For the fifth consecutive year, we concluded a busy year with the annual awards we started back in 2015, focusing on the usual key categories – Band of the Year, Album, Live and Single plus a couple of specials. For 2019, the big Band of the Year vote was run through the year over 11 votes. Overall, more than 33,000 people had a say in the outcome, rockers and non-rockers, radio show listeners and website followers, people on and off social media. Everyone had a say.
For the main four award categories, 2019 saw an equal balance between female and male acts, a celebration of the international and the local – and the experienced and the new. Musically, our winners show guitar music moving towards soul, country and punk vibes, but what unites them is great song writing and performance, with guitars at the heart of it. The year’s winners make 2019 a year to celebrate inclusion, diversity and freedom of genre-labels – as originality in world-class music making triumphs.
As is the case every year, our annual awards also aimed to showcase the breadth and depth of the scene. All 150 bands on the year’s (rather long) shortlist were played, mentioned and interviewed during the year and every band was someone’s favourite.
As Sirens Fall
At The Sun
White Raven Down
Those Damn Crows
Wille & The Bandits
These Wicked Rivers
Swamp Born Assassins
An emphatic milestone for a band that had naturally grown in popularity and stature with us – and my Friday rockshow listeners – during the course of 2019. A few songs from the band’s back catalogue had been regular staples of my Friday show over the previous 18 months, but the arrival of 2019’s ‘Show Your Colours’ album saw a groundswell of fresh interest in the band’s new music. We spoke with the band a number of times over the summer and we premiered ‘Heal’ as a focus track for a six-week run ahead of the album’s release. Twice voted Band of the Month (plus coming 2nd for two other months) and the only band to bag Band of the Month and Album of the Month in the same month, Scarlet Rebels stand as a band built on the solid foundations of great song writing: The genre is in some ways secondary. With this band it’s about good music, songs that can stand on their own feet and – based on what we’ve seen – it’s music that registers with people well beyond classic rock.
Also worthy of mention, the winners of Band of the Month during the course of 2019.
February – Tarot Rats
March – Melissa Etheridge
April – Gasoline Outlaws
May – Lethbridge Owen
June – Lynne Jackaman
July – As Sirens Fall
August – Scarlet Rebels
September – Those Damn Crows
October – Lynne Jackaman
November – Scarlet Rebels
‘The Medicine Show’ was originally Album of the Month in the spring and, months later, it still stands tall as an album of supreme song writing with beautiful, subtle variety in its light and shade. The songs cover material that’s so relevant for our world in 2019: it tackles issues but doesn’t preach, allowing music to emerge as the soothing, healing tonic to help us tackle complex issues with love and respect. For me, ‘The Medicine Show’ stands as an album about 2019, music for 2019 and – with this in mind – it was emphatically the right choice as ‘Album of the Year.’
You can also review all the 12 ‘Album of the Month’ reviews for 2019 on the album page of this site. Do have an explore and then discover the music behind the reviews.
You can’t argue with a song having a 39 consecutive show run. Powered by listeners of my Friday show, As Sirens Fall were worthy winners and, as a creative unit, they present the image of a modern, fresh and forward-looking band.
‘She Runs With The Wolves’ is a masterful song. With us, it came out of nowhere and then never left. Radio is all about songs and the magic moments are when ‘something just happens.’ In a world of plugging and spin, the authentic and natural rise of a song is where the magic is.
As Sirens Fall were an exceptional find for us and somehow 2019 wouldn’t have been quite the same without them. The music gave us time to get to know the band and their story – and on this level too, the band came over as engaging; serious about serious issues and second-to-none when it came to having fun. I somehow have a feeling the best is yet to come from As Sirens Fall.
Catch up again with my audio 2019 interview with As Sirens Fall at the haunted house or over breakfast at the lake a few weeks later
I’ve followed Lynne’s story since 2015 and for many years she has done well in our Band of the Year listener poll. With the countdown soon starting for her debut album, this award recognised Lynne’s prowess as a vibrant, live performing artist.
Lynne is, quite simply, the voice. She can sing anything, in any setting and share a stage with anyone, and the audience impact is always the same – empathic and total.
In the last 18 months, Lynne has done rock and soul, she’s played big outdoor events and small intimate venues. She can do full band and she can captivate an audience with an acoustic set. Her appeal crosses age, geography and music genre. The voice of a generation and second to none when it comes to singing live on stage.
A new category for 2019 as we upweight our focus on regional bands and the grassroots scene – and won by Tarot Rats as the highest ranking South East band in the Band of the Year countdown, crashing in at Number 3 backed by a big local vote.
We have charted the rise of this fine band over the last two years, there’s a raft of Great Music Stories interviews up on this site for listen again – and for my radio show I’ve been lucky to premiere a number of the band’s new songs.
Creatively, the band’s song writing is evolving. The people are hugely engaging and live they are turning heads gig by gig. They headlined our sponsored stage at Wildfire 2019 and left a mark – in the same way they did at the Cowes New Music stage we also supported in 2018. The Tarot Rats have a debut album landing in 2020 and whatever the next steps for this fine band, the future is bright.