do, so what’s got the electronic types’ knickers in a twist? Phil: “their credibility as electronic / contemporary artists and probably don’t want to share the stage with some hocus pocus spiritual healing mumbo jumbo”…that’s a rude, insulting, and uneducated comment, but you don’t get it, so what…many criticize electronic’ artists approach to music, too.

    Many attendees enjoy experiencing the variety of music. This event’s greatest strength is that it is a fun & supportive networking weekend and community awards event…artists step up to fill in on one another’s gigs with little to no rehearsal time. Some perform live regularly, others are studio musicians having fun with a chance to play live with friends. No one was expecting a public, critical review…if they were, I’m sure many would’ve demand more stage rehearsal time, bigger perks from the team, and several would agree to jump in to help out on fewer gigs.

    Had she known this was coming, I’m sure that Darlene – having a headcold, her hand literally slammed in the van door, and a shortened rehearsal period – would have cancelled like a pro (and then be criticized as a “diva” of course) rather than trying to be a trooper and “carry on with the show.” I’ve heard her sing live often enough to know there must have been something going on technically if she sounded off key (um, remember Adelle at the Grammy’s…she should’ve walked off, too, rather than take the guff she did afterward for that mic issue). Anyway, I’m sure we’ll see more of that in the future, now that the innocence is gone.

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