The WAMI's List of 2017 Nominees is Pretty On Point

Feb. 28, 2017
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It's always nice to see an organization live up to its potential. By the early '00s, the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards had developed a reputation as, to put it gently, out of touch. Each year the ceremony regularly overlooked some of the state's most acclaimed and exciting performers in favor of a cast of nominees that was always suspiciously heavy on the organization's own membership. In recent years, though, the organization has made a concerted effort to correct its myopia, and it's working. While you can still quibble about odd inclusions or oversights, as you can with any sort of award event, for the last half decade or so the nominees have been pretty impeccable.

That trend continues this year, with a list of nominees that honors some of last year's best local releases, and recognizes Wisconsin acts making waves outside the state (PHOX, Dead Horses and Vinyl Theatre among them). Every category is genuinely competitive. Congrats to the WAMIs for righting the ship and reclaiming their old relevance, because for the first time in far too long, winning a WAMI means something again.

You can read the complete list of 2017 nominees below. The organization will hold 37th annual awards show on Sunday, April 23 at Turner Hall Ballroom.

Artist of the Year
The Pukes
Vinyl Theatre
Dead Horses

Album of the Year
DIRECT HIT! – “Wasted Mind”
Conniption – “Relentless Tides”
Pizzle – “Grand Design”
Dead Horses – “Cartoon Moon”
B~Free – “Ode 2 a Luv Affair”
Steve Grimm – “Bad Boys Bad Girls”
The Pukes – “Revenge of The Pukes”
NO/NO – “Sound and Light”
Space Raft – “Rubicon”

Song of the Year
Reyna – “Spill Your Colors”
Brett Newski – “DIY”
Devil Met Contention – “Fire”
Ordinary Heathens – “Winterset”
Steve Grimm – “You and Me Against The World”
Gabriel Sanchez – “Immortal By Sound”
NO/NO – “Whatever”
Midwest Death Rattle – “Tacoma Narrows”
DIRECT HIT! – “Paid in Brains”

New Artist of the Year
Spiders From Milwaukee
The Kelsey Miles Band
Derek Sallmann
Totally Neon
Camel Toe Truck
Crank The Radio

Male Vocalist of the Year
Travis Schinke
Erik Kjelland
Kris Crow
Jon Wheelock
Joe Gleesing
Chris Tischler
Kurt Gunn
Rich Hoffman

Female Vocalist of the Year
Jennifer Schafer
Sarah Vos
Alexis Walton
Erin Krebs
Amileigha Blue
Beth Kille
Jamie Lynn Fletcher

Singer/Songwriter of the Year
Jay Matthes
Brett Newski
Jason Moon
LJ & Bill
Phil Norby
Ricky Ganiere
Stephanie Tschech
Kurt Gunn

Rising Star of the Year
Jaid Ruffing
Savannah Rose
Ebony Loren
Parker Collar
Jonah Roth
Genevieve Heyward

Alternative Rock/Rock Artist
Field Report
Space Raft
Dr. Chow’s Love Medicine
The Family Business
The Chocolateers
Steve Grimm
Green Screen Kid
Kyle Megna & The Monsoons

Bluegrass/Americana Artist
Dead Horses
The Mad Polecats
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Mascot Theory
Copper Box
The Whiskeybelles
Nordland & The Nomad Assembly

Christian/Gospel Artist
Night Divine
Masonic Wonders
Cory Cifax
Tae Spears
Paul F. Trebian

Blues Artist
Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys
Jonny T-Bird & The MP’s
Max Jones & The A-Tones
Big n Tasty Blues
The Jimmy’s
3rd Coast Blues Collective
Altered Five
Steve Cohen

Country Artist
Rebel Grace
Bella Cain
Road Crew
Driveway Thriftdwellers
Stetsin & Lace
FM Rodeo
Spitfire Rodeo
Grand Union

Cover Artist
The Presidents
Boogie & The Yo-Yo’z
Almighty Vinyl
The Love Monkeys
Metal Men
Cherry Pie
Star Six Nine

Folk/Celtic Artist
Devil Met Contention
Sugar Ransom
Whiskey of the Damned
Ian Gould
The Roving Scallywags
Killarney Blarney & The Paddy Wagon

Hard Rock Artist
Gabriel Sanchez
Red Light Saints
Bad Habitz
Imperial Fall
Leading the Blind
Stradlin’ Rosie
Lords of the Trident

Metal Artist
Cold Black River
Killing Rapunzel
Memories Wither
Burial Ritual

Punk Artist
The Pukes
The Cherrypops
Walt Hamburger
Sedated – A Tribute to the Ramones

Jazz Artist
Jamie Breiwick
KWT featuring Tom Washatka
Ellen Winters
Erin Krebs
The Jazz Orgy
Jamie Lynn Fletcher
Rändi Fay

Polka Artist
The Squeezettes
Happy Schnapps Combo
Steve Meisner
Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen
The Rhythm Playboys

Pop Rock Artist
Vinyl Theatre
Midwest Death Rattle
Ian & The Dream
Blue Light Scene
Verona Grove

Hip Hop/Rap Artist
Lorde Fredd33
Handz Onn

R&B/Soul Artist
J. Council
Tweed Funk
Shonn Hinton & Shotgun
The People Brothers Band
Charles Walker Band
Eddie Butts Band

King Solomon
Unity The Band
Salsa Manzana
The US Project
Max & The Invaders
De La Buena

Club/DJ/Dance/Electronic Artist
Aubrey Lee
DJ G-Spot

Horn/Big Band Artist
Pam The Bear
Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns
The Extra Crispy Brass Band
Dead Man’s Carnival
Cold Sweat & The Brew City Horns
F.B.I. and the Untouchable Horns
Bill Sargent Big Band

Tribute Artist
The Rush Tribute Project
Motley Brue
5 Card Studs
The Prince Experience
Separate Ways
Project Pink
Steely Dane

Matt Danbeck
Mike Lelo
Jeff Brueggeman
Fred Velpel
Craig Neuser
Chris Hanaway
Jeff Hammes
Scott Lowe

Ben Hans
Mike Underwood
Ryan Seefeldt
Mike Malone
Matt Birschbach
Quinton Kufahl
Matt Liban
Dylan Koch

Sean Williamson
Bill Heck
Chris Gess
Max Jones
Aaron Zepplin
Travis Nechuta
Aaron Baker
Dave Zettle

Aaron Zinsmeister
Noah Harmon
Joe Hite
Alex Chilsen
Marcell Guyton
Theo Merriwether
Josh Becker

Stephen Cooper
Danny Jerabek
Michelle Jerabek
Ross Catteron
Michael Clobes
Cass Struve
Brian Dudor
James Beckman

Kimberly Unger
Joe Ketchum
Adrian Ramos
Stephanie Tschech
Gina Romantini
Russ Greeley
Thea Morton Vorass

Best Studio Engineer/Producer
Jeff Hamilton
Marc Golde
Jeff Wilbourn
Michael Mann
Justin Perkins
Joe Hite
Gary Tanin

Best Recording Studio
Rock Garden
Makin Sausage Music
Mystery Room Mastering
Cherry Pit Studios
Musicmann Studios
Tanner Monagle

Best Live Club/Venue
High Noon Saloon
Shank Hall
Mill Creek
Northstar Casino
The Saloon On Calhoun
The Metal Grill
The Fire Pit at Potawatomi
Deja Vu

Best Live Engineer Sound/Lights
Mike Freeland
Steve Funke
Todd Fink
Dave Steinberg
Jeremy Boerson
Jacob Stankowski


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