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The 39th Annual Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards (WAMIs)

Subtitle:  Amazing Talent on Display at the 2019 WAMIs

Written and photographed by Brooke Billick

The Wisconsin Area Music Industry announced the winners of its 2019 WAMI Awards Sunday night, April 14, at a ceremony at Turner Hall in Milwaukee.  This year’s awards, representing the 39th annual awards selection, celebrated the depth and diversity of the Wisconsin music industry.

The Wisconsin Area Music Industry was founded in order “to educate and recognize the achievements and accomplishments of individuals in the Wisconsin music industry.”  The organization is best known for its annual awards for Wisconsin musicians from various genres of music. It also hosts seminars and workshops on subjects related to music and the music industry, such as performing, recording, and marketing.

Milwaukee-area artists were well represented and received a number of awards, with singer Lex Allen winning Artist of the Year.

Three inductees into the WAMI Hall of Fame inductees included Paul Cebar, the vocal group The Chordettes, and the metal band Realm.

Paul Cebar has been a stalwart on the Milwaukee scene for decades, first as a solo performer and later with The R&B Cadets and his bands The Milwaukeeans and Tomorrow Sound.

The Sheboygan vocal quartet, The Chordettes, charted big in the 1950s with songs like “Mr. Sandman” and “Lollipop.”  The WhiskeyBelles provided the musical tribute to The Chordettes.

Milwaukee progressive thrash metal band Realm was active in the 1980s and early ’90s, having released two albums and touring the nation.

A touching part of the evening involved a remembrance of the Wisconsin music talents who left us during 2018, including R&B singer-songwriter, producer and bandleader Harvey Scales, widely regarded as Milwaukee’s Godfather of Soul.  Among his many other accomplishments, Scales co-wrote “Disco Lady,” which was the first platinum single in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Performances were given at the awards ceremony by 2019 WAMI Hall of Fame Inductees Paul Cebar and Realm, Conniption, The WhiskeyBelles, 2019 WAMI Artist of the Year Lex Allen, Ifdakar, Geoff Landon, Black Belt Theater and The Seven Sounds—A Tribute to Harvey Scales.

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Crowd favorite and 2019 WAMI Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Cebar performing for the audience.

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The WhiskeyBelles performing their tribute to 2019 WAMI Hall of Fame Inductees, The Chordettes.

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2019 WAMI Hall of Fame Inductees Realm exploding on the stage.

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2019 WAMI Artist of the Year Lex Allen crooning to the crowd.

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R&B and soul artists, The Seven Sounds, playing their tribute to founder and WAMI Hall of Fame Member Harvey Scales.

Many of the performers honored during the evening gave acceptance speeches.

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2019 WAMI Master of Ceremonies Len Nelson.

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Paul Cebar accepting the award for his induction to the 2019 WAMI Hall of Fame.

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Beth Kille introducing the 2019 WAMI Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Artist of the Year awards.

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Lex Allen accepting the award for 2019 WAMI Artist of the Year.

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Accepting the 2019 WAMI Album of the Year for Women at War: Warrior Songs Vol. 2.  Warrior Songs is a charitable organization dedicated to helping veterans heal from the wounds of service through music and the creative arts.

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Milwaukee jazz legend Janet Plante (Janet Planet) awarding the 2019 WAMI Jazz Artist and Singer-Songwriter of the Year awards.

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Keith Pulvermacher accepting the award as Singer-Songwriter of the Year and dedicating the award to his father, Jeffery Pulvermacher, who recently passed away.  For a Shutter 16 article about Keith, click here.

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Amberstein accepting the award as 2019 WAMI Alternative Rock/Rock Artist.

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2019 Folk/Celtic Award winner Reilly.

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Michael Clobes accepting the award as 2019 WAMI Brass/Reeds Artist.

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Revolution X accepting the award as 2019 WAMI Metal Artist

The complete list of winners is below:

Artist of the Year: Lex Allen

Album of the Year: Warrior Songs – “Women at War: Warrior Songs Vol. 2”

Song of the Year: Amanda Huff and Peter Thomas – “Only in Dreams”

Best New Artist: The Docksiders

Male Vocalist: Andre Beaudot

Female Vocalist: Erin Krebs

Singer-Songwriter: Keith Pulvermacher

Rising Star Award: Parker Collar

Alternative Rock/Rock Artist: Amberstein

Bluegrass/Americana Artist: Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Christian/Gospel Artist: Spirited Strings

Blues Artist: Jay Edward

Country Artist: Buffalo Gospel

Cover Artist: Star Six Nine

Folk/Celtic Artist: Reilly

Hard Rock Artist: Lords of the Trident

Metal Artist: Revolution-X

Punk Artist: The Cherrypops

Jazz Artist: Jerry Grillo

Polka Artist: The November Criminals

Pop Rock Artist: Well-Known Strangers

Hip-Hop/Rap Artist: Zed Kenzo

R&B/Soul Artist: The People Brothers Band

World/Reggae/Ska/Latin: Luma Knotty

Club/DJ/Dance/Electronic Artist: LUXI

Horn/Big Band Artist: Extra Crispy Brass Band

Tribute Artist: Project Pink

Bass: Chris Hanaway

Drummer: Jim Winter

Guitarist: Angie Swan

Keyboard: Noah Harmon

Reeds/Brass: Michael Clobes

Strings: Joe Ketchum

Studio Engineer/Producer: Steve Hamilton

Recording Studio: Tanner-Monagle Inc.

Live Club/Venue: Shank Hall

Live Engineer Sound/Lights: Jason Lueck

President’s Award: Beth Kille

Southwestern Wisconsin People’s Choice Awards

Band: Cherry Pie

Teacher: Jan Baker

Radio Station: WGLX-FM 103.3

Venue: HollyrocksFan: Jaeden Piller

Northwestern Wisconsin People’s Choice Awards

Band: The Dweebs

Teacher: Brian McLaughlin

Radio Station: WIFC-FM 95.5

Venue: Schuggy’s

Fan: Leanne Booher

Northeastern Wisconsin People’s Choice Awards

Band: RPM

Teacher: Mark Budwit

Radio Station: WAPL-FM 105.7

Venue: Stone Toad Bar & Grill

Fan: Doris Budwit

Southeastern Wisconsin People’s Choice Awards

Band: Almighty Vinyl

Teacher: Jim Walski

Radio Station: WHQG-FM 102.9

Venue: The Saloon on Calhoun

Fan: Bradley John

Brooke Billick is based in Milwaukee. By day, he is a mutual fund securities lawyer dealing with scads and scads of arcane laws, regulations and requirements designed to ensure that client assets are handled and invested appropriately. He is almost always willing to help cure someone’s insomnia through careful and lengthy recitations of the intricacies of modern portfolio theory, dollar-cost averaging, supply side economics, the Oxford comma, and similar topics. By night, he happily haunts crowded bars, taverns and music venues featuring live music while pursuing that perfect artist profile or facial expression. Over the past 40 years, Brooke has been actively photographing everything from scenic landscapes and portraits (including his sons, who typically respond to a camera with their middle finger). He has covered singer-songwriters, bands, and music festivals for several years, and feels energized by the passion and talent of the performing artist. Facing the prospect of retirement from full-time employment head on, Brooke looks forward to expanding his photographic opportunities and takes to heart Tom Petty’s advice – “if you don’t run, you rust.” Brooke’s website is perpetually ‘under construction.’ Until that project is completed (probably after he retires), @brookebillickphotography.

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