OC Music Awards Keep It Together

Ego, sense of entitlement, expectations and any other kind of bullshit typically associated with stars and ceremonies never surfaced on March 6 at the Grove of Anaheim, where a mix of emerging and certified luminaries repping myriad music styles gathered for the Ninth Annual OC Music Awards. I’m not a big fan of competition when it comes to the arts, and it appeared all involved pretty much shared that sentiment. The winners offered humble acceptance speeches, with even the most recognizable faces in the room appearing moved to be part of the talent-rich—but largely disparate and geographically challenged—Orange County scene. With Saturday’s event, which featured local faves, burgeoning nationally known acts, and household names Sugar Ray and Lit,awards organizers—notably the much-name-checked-from-the-podium Luke Allen and Ashley Eckenweiler—managed to make everyone feel as if they were taking part in a hometown celebration. Good times were the overall vibe, but a moment of poignancy did sweep the packed theater when Lit, best known for party tunes, went acoustic with “Here’s to Us, in honor of drummer Allen Shellenberger,who died of a brain tumor in November. Dusty Rhodes & the River Band carried home the most hardware, winning for Best Country/Americana, Best Live Band and Best Rock. They also turned in a winning performance, and really, front man Dustin Apodaca got robbed for not winning Best Mustache. Okay, such an award didn’t exist. But it should have because he somehow makes something so 1970s-porn-star-silly totally rock. From a March 8 Heard Mentality post.


Stacy Clark—who has already gained national attention from her delightful pop tunes appearing on MTV, CW, ABC and Bravo—just inked a deal with Vanguard Records. It became official March 2 after about a month of talks. “It’s so exciting and crazy and overwhelming,” Clark says. Vanguard has been around since 1950, first gaining fame for releasing seminal folk albums by Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie; the label’s current roster ranges from the Indigo Girls and the Watson Twins to Merle Haggard and Levon Helm. “It always feels good to be a part of something that is so established,” Clark says. “I really have respect for Joan Baez and all those other artists.” The Costa Mesan self-released her 2006 debut EP, Unusual, and a 2007 full-length, Apples & Oranges; Vanguard plans to issue her album Connect the Dots on July 27. “It’s real organic. We used real instruments—no programming,” Clark says. “I’m very proud of Apples & Oranges, and it definitely represents a certain time in my life, but Connect the Dots represents where I’m at now.”  

Clark plans to support the release with extensive touring and looks forward to the promotional push being on a label can provide. “I definitely see a lot more travel in the future, which I’m excited about—I’m perfectly fine with touring every day with the band,” she says. “The possibilities are so exciting. I think every artist can only dream of getting through with a hit on radio or having a great tour.” Clark, who won for Best Pop at the OC Music Awards, had performed Connect the Dots selections “All Time Low,” “Anywhere,“Hold On” and “Don’t Take What’s Mine” during her band’s celebrated OC Music Awards Showcase Series. From a March 2 post—except for the part about winning an award.


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