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by Mike Breen 11.13.2015 11 days ago
Posted In: CEAs, Local Music at 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nominations Now Open for Local Music Awards

Time to nominate your favorite musicians for 19th-annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, returning for its 19th year of honoring original local music-makers, is now accepting nominations from area music lovers. 

Click here for the online ballot and then write in the local music acts you feel had an especially great 2015 and deserve a CEA nomination. (More details are available on the ballot page.

The annual celebration of Greater Cincinnati music opened up the nomination process to the public last year for the first time. The public nominations are compiled and top vote-getters make the “long list,” which is presented to the CEA nominating committee. The committee — a group of knowledgeable aficionados who work with local musicians on a regular basis (including radio hosts, writers, booking agents and beyond) — will consider the public input and come up with the “short list” of nominees in the various genre categories, as well as for awards like “New Artist of the Year” (for an act that either formed in the past year or just experienced its real breakthrough since November 2014), “Album of the Year” (for a release put out between November of last year and now) and “Artist of the Year.” (Those three categories are the critical achievement awards; the final winners are decided by the committee’s votes.) The whittled-down nominees make the final ballot, which will be available online in mid-December. 

The New Artist of the Year nominees (and other new acts) will be showcased at the Best New Bands concert in mid-January. The always-fun CEA ceremony (where the winners are announced and select nominees perform) is slated for Jan. 31. Artists who have graced the CEA stage over the past 19 years include Bootsy Collins, The Afghan Whigs, The Heartless Bastards, Wussy, Foxy Shazam, Over the Rhine and numerous others. Stay tuned for show details. Go here to read about last year's CEA show and here for content about some of the previous years.

CityBeat's Brian Baker also wrote a nice piece last year about putting the CEAs (and awards in general) in perspective.

The public nomination ballot is open until Nov. 30. 
by Mike Breen 01.26.2015
Posted In: CEAs, Local Music at 12:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

2015 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards: The Winners

It was another great celebration of the Greater Cincinnati music scene Sunday night at Covington’s Madison Theater, as CityBeat presented the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for the 18th straight year. The eclecticism of our local music scene was on display via excellent performances by nominees Mad Anthony, The Cliftones, Young Heirlooms, Zebras in Public, The Whiskey Shambles, Buggs Tha Rocka, Dark Colour and Injecting Strangers. (Pick up a CityBeat Wednesday for more on the show itself and stay tuned for photos from the event) 

Wussy emerged the big winner of the night, taking home the Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Best Music Video CEAs, a nice capper to a breakthrough year that saw the band sell out shows across the country, score rave reviews from several high profile music press outlets and make its network TV debut on CBS This Morning

Below is the full list of 2015 Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners:

World Music/Reggae: The Cliftones

Jazz: Blue Wisp Big Band

Singer/Songwriter: Molly Sullivan

Country: 90 Proof Twang

Punk/Pop Punk: The Dopamines

Indie/Alternative: The Yugos

Rock: Buffalo Killers

Electronic: Dream Tiger

Blues: The Whiskey Shambles

Bluegrass: Rumple Mountain Boys

Folk/Americana: The Tillers

Metal/Hard Rock: Electric Citizen 

R&B/Funk/Soul: Under New Order

Hip Hop: Buggs Tha Rocka

Best Live Act: The Almighty Get Down

Best Music Video: Wussy’sNorth Sea Girls” (directed by Rich Tarbell)

New Artist of the Year: Honeyspiders

Album of the Year: Wussy’s Attica!

Artist of the Year: Wussy

by Brian Baker 01.23.2015
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Live Stream, CEAs at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

And the Winner is … Us

Think the CEAs are an Illuminati plot to chip away at your self-esteem? As Judas Priest so eloquently stated, you got another thing coming

There are a couple of things that have been on my mind of late, and this always seems like a decent forum to vent my musings, particularly since I'm not in therapy. First of all, what exactly constitutes medical attention for an erection lasting more than four hours? Does a stereotypically sexy nurse, um, give you a hand? Or does a mummified doctor from the bygone era of bone saws that could drop an oak tree and hand-cranked skull drills apply leeches to the affected area and then show you pictures of Yogi Berra and golf videos to bring down the swelling, so to speak?

