36th Annual REVIEW Music Awards Set for Sunday, May 15th

Mark Your Calendar for a Gala Evening of Regional Musical Celebration!

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, ,   From Issue 928   By: Robert E Martin

07th April, 2022     0

All of us at  The REVIEW  are extremely pleased and excited to announce that this year’s 36th Annual REVIEW Music Awards Ceremony & Celebration will be returning to the region’s state-of-the-art live performance venue  The VAULT on Sunday, May 15th!  Doors will open at 4:00 PM and the Awards Celebration will run from 5:00 PM until 11:00 PM.

A limited number of 250 tickets are now on sale and also available online through Eventbrite.com by clicking this link.

With two floors,  a 32 foot stage, in-house state-of-the-art sound & light system, over six service bars, and the ability to accommodate over 700 people, we will be able to once again safely conduct this year’s awards ceremony in a socially distanced manner by limiting attendance to 350 attendees.

This annual celebration has evolved over the expanse of three decades into one of our region’s most significant entertainment extravaganzas of the year in which we celebrate and gather to honor the expansive range of musical artistry populating the Great Lakes Bay Region with their creativity and talent.

Since its inception, the Review Music Awards has grown in both stature and recognition throughout the state of Michigan, presenting an exceptional evening where we turn the spotlight on our area’s top musical artists in genres of Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country, Hip-Hop and Alternative music as determined by readers and fans throughout the region.

The nomination and voting for this year’s 2022 Music Awards Celebration was conducted between January & February of this year and a total of 947 musicians & groups in the Great Lakes Bay Region were nominated, which is up significantly from last year’s 584 nominees; with a total of 2,946 people casting their votes in both the nomination and final round of voting.    Only the top five nominees in each division moved on from the nomination round to the final round, where the winners will be announced at this year’s awards celebration.

Invitations for this year’s awards celebration will be going out to nominees around the first part of April and approximately 200 tickets will be available for purchase. In addition to local personalities and guest presenters handing out trophies to the winners of over 60 different categories, guest performers at this year’s 36th Annual REVIEW Music Awards will consist of the following:

• MIZNXN. Singer/Songwriter Kora Nixon, who goes by the stage & professional name of MIZNXN, recorded her debut album of original compositions, titled 1220 with recording engineer Andy Reed in the midst of the Pandemic and has performed only a handful of shows in Saginaw and Bay City.  Her deeply confessional songs resonate with an austere and breathtaking beauty that sets the audience upon a journey to explore and untangle the deepest mysteries pulsating within the recess of her wounded, yet open and inviting heart, as she invites us to accompany her along for the ride.

The Robert Lee Revue.  Legendary award-winning guitarist/songwriter Robert Lee Balderrama (aka Bobby Balderrama) and renowned keyboardist Frank Rodriguez along with the formidable musicianship of Tom Barsheff on saxophone, wife Amy Balderrama on percussion, son Nick Balderrama on Rhythm Guitar, Jack Nash on bass, and Rudolph Levario on drums comprise the Robert Lee Revue - an amazing amalgamation that explores a dynamic range of musical nuance in the realm of ‘Smooth Jazz’. Since their inception the band has made amazing inroads showcasing their artistry and musicianship

Their single Happy & Go Lucky  (released March 18, 2014) peaked at #27 on Mediabase Smooth Jazz Chart and their follow-up "Estrella" (released October 27, 2014) peaked at #82 on Mediabase Smooth Jazz Chart. Most recently Robert’s single Any Moment went all the way to #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Charts. Balderrama and Rodriguez are also founding members of Question Mark and the Mysterians, whose song "96 Tears" topped the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for week ending October 29th, 1966, and continues to be played a myriad of times on Classic Rock radio, as well as other crossover formats.

• Odd Shaped Puzzle. With a new album of original material titled Odd Shaped Puzzle and armed with a fresh alliance of talent to render it, musician Aaron Johnson has created one of the most impressive and engaging listening experiences to emerge out of the local, regional, and national musical scenes over the past 18 months.  Johnson played lead guitar and was front-line vocalist with the band Sprout and the Orange for over 20 years. During that time he also maintained a solo career while doing performances with dozens of musicians across Michigan and has consistently won over the years several Review Music Awards, including Most Innovative Artist and Best Guitar Player.

