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In the short term that means playing a handful of radio-station festivals over the next few months, a choice spot on the Warped Tour this summer and writing and recording for a new album to be released in 2004.

"We've been nominated for an Observer award before, for Best New Band," Reddick says, laughing. "We didn't win, but the ceremony was one of the drunkest states I've ever been in. See, there was free tequila, and there's this equation you learn in pre-algebra: tequila = bad." Still drunk, still dancing. --Mikael Wood

Winner for: Best New Act
If the story didn't already exist, perfect in so many ways, if you didn't see it with your own eyes, hear it from their untrained lips, you'd swear it was fiction straight from an imaginative publicist. Or maybe the work of an old-school band manufacturer along the lines of Andrew Loog Oldham, someone who knew what journalists wanted before they knew they needed it. Yet, no, there it is: three sisters (guitarist Chauntelle, singer-guitarist Sherri and singer-keyboard player Stacy DuPree), their brother (drummer Weston) and their bass-playing best friend (Jonathan Wilson), ranging between the ages of 21 and 14. Straight outta Tyler, by way of Dallas, and into the welcoming arms of Warner Bros. and Coldplay's go-to guy, Dave Holmes of Nettwerk Management. And this has all, pretty much, happened in the past few months. There have been made-for-VH1 movies that have more complicated plots. But, then, that's part of what makes it such a great story; it's so simple, so pure, it feels as though it was meant to happen. And if that's true, you couldn't pick a better band--a better family--for it to happen to.

Of course, everything in the above paragraph, save for the description of who does what onstage, matters little as soon as you hear Eisley. At that point, words don't really work anymore. Every comparison fits a size too small; every easy answer just brings up tougher questions. Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke certainly wasn't up to the task, comparing the band (looks-wise) to Avril Lavigne and (musically) to "a female Flaming Lips" in a recent review of its South by Southwest performance. (Fricke and Rolling Stone do, however, score some points for separating the wheat from the chaff, singling out Eisley--along with Kinski, Pretty Girls Make Graves and Kaito--from the other 1,000 or so acts at SXSW.) There's not one other band readily available as a reference point for Eisley, though once Laughing City, the group's debut EP for Warner Bros., drops in a month or so, just watch rock writers scramble for their best blank-meets-blank correlations.

Thing is, one plus one never equals two when you're talking about the music Eisley makes. You can take a picture of sunlight streaming through a bank of clouds, but it doesn't make you feel the same way as when you saw it and felt it and smelled it, and the same goes for seeing Eisley live. There are plenty of things I can say about how Sherri and Stacy's voices wrap together like a hand holding another one, how Chauntelle is the first real guitar heroine I can think of, how Wilson and Weston's rhythm section often could be its own song. But they wouldn't do the group justice. I will say this: It's staggering to think where they can go from here. --Z.C.

Carter Albrecht and Trey Johnson
Winner for: Musician of the Year (Carter Albrecht), Male
Vocalist (Trey Johnson) and Songwriter (Carter Albrecht)

Figures that Carter Albrecht would have a nice jump shot, even with a cigarette smoldering from his lips. He does everything else pretty well, so why not? I know about his shooting skills because I wriggled my way into the weekly basketball game that happens every Monday night at the place Albrecht and Barley House co-owner Richard Winfield share near the SMU campus. (Also on the court: Ward Williams, who plays with Albrecht in Sparrows and, lately, Sorta; Todd Pertl, pedal steel and guitar player for Deadman; and Paul Williams, producer of Sparrows' debut, Rock and Roll Days.) The night before that backyard game, Albrecht was onstage at Barley, sitting in with Shibboleth, twisting and shouting his way through a cover of the Guess Who's "These Eyes" and making pretty much everyone jammed into the bar forget someone else ever recorded that song. He cradled the crowd in one hand and held tight to the mike with the other, Shibboleth making like Booker T. & the MG's to his Otis Redding. And he's even better with his own material.

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Zac Crain
Contact: Zac Crain
Jeff Liles
Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin
Shannon Sutlief
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky
Mikael Wood

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