Syracuse Area Music Awards draws local crowd

Artists and fans gather to celebrate local music.

Crowds shuffled through the doors of the Palace Theatre Friday night to celebrate the annual Syracuse Area Music Awards. 

Walking into the venue was like walking into a house party; everyone was smiling, chatting, laughing and drinking together.  The salty smell of popcorn floated in the air as people walked around the foyer grabbing beers and greeting friends in the aisles of the theatre.

Every year since 1993, the Syracuse music community comes together to honor the work of local artists.  The SAMMYS Award Show has become an integral event in the Central New York music scene, inspiring musicians and fans to come together to celebrate the work of their peers. 

“The SAMMYS help encourage people to better their craft,” said Debbie Foley, a member of the SAMMYS committee.  “We don't just give them out to everybody, so artists really need to hone their skills and be good.”

At the event it was obvious to see how much the musicians and fans support one another. The paparazzi were everywhere with people constantly snapping photos, trying to capture every moment of the evening.  When the lights dimmed at 7 p.m. to start the awards show people still lingered in the foyer and in the aisles, but when the SAMMYS Hall of Fame Inductees walked out on stage, the crowd turned their focus to the show and collectively cheered for the 2016 inductees. 

After honoring the new Hall of Fame musicians, awards were presented in 11 different categories.

2016 SAMMY Award Winners

  • Best Pop: Elizabeth Canino 
  • Best Country: Lonnie Park
  • Best Jazz: Andrew Carroll
  • Best Hip Hop or Rap: Mafiosa
  • Best Americana: Early Bird Trio
  • Best Alternative: Professional Victims
  • Best Rock: Joe Whiting
  • Best Hard Rock: After Earth
  • Best Jam Band: Jam Factor
  • Best Folk Austin MacRae
  • Best Other Style: Josh Dekaney
  • Brian Bourke Award for Best New Artist: The Lightkeepers

Receiving a SAMMY award is a big honor, Elizabeth Canino said.  Canino won the SAMMY for Best Pop album for her record Mercy.  Last year Canino was featured on an album that was nominated for a 2015 SAMMY Award. She said going to the award show and seeing all the great talent motivated her to produce the album Mercy.

“Last year, I said I would put something out on my own,” Canino said.  “So I worked hard, got nominated and won.”

In between handing out awards, local bands like the Carolyn Kelly Blues Band, Ohne-ká and the Burning River, the SAMMY Hall of Fame Inductee Savoy band, Joe Driscoll and another SAMMY Hall of Fame band Jam Factory took the stage to perform. 

The Carolyn Kelly Blues Band was the first performance of the night to capture the audience’s attention, but it wasn’t until Joe Driscoll step in front of the microphone that people started to stand up and dance at the foot of the stage.  Driscoll said he was proud to see so many people out supporting Syracuse music.

“The fans are what makes the music scene so vibrant here even though we are from a town that’s so small,” he said.

The winners of the Brian Bourke Award for Best New Artist were The Lightkeepers. Similarly, to Driscoll, The Lightkeepers said the fans help cultivate a better environment for local musicians. 

“Syracuse has the most outstanding music scene,” The Lightkeepers said.  “Get out there and support it.”

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.