While we wait for an answer to arrive, let's move on to the other, perhaps more salient issue that I've been pondering. As everyone knows, the end of the year brings the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nominations, which then inspires a good deal of grumbling speculation about who has gotten nominated and, more importantly, who has not.

Look, no one understands better than I the elation that accompanies being recognized for your work. Six years ago I nabbed second place in the Non-Daily Newspapers Feature Personality Profile category of the Ohio Excellence in Journalism awards. I know, right? At the same time, I can count on fingers and toes the number of letters I've received over the years about things I've written, and many of those have been from the subjects I've written about just to say thanks.

My prized correspondence was from now-deceased Rolling Stone/Billboard editor Timothy White for getting the title of his Beach Boys biography wrong in a piece I wrote about Dick Dale. I had cited White's book as The Nearest Faraway Beach, largely due to my love of the Brian Eno song, "On Some Faraway Beach," and partially because I jotted down my notes in Joseph-Beth Booksellers when I was in the throes of a flu that would have eaten a vaccine for an appetizer. White's book was, in fact, The Nearest Faraway Place, and in it, he mentioned that Dale had been born in Beirut, Lebanon, among other interesting tidbits about the legendary guitarist. When I asked Dale about some of the entries in White's book, he countered with, "Does it say Dick Dale was born in Lebanon?" (he referred to himself in the third person, a lot). I said that it did, and he responded, "Then throw that book in the garbage." 

It was a great quote so I used it in the story, which prompted White's letter, where he first corrected my idiot error and then clarified that he had interviewed Dale personally at a time when White speculated that Dale thought being born in Lebanon would make him seem more exotic (he was of Lebanese extraction), but when Beirut became synonymous with terrorism, he claimed Boston as his birthplace. All in all, though, he was very complimentary about the article. 

As usual, I digress. As much as people love being hailed for their accomplishments, they are stung when they feel they've been passed over, for whatever reason, and that's completely understandable. It becomes slightly problematic when people demonize the process in an effort to explain their absence from the end result.

Here's the thing; those of us who comprise the nominating committee try not to take ourselves too seriously, but we are very serious about the task of establishing these nominations on an annual basis, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, we love music and we respect the people who make it. We also feel it is extremely important to recognize great work and to share that recognition with the entire music community.

And that's pretty much it. We don't have an agenda to push. We don't nominate our friends (although our friends sometimes get nominated). Speaking for myself, I really try to set personal feelings aside when the time comes to look at the past year and determine who has done work worthy of CEA recognition.

Of course, that determination is open to a certain amount of subjectivity. We are human beings, after all. That's why we cast our nets as far as we can, to make sure the nominating process is as fair as humanly possible. Is it a perfect system? Not hardly. But I think we've gotten it pretty close to right. This year we involved the public in the process and that helped widen the focus even further, but there still seems to be a certain amount of dissatisfaction about the nominees and conjecture about how they got there. In the final analysis, it boils down to a few simple facts. If you're nominated, congratulations; you've distinguished yourself in a music community that I honestly feel is one of the best in the entire country. If you win, huzzah and holy shit, you've further distinguished yourself within a formidable slate of your musical peers.

And if you're just a spectator, keep working. Keep doing what you do. The accolades are nice, but put things in perspective; at the end of the day, the CEAs are a party with door prizes. Prestigious door prizes, but door prizes nonetheless. And whether you're a winner, a nominee or neither of the above, don't allow your recognition or lack thereof to overinflate or devalue your sense of what you do. What matters is the work. Your work. Whether it garners you a nomination or not.

It's the same in any field of endeavor. How many painters wind up in museums in their lifetimes? How many athletes give their lives over to the sports they love for an almost microscopic chance to get a plaque in their respective halls of fame? Celebrity, wealth and notoriety are all fairly illusory. What matters is the work.

