And the San Diego Music Award Goes To…

This year, it wasn't the award winners that surprised us

Well, gang, that’s a wrap! The San Diego Music Awards came a little late this season (typically we rally in October), but what matters is that the community came together to celebrate the players who continue to make us America’s Finest City.

On March 21, those players gathered at House of Blues for the annual awards show for an evening of libations and celebrations. This year, however, there was no sweep to be seen, no band or performer to take more than even one award.

Andra Day won Album of the Year for her effort “Cheers to the Fall,” while Song of the Year went to Switchfoot for “Float.” San Diego guitar virtuoso Wayne Riker earned himself the Lifetime Achievement Award, and dished a touching speech on the merits of our community. And of course, a grip of SoundDiego LIVE alums took the gold, including North County’s Trouble in the Wind, who collected a rock for Best Country or Americana Album for “Lefty” -- here’s hoping we hear some cuts from that record come March 30, when the guys headline our next SoundDiego LIVE event at Music Box. (That right there is what we in the biz call a shameless plug. RSVP here to get in for free!)

In other news … the most notable moments at this year’s awards were not necessarily the speeches (no Prayers-level spotlighting here) but instead were the performances. Gilbert Castellanos featured some of his Young Lions -- those up-and-coming generations of performers who, in some cases, aren’t even as tall as the instrument they play but absolutely wail away. Spooky Cigarette, playing before the official start of festivities, and the Verigolds swooned us, while the Creepy Creeps came out with monkey arms swingin’ in full white suits, dedicating their second song to the scat-happy Young Lions.

And then there were this year's Best Rock winners the Schizophonics, who added a third song to their set in honor of the legendary and recently deceased Chuck Berry. It ended with a literal bang as Brian Reilly thrashed his red bass guitar against the stage again and again until pieces shattered offstage and into the crowd. Immediately thereafter, local artist Birdy Bardot (who had been dancing in the front row) fell to the ground, injured. The show took pause as she regained composure, stood up, and walked from the floor with the assistance of security staffers. UPDATE: Birdy Bardot went to the hospital overnight to get checked out and was cleared to leave after being seen by medical staff.

Several weeks after the event, organizer Kevin Hellman told SoundDiego that the event had raised $19,512 to help pay for guitars for local schools, a donation done in collaboration with the folks from Taylor Guitars --Ed.

Without further ado, here’s the full list of winners:

Best New Artist

Best Country or Americana
The Moves Collective

Best Local Recording
Sure Fire Soul Ensemble - “Out of the Coast”

Best Pop
Sister Speak

Best Indie/Alternative Album
The Verigolds - “For Margaret”

Best Singer-Songwriter
Tolan Shaw

Best Pop or Rock Album
The Donkeys - “Midnight Palms”

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album
The KneeHighs - “We Put the Fun in Dysfunctional”

Best World Music
Tribal Theory

Best Hip-Hop/Rap
Lyrical Groove

Best Country or Americana
Trouble in the Wind - “Lefty”

Best Indie/Alternative
The Bassics

Best Jazz
Gilbert Castellanos

Best Blues Album
John Meeks - “On a Sea Darkly”

Best Rock

Best World Music Album
Hirie - “Wandering Soul”

Best Blues
Whitney Shay

Best Jazz Album
Nathan Hubbard - “Furiously Dreaming”

Best Live Performer
Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact

Song of the Year
Switchfoot - “Float”

Album of the Year
Andra Day - “Cheers to the Fall”

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