The 2020/2021 Austin Music Awards Came Bearing a Pandemic Stimulus
Hop in the Winner Wagon and see who we surprised with this year's unique awards
Not throwing an epic wing-ding after the dreadful and disillusioning last 12 months remains a bitter pill to pop. This community deserves one. That said, not having an in-person Austin Music Awards is a no-brainer. No tradition's worth risking the health of people we care about – not even a homegrown legacy show.
So instead of orchestrating a diminished version of something we've done for 38 consecutive years, the Chronicle decided on something totally different: bringing the AMAs to the winners.
In an homage to the Publishers Clearing House Prize television commercials from decades ago, we transformed a 1995 Dodge band van into a “Winners Wagon” and surprised the top vote-getters of the 2020/2021 Austin Music Poll at their homes. Like the old school Prize Patrol, we presented folks with comically oversized checks.
That decision, in lieu of trophies or plaques, arose from the knowledge that musicians in our community have weathered a financially forsaken existence over the last year. AMA honors never came with money, but we believe honorees of every walk need to keep the lights on even if the state can't. Our own creative venture here at the paper suffered like everything else in the pandemic, but sponsors allowed us to accompany each of the 20 awards and one Hall of Fame induction with $500.
And anyway, isn't it everyone's dream to stand there on camera holding a giant check?
Minor stimulus aside, the Austin Music Awards remain an endeavor of thanking, honoring, and recognizing individuals and groups who make community-binding art. Probably like us, you've had your fill of "unprecedented" times and can't wait to return to warranted life. Expect next year's AMAs to be a proper hug-it-out festivity.
For now, we celebrate the 2020/2021 winners who'll stand forever as those who emerged triumphant in a year like no other.
Band of the Year (Sponsored by Dulce Vida Tequila)
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Sam Houston & Blk Odyssy
Musician of the Year (Sponsored by Trashless)
Songwriter of the Year (Sponsored by Desert Door Distillery)
Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (Sponsored by BeatStars)
Album of the Year (Sponsored by Real Ale Brewing Co.)
Botany, End the Summertime F(or)ever
Deezie Brown & EC Mayne, Candy Blue Like Screw
Charley Crockett, Welcome to Hard Times
Eliza Gilkyson, 2020
Ley Line, We Saw Blue
David Ramirez, My Love Is a Hurricane
Star Parks, The New Sounds of Late Capitalism
Sweet Spirit, Trinidad
The Teeta, The Quarantine
Song of the Year (Sponsored by Real Ale Brewing Co.)
Tameca Jones, "IDK"
Mobley, "James Crow"
Adrian Quesada and various artists, "Walk With Me Austin"
Sun June, "Karen O"
Video of the Year (Sponsored by Real Ale Brewing Co.)
Being Dead, "Underworld" [Dir. Riley Engemoen, Juli Keller, Cody Dosier]
Dossey, "Someone to Love" [Dir. Peter Longno]
Caroline Rose, "Feel the Way I Want" [Dir. Caroline Rose]
Jonathan Tyler feat. Nikki Lane, "Old Friend" [Dir. Jonathan Tyler, Scott Wade, Chris Boosahda]
Radio Station (Sponsored by BMI)
ACL Radio 97.1FM
Sun Radio 100.1FM
Aaron "Fresh" Knight
End of an Ear
Best Nonprofit (Sponsored by Capital Metro)
Diversity Awareness & Wellness in Action (DAWA)
Girls Rock Austin
Best Fundraising Effort
Fine Southern Gentlemen's Austin Will Survive
Free Lunch for the homeless (Carrie Fussell Bickley, Jade Skye Hammer, Jazz Mills)
No More Silence Vol. 1 & 2
Red River Cultural District's Banding Together Fund
Best 2020-Themed Song (Sponsored by Precision Camera)
Akina Adderley, "Broke"
Big Bill, "Death to the DNC"
Dumb, "I Gave Greg Abbott the Coronavirus"
Miss Lavelle White, "Keep Your Mask On"
Best Innovation / Business Pivot (Sponsored by Becky Beaver)
ACL Live week of weddings
Emo's election polling station
Mobley's curbside tour
Mosaic Sound Collective's livestream facility
Musician Who Went Above & Beyond (Sponsored by The Soup Peddler)
Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone
Best Virtual Event (Sponsored by Weird Homes Tour)
A Night for Austin
Black Everythang Matters
Blues on the Screen
HOME Cookin' for the Holidays
Best Online Series
Bud's Presents Live & Direct
Hotel Vegas' Hotel Free TV
Lost Well's Rock for Rent Safehouse
Best Livestreaming Artist (Sponsored by Luxe Refill)
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Band of Heathens
Corey Baum (Croy & the Boys)
Austin Music Hall of Fame (Sponsored by Strait Music Company)