The immortal and forever great Frank Zappa may have put it best: "Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best."

And there it is, in it's simplest and most potent form. If you are out there, turning words and melodies in your head into real music with your hands, heart and soul, you are contributing to one of the best things in life. Awards are the icing on a cake that doesn't necessarily need to be iced. When you make great music, we are the winners. And we'd like to thank you. And God and our families and friends and our eighth grade English teacher who said we'd never amount to anything, because he was sort of right. Thank you.

The 18th annual CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS ceremony is Sunday at Covington’s Madison Theater. Tickets are available at cea.cincyticket.com. Click here for more show details

If you can’t make it to the event, ICRCTV will once again be streaming it live here. You can check out the 2013 and 2014’s ceremonies here and here, respectively. 

by Mike Breen 01.16.2015
Posted In: Live Music, CEAs, Local Music at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

LISTEN: 2015 'Best New Bands’ Showcase Performers

A preview of the artists performing Saturday at Bogart’s for this year’s new local music showcase

Saturday night, be sure to head to Bogart’s for this year's "Best New Bands" showcase, presented by CityBeat and featuring performances by some of the local musical acts you should keep your eye on this year. 

The 2015 showcase features all of this year’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominees for New Artist of the Year, each of whom are profiled in the new issue of CityBeat. The nominees will be joined by four other superb new area acts for the event.

The concert begins at promptly at 7:30 p.m. and will feature performances on Bogart’s main stage as well as on a side stage, keeping the music running non-stop all night. Admission is just $5. 

Here are some audio samples of each of the BNB performers. Click on the artists’ names (listed in order of appearance) to read more on each act.


Kate Wakefield 

Elk Creek




Noah Smith 


Dream Tiger 

Near Earth Objects 

You can find out who scores the New Artist of the Year trophy (and who wins in all of the other categories) on Sunday, Jan. 25 at the 18th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party, which takes place at Covington’s Madison Theater (Blues nominees The Whiskey Shambles were recently added to the lineup of performers, joining The Cliftones, Mad Anthony, Injecting Strangers, Young Heirlooms and Buggs tha Rocka). Tickets are available in advance through cincyticket.com. Showtime is 7 p.m. and we give you full permission to call in sick to work Jan. 26. 

by Mike Breen 01.14.2015
Posted In: Local Music, CEAs, Music News at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Voting Ends Soon

The deadline to vote for this year’s CEAs is Thursday night at midnight

The 18th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party, presented by CityBeat to honor Greater Cincinnati’s amazing music scene, is just around the corner. The show — featuring performances by nominees like Young Heirlooms, Buggs tha Rocka, Mad Anthony, Injecting Strangers, The Cliftones and more — is set for Sunday, Jan. 25 at Covington’s Madison Theater. Click here to get your tickets now. VIP tickets are also available. VIPs get membership to the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation, a James Brown or Hank Williams T-shirt (or limited edition poster made with Eli's BBQ sauce!), beer, appetizers, soft drinks and private seating. 

There is still time to vote for your favorite nominated artists — but not much. The ballot closes Thursday night at midnight. Click here to add your two cents before it’s too late.

For a CEA warm-up, be sure to come to Bogart’s this Saturday for our annual Best New Bands showcase, featuring performances by New Artist of the Year CEA nominees Dream Tiger, Honeyspiders, Prim, Elk Creek, Leggy and Noah Smith, as well as fellow relative newcomers Kate Wakefield, JetLab, Harbour and Near Earth Objects. 

For more information on all of the performing artists, pick up this week’s CityBeat, our annual Best New Bands issue. You can also read the stories here and here

Tickets for Saturday’s 7 p.m. showcase are just $5 (or 50 cents per performer!) and can be purchased at the Bogart’s box office. 

by mbreen 12.19.2014
Posted In: CEAs, Local Music, Live Music at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Voting for the 2015 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Starts Now

The ballot box is open for the public to vote for some of the best and brightest musical acts in Greater Cincinnati

The nominations for the 2015 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, honoring Greater Cincinnati’s fantastic music scene, were announced Wednesday and now it’s your turn to weigh in. 

