More than 20 regional acts will perform during the Feb. 24 celebration at the Intersection. Get details, a link to public voting from a list of award nominees and reaction from some performers at Local Spins.
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Traditionally, February has always been “Jammies Month.”
But forced to take a hiatus due to the COVID pandemic and then returning as an early summer event last year, the long-running annual Jammie Awards show hosted by Grand Rapids community radio station WYCE (88.1 FM) hasn’t quite been the same since early 2020.
That’s why the Feb. 24 extravaganza set for The Intersection has generated a buzz amid the region’s music scene, with more than 20 Michigan bands and solo artists set to perform on three stages and awards presented for best album and artist of the year, among other things.
The public can vote for best album and artist as part of the listeners’ choice awards online here, where you can also see a full list of this year’s nominees. More than 80 recordings are up for album of the year. The Feb. 24 event also collects donations for WYCE and Feeding America.
Nathan Walton & The Remedy, Elijah Russ, La Furia Del Ritmo, Myron Elkins, Sarena Rae, Sixman, Cal in Red, Cole Hansen, The B-Sides, Jetty Rae, Grace Theisen, The American Hotel System and more regional acts will fire up what’s billed as “West Michigan’s biggest night for music.”
Also performing that night will be Fake Baseball, Ficus, Low Phase, Moss Manor (a new band being featured later this week by Local Spins), Normal Mode, Rosewood 2055, Silent Spirit and Whorled.
“Being nominated in several categories by our peers is an honor, but playing the Jammies is so special to us,” said Nathan Walton, whose soulful rock band released two highly praised studio albums in 2022.
“It was a goal of ours to be part of the Jammies with these releases and we are very grateful for the nominations. It’s great to see the community come full circle back to live shows after a long and unwanted pause.”
Kalamazoo singer-songwriter Grace Theisen said being nominated and asked to perform at the Jammies is “honestly insane” noting that she’s only been part of West Michigan’s music scene since 2021.
“it’s been mind-blowing to me to see how kind, welcoming and receptive everyone has been,” said Theisen, who released an EP last year and just dropped a new single.
WYCE Music and Program Director Shane German said awards will be presented in 16 categories – from hip hop to electronic music to blues/soul. For the second year, the nonprofit Michigan Music Alliance — whose theme is “collaboration over competition” — will partner with WYCE to present the Ovation Awards, honoring those who contribute to the region’s robust music scene.
Local Spins will also once again present its Emerging Artist of the Year Award, given to a Michigan artist making an impact on the scene and showing tremendous upside potential.
PERFORMERS REACT TO PLAYING ‘THE PREMIER MUSIC EVENT OF THE SEASON’
“After being dark for two years due to the pandemic, we’re thrilled to welcome the Jammies back to its original February timeline,” German said.
“This allows for musicians and audiences to have better availability to participate when things are a little slower in the winter months, making this the premier music event of the season.”
The all-ages Jammie Awards show starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at The Intersection, with a suggested $5 donation at the door to WYCE. Feeding America West Michigan will also collect donations of canned food that evening.
Here’s what some of the performers/nominees are saying about the return of the Jammies:
• Elijah Russ (Grand Rapids): “It feels really great to be recognized by the community for the work I’ve put into my creative endeavors. The Jammies feel like a rite of passage for West Michigan musicians and it’s an honor to be considered. I understand the sets that evening will be short, so we’re planning on turning up to 11 for as long as we can and playing some of the heavier hitting tunes from ‘Sandcastles’ and rock versions of tunes from ‘Wandering.’”
• Jetty Rae (Charlevoix): “Whenever anyone reaches out to invite me to share my music, I am always honored. it makes it even more of an honor because there are so many talented musicians in my region. I’m thankful for the recognition on the heels of my latest release ‘Time Traveler.’ I have a suspicion that the invitation (to perform) is largely based on the response from that album, and that is humbling and very gratifying that ‘Time Traveler’ went out and made some small ripples. I am so excited to be taking my audience on a journey through ‘Time Traveler,’ which is up for best contemporary folk album. I am hoping to rope in a few other musicians to play with me, and my audience can expect my usual brand of candid vulnerability and story-telling.”
• Jimaine Darnell Wilson, aka Sixman (Grand Rapids/Atlanta): “This is my first ever Jammie Awards so this is very exciting for me. I’ve always wanted to play at The Jammies and The Intersection. This will be a night to remember for sure. Fans can expect a high-energy set. I’ll be also celebrating hip hop turning 50 this year, so my set will make you feel hip hop in a regard to when you maybe first fell in love with a type of hip-hop sound. I may have a special guest surprise as well/”
• Jacob Betts, The American Hotel System (Grand Rapids): “The American Hotel System is honored to be playing the Jammies alongside such incredible acts from the Michigan music scene. WYCE showcases such diverse talent and it is a privilege to share the stage with so many names that we’re fans of. We’re hoping to celebrate the night by playing all of our heavy hitters at the awards show. We’re looking forward to rocking out with everyone and celebrating the Michigan music scene with all who attend.”
• Tommy Schichtel, The B-Sides (Grand Rapids): “It’ll probably feel surreal. Live music in general feels a bit surreal to me. Honored to be part of it. WYCE is such an important cog in our music community and the state. Our drummer, Pete Curry, also plays in national touring bands (Nick Lowe), so the gigs are more happenstance. We’re using a friend of ours, Michael Houseman, from Lost System for the Jammies. We’ll hit a few songs from our two recordings, maybe even a FUZZrites track. We’re all big Jeff Beck fans so I’m thinking there might be a cover in there as well.”
• Thom Jayne, Whorled (Belmont, Hudsonville): “WYCE is a much-appreciated public service that helps Michigan musicians and their music connect to the local community. So, we were geeked when WYCE invited us to play at the Jammies. We plan to lay out Whorled’s signature sound – lively acoustic instrumentals that fuse together different genres. It’s pretty uncategorizable, combining Celtic, jazz, classical, flamenco and bluegrass into our own style.”
• Nathan Walton, Nathan Walton & The Remedy (Grand Rapids): “It allows us to be able to show our support for WYCE and be a part of the fundraising efforts for Feeding America and WYCE. Giving back to the community and participating in social events is a major part of the Remedy’s purpose. People can expect a high-energy, fun, engaging set from us.”
• Grace Theisen (Kalamazoo): “I was not at all expecting to be on the roster of people who got nominations, let alone play. It’s one thing for people to say ‘collaboration over competition’ but it’s a whole other thing to actually see it lived out and that is how I feel the West Michigan music scene has been. It has been incredibly refreshing to be a part of and I just feel extremely grateful for the opportunity. We’ve actually got some new songs we are going to be playing at the Jammies which I am stoked about. I’ve been itching for new music and we finally have had the time to work it out and get it show-ready.”
THE JAMMIES 2023 POSTER
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