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Winners & Recap of the 31st Annual Review Music Awards Celebration

    icon May 11, 2017
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REVIEW Magazine presented their 31st Annual Music Awards Celebration on April 23rd at Lumber Baron's Genevieve Ballroom in Bay City the evening of April 23rd and honored 61 different artists that have enriched the cultural climate throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. With a total of 4,288 votes cast by the general public between January & March of this year and a total of 546 artists nominated from the region, the top five nominees in each division moved to a final round of voting and the winners were honored at this special annual celebration.

With an evening full of unexpected surprises and incredible guest performances, big winners of the evening included the new Hip-Hop group BXG5 who walked away with seven trophies (including Best New Artist of the Year and Best CD Release; Andy Reed, who secured six honors both individual and with his band The Legal Matters; Tweed & Dixie, who walked away with four trophies; and Carrie Westbay, who picked up three honors for Best Female Rock Vocalist, Best Rock Songwriter, and Best Rock Band with her group The Westward Sons.

On a more personal note, I sincerely wish to thank Andrew Kostrzewa, Donny Brown and Michael Brush for one of the biggest surprises of the evening, which was when the ceremony was unexpectedly interrupted in order for them to present a special commendation to me from both The State of Michigan and The City of Saginaw for my endeavors with staging the Review Music Awards over the past three decades.

As the publisher & editor of The Review, over the years I have always refrained from placing myself in the spotlight within these pages largely because of my strong sense of journalistic propriety, but there are exceptions to every rule; and in this instance I wish to share this special commendation with our readers, insofar as it was one of the evening’s highlights and an honor that I find totally humbling:

State of Michigan Special Tribute to Robert ‘Bob’ Martin

LET IT BE KNOWN, that it is with deep appreciation of the significance of this milestone that we commend Robert ‘Bob’ Martin for his contributions in preserving and enriching music and the arts within the community of Saginaw, Michigan.  Throughout the course of his full life, Bob Martin has freely given his time and worked to make Saginaw a better place for his family and the families of others. We are proud to recognize the important role that he has played in contributing to both the economic well-being and the artistic heritage of the region.

Since its founding in Saginaw in 1979, the Bay Area Review Magazine has become a vital element in recognizing and promoting Michigan artists and musicians. The bi-weekly publication covers local music, art, and the people and personalities who create it. Bob Martin’s success in creating a magazine that has continued to flourish in the digital age exemplifies a level of dedication and innovation that is worthy of praise.

In looking back over 38 years of the Bay Area Review Magazine’s history, it is clear that this publication has set its course with a continuing look to the future. Not only has the magazine become a staple of the Great Lakes Bay Region, but the annual Review Music Awards are anticipated by all members of the artistic community. We are proud to applaud the veracity and commitment of Robert Martin to promoting the arts at the 31st such annual Review Music Awards.

IN SPECIAL TRIBUTE, Therefore, This document is signed and dedicated to commemorate the contribution of Robert Martin. We salute him on this happy occasion and wish him and his family well in the years to come.

Signed: Vanessa Guerra, State Representative • 95th District / Kenneth B. Horn • State Senator 32nd District / Rick Snyder • Governor

I started the first music awards ceremony at the age of 31; and realized the night of the celebration when this commendation was being read to me that now at the age of 62, I have been doing this half my life.

Time flies fast, but I am eternally grateful for all the remarkable friendships that I have been able to establish over the expanse of these past three decades throughout the musical community.

When you love what you do, it's never work. And our talents, regardless of age or experience, are always in their infancy. As Keith Richards once put it: 'All of us grow older, but the key is to never grow up.’

And now, without further ado, here is a breakdown of the winners in all categories ranging from Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, and numerous Miscellaneous categories.  We also hope you enjoy the in-depth profiles we offer in this Special Music Awards edition of The Review; and look forward for more winner profiles throughout the upcoming weeks ahead.


Best Radio Station • JOE FM

Best Metal Band • Cruthu

Best Recording Studio • Reed Recording Studio

Best Alternative Band • The Barbarossa Brothers

Best Duo • Rick Maida & Tony Furlo - The Rick-Tones

Best Concert/Album or Project • Hell's Half Mile Indie Music Showcases

Best Music Festival • Sanford Parkapalooza

Best Original Band • Tweed & Dixie

Best Sound Technician • Carey Limberg

Best Videographer • Matt Giddings

Best Waitress • Angela Box

Best Bartender • Danielle at Bus Stop

Best Music Video • The Legal Matters - "I'm Sorry Love"

Best Variety Band • Avenue 5

Most Innovative Artist • Andy Reed

Best Live Event of the Year • Legal Matters at the State Theater

Best New Artist of the Year • BxG5

Best Folk Band or Duo • Michael Robertson and the Broken Hearted Saviors

Best Band Website • Tweed and Dixie

Best Solo Artist • Andy Reed

Best CD Release • BxG5 - A Haunting In Saginaw


Best Rock Video • The Legal Matters - Anything

Rock Keyboardist • Noel Howland

Rock Drummer • Justin Clifford

Best Male Vocalist • Mike LaVigne - Unsheltered

Female Rock Vocalist • Carrie Westbay

Favorite Rock Club • Bemo's

Rock Guitarist • Scott Van Dell

Rock Bassist • Joe Balbaugh

Best Rock Band • Carrie & the Westward Sons

Best Rock Songwriter • Carrie Westbay

Rap/Hip Hop

Best Rap/Hip Hop Video • Mike Spitz - Record Keep Spinning

Best Mixtape / Release • BxG5 (STRAIGHT OUT THE VAULT VOL.1)

Best Promoter • Prince Entertainment

Best Performer • BxG5

Best Producer • SP

Best DJ • Mary Thomas Aka: MaryOkeKaraoke

Rap/Hip Hop Artist of the Year • BxG5

Best Rap/Hip Hop Songwriter • BxG5


Best Country Video • Her Taillights by Steve Armstrong and the 25 Cent Beer Band

Country Male Vocalist • Steve Armstrong

Best Country Musician • Mike Robertson

Favorite Country Club • Wil Lew Lounge

Country Female Vocalist • Mandi Layne

Best Country Band • Tweed and Dixie

Country Songwriter • Greg Kevorkian and Mandi Layne


Best Male Jazz Vocalist • Michael Brush

Female Jazz Vocalist • Monique Ella Rose

Favorite Jazz Club • Brooklyn Boyz

Best Big Band • 23 North Band

Jazz Songwriter • Michael Brush

Best Jazz Instrumentalist • Scott Van Dell

Best Small Combo • The Straight Eights


Best Funk Band • Soul Xpress

Best Blues Band • Larry McCray

Blues Instrumentalist • Bob Hausler

Blues Songwriter • Larry McCray

Favorite Blues Club • Scotty's Sand Bar

Female Blues Vocalist • Mel Curry

Male Blues Vocalist • Bob Charlebois

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