Click here to go to the CEA ballot and vote now.

The 18th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party, where the winners for each category will be announced and several acts will perform, returns to Covington’s Madison Theater on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. So far, Young Heirlooms, Injecting Strangers, Mad Anthony, The Cliftones and Buggs tha Rocka are confirmed to play the CEAs this year. Stay tuned for further info; tickets are available here.

An educated voter is the best kind of voter, so why not actually check out some or all of the artists for whom you are voting? Below you will find links to the artists’ pages on the excellent local music site cincymusic.com (thanks, CIncyMusic!) featuring links, music, bios and more. (The final three “Critical Achievement” categories are not voted on by the public but rather the CEA nominating committee, but you should still totally check all of those acts out, too.) 

Happy voting!


Comet Bluegrass Allstars

Rumpke Mountain Boys

My Brother’s Keeper

Rattlesnakin’ Daddies

The Missy Werner Band



Dallas Moore


Jeremy Pinnell

Noah Smith

90 Proof Twang

Pure Grain


Young Heirlooms

Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound

Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle

Elk Creek

The Tillers

Shiny and the Spoon

World Music/Reggae: 

The Cliftones

Junya Be


Baoku Moses & the Image Afro-beat Band

Elementree Livity Project

Keshvar Project



Mad Anthony


Buffalo Killers

Pop Goes the Evil

Frontier Folk Nebraska 

Metal/Hard Rock: 

Electric Citizen



Valley of the Sun

Zebras in Public

Close to Home


Arlo McKinley

Noah Smith

Jody Stapleton

Jeremy Pinnell

Rob Fetters

Molly Sullivan 


DAAP Girls

The Yugos


The Hiders

State Song

Injecting Strangers




Kill City

The Dopamines

Black Planet



Ricky Nye

The Whiskey Shambles

Kelly Richey

Noah Wotherspoon

Sonny Moorman Group

John Ford


The Almighty Get Down

The Perfect Children

Under New Order

Ingrid Woode

Freekbass & The Bump Assembly

The Cincy Brass


The Faux Frenchmen

Phil DeGreg and Brasilia

The Hot Magnolias

Art & Science

Blue Wisp Big Band

Animal Mother

Hip Hop: 



Buggs tha Rocka

Valley High

Trademark Aaron

Counterfeit Money Machine



Dream Tiger

Playfully Yours

Black Signal

Dark Colour


Best Live Act: 

The Almighty Get Down



Mad Anthony

Young Heirlooms

Injecting Strangers

Best Music Video: 

Wussy – “North Sea Girls”

Rob Fetters – “Desire”

Mad Anthony – “Sank for Days”

Injecting Strangers – “Detroit”

Sleep – “I Shot Lincoln”

Tweens - “Forever”

The Tillers – “Willy Dear”

Trademark Aaron – “Gold”

Critical Achievement Awards Album of the Year: 

Tweens – Tweens
Pop Goes the Evil – Love Stained Heart
500 Miles to Memphis – Stand There and Bleed
Wussy – Attica!
Rob Fetters – Saint Ain’t
Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound – Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound
The Almighty Get Down – People, This Is …
Buffalo Killers – Heavy Reverie

New Artist of the Year: 

Dream Tiger



Elk Creek


Noah Smith

Artist of the Year: 

Electric Citizen


Mad Anthony


The Tillers

Buffalo Killers

by mbreen 11.25.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, CEAs at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

CEAs Now Accepting Submissions for Nominations

Annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards honoring Greater Cincinnati’s music scene invites public input into nomination process

For the 2015 edition of CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (to be held in late January), the public now has a chance to be involved in the process of choosing the nominations from Greater Cincinnati’s amazing music scene. Previously, nominations came directly from the nominating committee, which consists of a variety of local music aficionados (writers, bloggers, club owners, etc.). The nominating committee members still have final say in who gets nominated, but for the first time ever they will be presented with your feedback before making their final decisions. 

Here is the link for your input.

