Dallas Observer Music Awards

The 2015 Dallas Observer Music Awards Winners

Is it better to burn out or fade away? It might seem like we were dwelling on that question a little too much as the Dallas music community gathered last night for our 27 Club-themed party for the Dallas Observer Music Awards at The Bomb Factory, where we had nominated bands play covers of musicians who died at the age of 27. Dark stuff, we know. But in truth, Dallas music is in rude health these days, and the fresh blood amongst this year’s awards winners only drives the point home.

Not surprisingly, Leon Bridges was the big star of the awards, sweeping no fewer than six categories (every one that he was nominated in, in fact) just a few short days after appearing on Saturday Night Live and earning a nomination for a Grammy Award. The Fort Worth R&B singer has been the feel-good story of the year in North Texas, and few would argue with the power of Coming Home, which earned best album honors, or its title track, which won best song.

But even beyond Bridges, a look through the list of this year’s winners presents plenty of fresh faces and first-time winners. Bridges’ friend and fellow old-for-his-age-soul Charley Crockett brought a new feel to the best blues act category, emerging from a field of artists that included perennial frontrunner Jonathan Tyler. Kaela Sinclair, who won best pianist/keyboardist after receiving three nominations this year, and fellow Dentonite Jessie Frye, the winner of best pop act, also took home their first DOMA wins.

Others have been through this rodeo before but seemed to make their big breakthrough this year. Most prominent among them is Blue, the Misfit, who was nominated for five awards in 2014, came back with six nominations this year and reached the top of the heap for best DJ, producer, live act and, most important of all, best rap/hip-hop act. Another rap group, the Outfit, TX, were also repeat nominees and came away with their first award, for best group act. Even Oaktopia, once the little music fest that could, rose up as the people’s choice for best festival.

Then again, the more things change the more they stay the same. For all the up-and-coming talent knocking on the door of this year’s DOMAs, the old hands still came up with clutch plays. Sarah Jaffe cruised to three awards, while The Kessler Theater’s Jeffrey Liles, a veteran with more than 30 years in the music scene, won best talent buyer. The Kessler itself came out on top in a rare tie, sharing the honors with Granada Theater for best concert venue. That left The Bomb Factory, one of this year’s biggest upstarts, to take home the best new music venue award at its own party.

So here’s to burning brightly and never fading away. 2015 has been a big year in Dallas, but now that we’ve spent a week celebrating it, it’s time to look ahead to 2016. Cheers to turning 28.

Best Album
Winner: Leon Bridges, Coming Home
Brent Best, Your Dog Champ
Lord Byron, Digital Crucifixion
Radio Activity, Silent Kill
Salim Nourallah, Skeleton Closet

Best Alt-Country Act
Winner: Old 97’s
Brent Best
Justin Pickard
The O’s
The Vandoliers

Best Bassist
Winner: Aaron González
Emsy Robinson
Nigel Rivers
Sam Villavert
Zack Busby

Best Blues Act
Winner: Charley Crockett
Jason Elmore
Jim Suhler
Jonathan Tyler
Stevie James Trio

Best Club Venue
Winner: Club Dada
Crown & Harp
It’ll Do Club
Rubber Gloves
Three Links

Best Concert Venue
Winner (tie): Granada Theater/
The Kessler Theater
The Bomb Factory
House of Blues

Best Country Act
Winner: Eleven Hundred Springs
Jake Paleschic
Madison King
Troy Cartwright
Vincent Neil Emerson
Best Cover Band
Winner: Le Cure
The Gorehounds
Raised Right Men
The Rich Girls
Straight Tequila Night

Best DJ
Winner: Blue, the Misfit
JT Donaldson
Wanz Dover

Best DJ Night
Winner: “Fresh 45’s” at Crown & Harp
“Big Bang” at Beauty Bar
“DOAP” at Crown & Harp
“Soul Funktion” at Off the Record
“War Club Wednesdays” at Crown & Harp

Best Drummer
Winner: Stefan González
Grady Sandlin
John Teague
Jordan Richardson
Matt Mabe

Best Electronic Act
Winner: Ishi
Teen Slut

Best EP
Winner: Sarah Jaffe, Visions
LEV, Shadow
The Outfit, TX, Deep Ellum
Pearl Earl, Karaoke Superstar
Sudie, Sudie

