Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.
The winner of this year's best acoustic band at the 2012 OC Music Awards
was announced at last night's showcase held at the Coach House
in San Juan Capistrano
. And the winner is...Allensworth
The soul-skewing rock quartet played an incredibly tight set of songs swinging with loose grooves. Their three-part, pitch-perfect harmonies and quirky percussion instruments accented vocalist Jamie Allensworth's smooth croon beautifully. Though the win may be well deserved, the announcement came on the heels of the evening's final performance which was given by jug-band virtuosos, Moonsville Collective.
They ended their set with a barn-rattling number that had people practically square dancing in aisles. When it was apparent they hadn't won, a quiet shock rippled through the room. Even Allensworth looked a little stunned as he accepted the evening's top prize, which includes a four-day recording session at Red Bull Studios and an endorsement by Ernie Ball. Doubtless, it wasn't an easy task for judges to rate these very talented groups of people with such disparate sounds. (The organizers wouldn't give us the exact scores, but it's rumored that the discrepancy was in the one- to two-point range.)
That said, all bands performed extremely well. I'll spare readers a rehashing of my previous critical comments except to mention songstress Kacie Yoshida.
She surprised the audience by bringing a full band on stage, which she said she was playing with for the first time. With a filled-out sound, I found her music much more compelling than the last time I saw her at Malone's for showcase number four. That night it was her, an acoustic guitar and a cello.
Last night as she was flanked by cello, upright bass and drums, she played a fantastic cover of the classic folk jam "House of the Rising Sun" made famous by the Animals and used in Scorsese's 1995 film Casino. Her rendition was smoldering. I closed my eyes and saw montage images of mobsters getting whacked and their bodies being dumped in shallow corn-field graves.
The OC Music Awards will have one more showcase before the main award ceremony. The final showcase for best live band will be held tomorrow night at the Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa. Will Railroad to Alaska take top marks? Stay tuned.
Overheard: "I'm a little surprised. I wasn't expecting this after Moonsville Collective," Jamie Allensworth said as he received his reward.
Random Notebook Dump: Parker Macy played his kick ass blues song which describes the financial sham that is the Federal Reserve. Occupy!