The Austin Chronicle

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

By Kevin Curtin and Raoul Hernandez, March 5, 2021, Music

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.

The Winners and Nominees

Band of the Year (Sponsored by Dulce Vida Tequila)

Black Pumas

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Sam Houston & Blk Odyssy

Ley Line

Sir Woman

Musician of the Year (Sponsored by Trashless)

Jackie Venson

Gina Chavez

Jake Lloyd

Walker Lukens


Songwriter of the Year (Sponsored by Desert Door Distillery)

David Ramirez

Eric Burton

Bill Callahan

Eliza Gilkyson

Jana Horn

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (Sponsored by BeatStars)

Magna Carda


Deezie Brown

Kydd Jones

The Teeta

Album of the Year (Sponsored by Real Ale Brewing Co.)

Jackie Venson, Vintage Machine

Botany, End the Summertime F(or)ever

Deezie Brown & EC Mayne, Candy Blue Like Screw

Charley Crockett, Welcome to Hard Times

Eliza Gilkyson, 2020

Greyhounds, Primates

Ley Line, We Saw Blue

David Ramirez, My Love Is a Hurricane

Skeleton, Skeleton

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.)

Heartless Bastards, "Revolution"

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.)

Annabelle Chairlegs, "Outside" [Dir. Vanessa Pla]

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]

Local Label

Chicken Ranch



Modern Outsider


Radio Station (Sponsored by BMI)



ACL Radio 97.1FM

Sun Radio 100.1FM

101X 101.5FM

Radio Personality

Laurie Gallardo

Suzanna Choffel

Kevin Connor

Aaron "Fresh" Knight

Taylor Wallace

Record Store

Waterloo Records

Antone's Records

BLK Vinyl

Breakaway Records

End of an Ear

Recording Studio

Arlyn Studios

The Bubble

King Electric

The Orb

Public Hi-Fi

Best Nonprofit (Sponsored by Capital Metro)

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM)

Black Fret

Diversity Awareness & Wellness in Action (DAWA)

Girls Rock Austin

SIMS Foundation

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)

Shinyribs, "Stay Home"

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)

Love & Lightstream drive-ins

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)

Jackie Venson

Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone

Adrian Quesada

Nakia Reynoso

Charlie Sexton

Best Virtual Event (Sponsored by Weird Homes Tour)

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic

A Night for Austin

Black Everythang Matters

Blues on the Screen

HOME Cookin' for the Holidays

Best Online Series

Shakey Graves Presents Hello Gorgeous

Bud's Presents Live & Direct

Hotel Vegas' Hotel Free TV

Lost Well's Rock for Rent Safehouse

Best Livestreaming Artist (Sponsored by Luxe Refill)

Jackie Venson

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Band of Heathens

Corey Baum (Croy & the Boys)

DJ Mel

Austin Music Hall of Fame (Sponsored by Strait Music Company)

Iron Age

James Hand

Erik Hokkanen

Tee Double

Texana Dames

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