Dancing in the dark: flashing a light onto the East Texas Music Awards

Zoe McGhee • Staff Writer

Lee Mathis and the Brutally Handsome. Photo credit: Zoe McGhee

Little Universe drummer Chris Goodson refused to let technical issues phase his performance at the East Texas Music Awards Sunday night, as his drum solo rang through the ears of attendees during the second of three power outages.

“We weren’t expecting the lights to go out at all, let alone three times,” Goodson said. “When they went out a second time, someone actually yelled for a drum solo … I looked at Cam, our guitarist, and he gave me the green light to go for it, and as the old saying goes, ‘the show must go on!’”

According to Goodson, the outages were supposedly due to the majority of stage lights running from the same power source, causing it to overheat multiple times.

“Something that I immediately felt connected to was the absolute diversity of all of the different types of people,” attendee and Athens native Windy Lattis said. “Despite the light issue, this event is really nice, and I think it helps to bridge that gap between people within different types of music.”

The ninth annual East Texas Music Awards was held at The Texan in Athens as an earnest effort to illuminate local creative platforms and artists and overcome the division typically presented by varying genres.

Dressed in attire serving as a tell-all for the type of music they play, individuals were only distinguishable by cowboy hats, kilts, cross chains, combat boots and more. But despite the wardrobe differences, there was an aura of unity within the room, one that could only be described as a unified burning passion for music and sheer potential.

Kadie Lynn. Photo credit: Zoe McGhee

“I have a love of music and appreciate the art of all genres,” Lattis said. “I like to follow local musicians, so this event was super fun. You never know when you might one day be able to say, ‘I saw them in my hometown!’”

Nominees and attendees were entertained with live performances strung throughout the announcement of winners, helping to further illuminate some local bands’ talent and accentuate the existing passion for music within East Texas.

“I felt very honored to even be nominated for this [Best Jazz Group] award,” TJC Apache Jazz Ensemble member and “Best Jazz Group” nominee Jace Thomas said. “The sheer talent of the amount of people here was enormous. Everyone here had a huge love for music and a huge love for the diversity in East Texas.”

Though personalities of the hosts and band performances proved to entertain, Thomas recognized the underlying subtle chaos.

“This event was nothing shy of interesting,” Thomas said with a chuckle. “It was fun, I will say that it was fun. It was eye-opening to see so many talented musicians perform and accept awards. The organization of the event itself could have been exponentially better, but they got the job done.”

Bands that performed included Lee Mathis and the Brutally Handsome, Little Universe, Meredith Crawford, MeatSandal and many more. Hosts Kori Miller, model and motivational speaker, and Kadie Lynn, singer/songwriter, were the primary spokespeople for the evening, providing intermittent witty commentary.

Founder of the East Texas Music Awards Nathan Hunnicut began advocating for East Texas music in 2010, later granting the first-ever awards at the event in 2011.

Since 2011, voting for the East Texas Music Awards has accumulated half a million fan votes over the years, with various sponsors co-presenting awards and connecting with the local musicians.

For more information on future and past ETX music events, visit https://etxmusic.com

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