Enlisting the talent of drummer Erik Friday and Justin Mangutz on bass, along with Barbarossa Brothers keyboardist Loren Kranz, with his newest outing Johnson has crafted together an amazing musical synergy with divergent tempos and textures - pieces of a puzzle that all  fit together to form an impressively breathtaking musical experience.

• Carrie Westbay & Limelight.  Carrie Westbay and her band Limelight, which features Thomas Rose (lead guitar), Pat Manke (bass), and John Kissel on drums, create and perform both classic and original Rock Music, Blues, and Americana with an edge. This year she released her new album, Nostalgia, which has earned rave reviews.  Known for her gritty and passionate original material coupled with faithful renditions of roadhouse favorites that she makes her own through claiming the layers of life’s experiences that have colored the texture of her powerful voice and focused her musical sensibilities, Carrie is a true ‘Journeywoman’ who works the four corners of Michigan.

• The Rhett Yocom Blues Band.  Rhett Yocom started playing guitar at age 15 when he got his first guitar from Larry McCray. Having spent many hours with his grandparents, he grew to love the sounds of the ‘50s and ‘60s. But after hearing the Blues, he knew what he wanted to do. Featuring James Marcet on Bass, Denny Fisk on keyboards, and Scott Causley on Drums. The group was voted Best Blues Band at last year’s 2021 REVIEW Music Awards and in 2020 Yocom was voted ‘Best Instrumentalist’ and ‘Best Vocalist’.

• Loxodon.  Founded in 2018, Loxodon has quickly gained a foothold in the thriving Midwest music scene by providing their brand of old-is-new, new-is-no-limits rock fusion to audiences who have been starving for a hero to fill a void in an otherwise bleak cookie cutter musical landscape. With influences drawn from the well of vibrant and technical prog rockers such as Rush to the often more sentimental leanings of The Beatles to the driving hooks and harmonies of Queen, the band maintains a sound that is somehow familiar, yet fresh and exciting to every audience they perform for.

Singer/guitarist Monty Day states, “Loxodon isn’t a band that stays still musically for very long.” Rounding out the remainder of Loxodon’s lineup is Joe Neminski on drums, bassist Rhett Yocom, and keyboardist Colton Ray. All four members are seasoned veterans in their respective music communities with the scars to prove it. Through their passion for the music as well as their bond with each other as a thriving bombastic musical juggernaut, Loxodon is poised to become the next reference point for other bands walking in their heavy footprints.

• We, the Infamous. Originating as the brainchild of frontman and guitarist William Patrick [Hystad] and Keyboardist Keenan J. Smith, who also serves as the band’s chief engineer, in the late summer of 2017, the pair had just left a different project and resolved to start anew. The  band soon added Deshawn ‘Spoon’ Witherspoon on Bass and Anthony ‘Tony B’ Burkhart on drums and the fire was ignited.

The four piece would soon start playing shows locally and opening up regionally for some bigger names across Michigan blending a heady mix of Blues-infused Rock ‘n’ Roll, Soul, Funk, and Hard Rock. Their influences include names like Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Bros, Otis Redding, The Black Crowes, and newer artists like Highly Suspect, MGMT, and The Marcus King Band. Since their inception they have recorded 2 Studio EPs, an unreleased full-length album and the band began recording a new studio LP in the winter/spring of 2022. You can expect a lot of new unreleased material and a classic cover or two from Saginaw’s We, The Infamous during this year’s performance at The 36th Annual Review Music Awards!

Tickets will be only $15.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door, or you can purchase a table of six tickets for $70.00. 

Tickets will be available at these fine establishments:

SAGINAW:  Review Magazine • White’s Bar • Records & Tapes Galore • Oppermann’s Cork & Ale • The Listening Room • The Vault • The Old Town Junction

BAY CITY:  Electric Kitsch • Herter Music  • Puff Dispensary • Voodoo Tattoo

MIDLAND: Lil’ Bighorn Music • Radio Wasteland • Tim Boychuck’s State Farm Insurance




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