The ballot will close on Dec. 5. Here are some basic guidelines from the nominations ballot: 

For the first time ever, fans will have input into the nomination process for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. For each genre category, please enter the name of the performer you feel is deserved of a CEA for their work in 2014. Recordings released publicly between November 2013 and November 2014 are eligible for Album of the Year nominations. The New Artist of the Year category is for artists who have emerged in that same time span (they don’t have to have formed in that date range, just broken through for the first time). 

Nominations are reserved for artists from Greater Cincinnati making original music. Please, no straight-up cover bands. You may only fill out one ballot per email address; additional ballots will be discarded.

A list of the top vote getters in each category will be presented to the nominating committee members. The members will not be restricted to voting only for artists nominated by the public, because some deserved acts may not actively campaign for nominations and the CEAs honor output and accomplishments and not just who has the biggest Facebook friends list or the most followers on Twitter. But the “long list” compiled from public votes will get more artists’ names in front of the nominating committee and help their chances for making the final “short list” of nominees. 

Once the nominations are compiled, the final ballot will be placed online for public voting.

Be fair. Be nice. And happy voting!  

by Mike Breen 02.14.2014
Posted In: Music Video, Live Music, Music News, CEAs at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

WATCH: Buggs Tha Rocka's 'State of Hip Hop Freestyle' Video

A pair of Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners team up for new music video shot in Amsterdam

Creative Cincinnati MC Buggs Tha Rocka has just released a video for his “State of Hip-Hop Freestyle” track, featuring sounds from the late, great J. Dilla and taken from 2012’s The Wrath of Zeus mixtape, which was hosted by DJ Clockwork and is available for free download here

The “State of Hip Hop” clip was shot in Amsterdam by Snow Rowe, who also performs/records with the great local Hip Hop crew Valley High. Rowe’s video for Valley High’s “8 Ball” won the inaugural “Best Music Video” prize at the recent Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Buggs Tha Rocka took home the 2014 “Hip Hop” Cincinnati Entertainment Award (his second win in a row) and he has video evidence to prove it:

by Mike Breen 02.03.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Live Stream, CEAs at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

WATCH: The 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Live video from Jan. 26 CEA ceremony now available courtesy of ICRCTV

Last Sunday's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards show — which featured 19 awards for local musicians and nine top-notch performances — is available to watch now courtesy of the fine folks at ICRCTV. Now's your chance to watch, in the comfort of your home, the show about which people have said was "fun," "blerg," "entertaining," "disappointing," "amateurish," "too noisy" and "lacking in chairs"! 

Click here for CityBeat's wrap-up of the show (plus the winners in each category), here for Jac Kern's observations as a first time host and here for oodles of photos from the event.

by Mike Breen 01.27.2014
Posted In: CEAs, Live Music at 09:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

CEA 2014 Winners

Who won what at the 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Check out a wrap-up of last night's 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards show in this Wednesday issue of CityBeat. (Spoiler alert: It was an amazing night.)

In the meantime, below are the winners in each of the CEA categories. Congratulations to all of the performers, presenters, nominees and other attendees for making last night's show at the Madison Theater such a success. (Here's a link to some footage from ICRCTV's Livestream stream last night.)

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards 2014 Winners

Rock: Electric Citizen 

Indie/Alternative: DAAP Girls

Metal/Hard Rock: Moonbow

Punk: The Dopamines

Folk/Americana: The Tillers

Bluegrass: Rumpke Mountain Boys

Country: Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s

Singer/Songwriter: Molly Sullivan

World Music/Reggae: The Cliftones

Hip Hop: Buggs Tha Rocka

Electronic: Black Signal

Blues: Ricky Nye

Jazz: The Faux Frenchmen

R&B/Funk/Soul: The Cincy Brass

Best Live Act: Foxy Shazam

Best Artist Not Nominated: Young Heirlooms 

Best Music Video: “8 Ball” by Valley High 

Album of the Year: Fists of Love - I Sang My Heart Out to a Snake Once

New Artist of the Year: Tweens

Artist of the Year: Walk the Moon