Best Experimental/Noise Act
Winner: Pinkish Black
Def Rain
Orgullo Primitivo

Best Female Vocalist
Winner: Sarah Jaffe
Kaela Sinclair
Lily Taylor
Rat Rios

Best Festival
Winner: Oaktopia
35 Denton

Best Folk Act
Winner: Whiskey Folk Ramblers
Bad Mountain
Claire Morales
Doug Burr
Fox & the Bird

Best Funk/R&B Act
Winner: Leon Bridges
The BoomBachs
Dezi 5
Kirk Thurmond & the Millennials
Larry g(EE)

Best Group Act
Winner: The Outfit, TX
Dark Rooms
Oil Boom
Party Static

Best Guitarist
Winner: Ryan Thomas Becker
Gregg Prickett
Nick Earl
Robbie Saunders
Stephen Ketner

Best Hardcore Act
Winner: In Memory of Man
Modern Pain
Pissed Grave

Best Jazz Act
Winner: Snarky Puppy
The Free Loaders
Funky Knuckles
One O’Clock Lab Band
Yells at Eels

Best Latin/Tejano Band
Winner: Mariachi Quetzal
Dustin Cavazos
Revolucion Oi
Supersonic Lips
Best Live Act
Winner: Blue, the Misfit
Dezi 5
Party Static

Best Local Music Compilation
Winner: Gitmo, The Show: The Soundtrack
Art for Motels, Greetings From the 214
Dallas Distortion Music, Live in Dallas
Hand Drawn Records, The Holiday Record
Sound Collectiv, #DallasUP

Best Male Vocalist
Winner: Leon Bridges
Daniel Hart
Daniel Rush Follmer
Dezi 5
Wesley Geiger

Best Metal Act
Winner: Pinkish Black
House of Harkonnen
Mountain of Smoke
Power Trip

Best Mixtape
Winner: Erykah Badu, “Feel Better World”
DJ Sober, “Gorilla Vs. Bear V”
Fab Deuce, “The Hangover”
Snow Tha Product, “The Rest Comes Later”
Tony Q and Plain Jane Francis, “OLDKIDS”

Best Music Blog
Winner: Central Track
Gorilla Vs. Bear
This New Band
Too Fresh Productions

Best Music Video
Winner: Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
Blue, the Misfit, “Alive”
Buffalo Black, “1984”
Kaela Sinclair, “Original Sin”
Sudie, “Heartattack”

Best New Act
Winner: Leon Bridges
The Azalea Project
Pearl Earl
Rat Rios
The Vandoliers

Best New Music Venue
Winner: The Bomb Factory
The cOoompound
Gas Monkey Live!
Harvest House
Mother Truckers

Best Pianist/Keyboardist
Winner: Kaela Sinclair
Adam Pickrell
Chad Stockslager
Daniel Creamer
Sean Kirkpatrick

Best Pop Act
Winner: Jessie Frye
Dezi 5

Best Producer
Winner: Blue, the Misfit
Beau Bedford
John Congleton
Jordan Richardson

Best Punk Act
Winner: Sealion
Party Static
Slimy Member
Street Arabs

Best Radio Show/Podcast
Winner: The Paul Slavens Show on KKXT 91.7
The Hardline on KCTK 96.7
Live From the Underground on DeepEllumOnAir.com
The Local Ticket on KCTK 96.7
The Reunion LIVE on TheReunion.me
Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act
Winner: Blue, the Misfit
Buffalo Black
Lord Byron
The Outfit, TX

Best Record Label
Winner: Hand Drawn Records
Dallas Distortion Music
Idol Records
Kirtland Records
Vice Palace Tapes

Best Record Store
Winner: Good Records
Josey Records
Mad World Records
Off the Record
Spinster Records

Best Rock Act
Winner: Quaker City Night Hawks
Daniel Markham
The Phuss
The Roomsounds

Best Song
Winner: Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
Bobby Sessions, “Black America
Buffalo Black, “1984”
Dezi 5, “Dallas Bitch”
Sarah Jaffe, “Vision”

Best Songwriter
Winner: Sarah Jaffe
Brent Best
Daniel Hart
Rahim Quazi
Salim Nourallah

Best Talent Buyer
Winner: Jeffrey Liles
Moody Fuqua
Parade of Flesh
Transmission Events
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Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage