Inaugural Utah Music Awards keeps it local

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Workman Productions held their first annual Utah Music Awards on September 18 at the Covey Arts Center. Bands from all across Utah gathered to celebrate, perform and party. VanLadyLove won two of the three categories they were nominated for, including Best Pop Album and Best Album overall.

“It has been a crazy amount of work and I’m happy that so many people showed up. I really hope that this leads to doing it bigger and better every year. I think the way we’re going, it will. It really will work out,” said Warren Workman, founder of Workman Productions and organizer of the event, along with his wife Dora Workman.

Amy Whitcomb (yes, of The Voice) and Nathan Osmond (yes, of those Osmonds), have launched a new television show that highlights local music called Backstage Avenue, and hosted the awards show.’

Osmond was also nominated for several awards, and walked away with the Best Country/Folk Album. With his American flag sleeves poking out from under his tuxedo, he performed a track from the album, “Welcome to the Party,” a rumpus, country-party rock anthem.

Robyn Cage and her band, of Park City, seemed to have stepped out of a mechanical, robotic Danny Elfman screenplay and played her new single, ‘Burning Now.’ She was nominated for Best Alternative Album, Best Pop Album and Best Dance/Electronica Album.

Celtic-folk group Unraveled picked up the American theme that Osmond had brought to the stage. They played a ballad about American soldiers, complete with a continuous military drum fill that stood alone after the acoustic guitar, three vocalists and violinist faded out. A video of clips of soldiers and a waving American flag ran behind them.

My Fair Fiend, who were up for the Best Alternative Album, played ‘Murder a Dream,’ a waltzy rock song that escalates into a smashing ruckus in the chorus. They toyed with tension and suspense.

BYU alumni Shaun Cannon (or Michael Buble Jr) sang ‘Golazo’ with his music video, which features the One Voice Children’s Choir. The song is a poppy, soulful tune and won Best Single earlier in the evening.

Five of the six members of Shrink the Giant are UVU students. They performed ‘Question Mark’ with an energetic stage presence. Their theme is tribal; lead singer Stefania Barr’s hair was in a magnificent cacophony of messy braids and feathers and every member of the band’s face had warrior paint.

“Everybody has giants, trials in life and we try to make music that’s good, clean, positive and helps shrink people’s giants. This is our battle get-up,” said Barr.

Maddie Wilson, winner of the Best Artist under 18 and nominated for Best Country/Folk Album performed a twangy but tight country single. She’s from Utah, but she captures the air of Tennessee.

Johnny Cat, founder of Utah Musicians and American Music Radio presented an award for Opal Hill Drive and encouraged bands to claim Provo and Salt Lake as their hometowns and take pride in being from Utah.

“Keep Utah,” Cat said. He promotes local bands for free on as well as on Facebook.

Here’s a list of all of the night’s winners:


Single: Shaun Cannon for ‘Golazo’

Studio: Rumba Libre Band for ‘Salsa Fever’

Engineer: Daniel Thompson (from Salt Lake Pops Orchestra) for ‘Grenade’

Cover: Eclipse 6 for ‘Singles’

Instrumental: Ray Smith for ‘The Day After Yesterday’

Christian: Drew Reese for ‘Where the Noise Fades’

Dance/Electronica: Alex Galamb for ‘In My Mind Club Remix’

New Artist: Lucy Scholl

Latin: Marissa Marcias for “Ven Para Aca”

Alternative: Shrink the Giant, for self-titled album

Country/Folk: Nathan Osmond for Homeward Bound Heroes

Rock: Jhonny K and Krew for ‘Long Way Home’

Artist Under 18: Maddie Wilson for “Why Don’t You Go”

Pop: VanLadyLove for ‘Love Matters’

Album Overall: VanLadyLove for ‘Love Matters’