Local musicians crowned winners at the Wammies, DC’s version of the Grammys

Summer Dennis and Rhymes is just one of this year’s Wammies winners. (Courtesy Wammies)
WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes the Wammies Winners

Local bands can use all the accolades they can get to boost recognition these days.

After a weeklong virtual ceremony, an elite few can now call themselves champions at the Wammie Awards, Washington’s equivalent of the Grammys, hosted by The MusicianShip.

“We as an organization are really proud of all of the nominees, all of the finalists, all of the winners,” MusicianShip executive director Jeffery Tribble told WTOP. “I think it’s easy to sometimes view it as a competition, but we definitely view it as a celebration of all of the artists, regardless of whether or not they are winners.”

After 694 total nominations, winners were announced in 58 categories, with a best song and best album named across blues, bluegrass, classical, country, electronic, folk, funk, go-go, gospel, hard rock, hip-hop, jazz, pop, punk, R&B, rap, reggae, rock and soul.

One of the big winners was Dupont Brass, which won Best Rap Group.

“People tend to think of them as more of a brass band, as indicated by the name, but it just shows how versatile they are in terms of the art that they put out,” Tribble said.

Local favorite Aaron Abernathy won both Best Soul Album and Best R&B Album.

“He’s been on the scene for several years now,” Tribble said. “He’s a really fantastic artist. He’s actually done a master class for the MusicianShip many years ago before we were even the home of the Wammie Awards, so it was great to see him come through.”

Cecily followed up last year’s victory with another win this year for Best Soul Song.

“I think any time you have an artist who can prove to be consistent year after year, you really just have to celebrate them and honor them,” Tribble said. “She also has moved on to a national platform and we’d like to think that we have something to do with that.”

Clutch won for Best Hard Rock Artist, while Caustic Casanova won Best Rock Album.

“Clutch is well recognized in the region, but to hear their latest project and for them to ascend to win this award is really fantastic,” Tribble said. “[Best Rock Album] went to Caustic Casanova for their album ‘God, How I Envy the Deaf,’ a really solid project.”

As for world music, that genre was once again dominated by Veronneau.

Veronneau has been winning Wammie Awards probably since the award show existed,” Tribble said. “For them to still consistently be on the scene [and] win an award for their album ‘Live at Lubber Run’ is just really fantastic and a testament to their consistency.”

And on the country side, the Bumper Jacksons won Best Country/Americana Artist.

“One of my favorite groups who’s been doing a lot of recognized work in the region is Bumper Jacksons,” Tribble said. “They also were a multi-award-winning group having won Best Folk Album, so they are well respected and I couldn’t be more proud of that group being recognized for ‘Live at the Wolf Trap.'”

Through it all, Tribble remains committed to celebrating a diverse range of genres.

“We are not homogenous,” Tribble said. “We really try to allow as many people as possible to be a part of the nomination and voting process. I think what happens is that you get a really diverse group. … It’s just awesome to see a myriad of genres ranging from funk to soul, hip-hop to country to even world music.”

One area he’d like to boost is go-go, which was popularized here in the nation’s capital.

“There was only one go-go finalist for Best Album,” Tribble said. “Go-go is predominantly celebrated because of its live music, fervor and zeal, but in the age of COVID-19, when people can’t perform live, we really want more recorded music. We want to at some point try to assist the go-go community and see whether we can bring them into the fold more.”

In the end, winning at the Wammie Awards will help local artists boost exposure.

“It gives them other opportunities to perform in the region,” Tribble said. “We’ve seen people be able to go on television and say, ‘I’m a Wammie Award-winning artist.’ … It certainly is an extra tool in your tool kit that hopefully you’re proud of and hopefully can leverage to become a more well-rounded artist and a more booked artist.”

Check out the full winners list on the Wammies’ website.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Jeffery Tribble (Full Interview)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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