Saturday, June 23, 2012

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound honored by American Association of Independent Music

By Gene Wagendorf III

JC Brooks @ Metro (Photo: Caitlin Stich)
Thursday night the American Association of Independent Music capped off its Indie Week in New York by holding the inaugural instalment of The Libera Awards, or "The Libbies." The event celebrated the accomplishments of independent musicians and labels, giving awards in categories like Independent Band and Label of the Year, Road Warrior of the Year (for hardest touring independent musician), along with an Up and Comer Award for "the next independent label superstar."

Local band of soul/blues/post-punk troubadours JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound were up for the latter award, as were Dead Sara, The Dø, Emika, Otherwise and Twin Atlantic. As should be evident by the fact that I'm writing this piece (not to mention the article's title), Brooks and company took home the Up and Comer Award, winning by what one A2IM representative described to me as a "substantial margin." Rather than being picked by a panel of judges, the winner was chosen by members of the eMusic community, a download and discover service that specializes in promoting independent artists. I suppose now we can now add "People's Champion" to the long list of accolades and praise the band has been garnering of late.

Aside from the lingering buzz around The Uptown Sound's 2011 release, Want More, the band has developed a reputation for being a killer live act. Hot off of great sets at Metro and Do Division, the group was busy playing Millennium Park's Gospel Fest on the night of the ceremony. Perhaps next year they'll be in the running for that Road Warrior award. Said eMusic Editor-in-Chief J. Edward Keyes, "it's not surprising that JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound were the artists to win this award. While competition was stiff, this group is truly an up and comer to be celebrated." A2IM Vice President Jim Mahoney added that "the fan vote that eMusic created for this category was a perfect compliment to our independent music celebration. We congratulate JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and Bloodshot Records on their win."

We at Windy City Rock would like to extend our congratulations as well, and recommend that you, the people, get out to see your champion play this summer. The band will be preform at FitzGerald's 32nd Annual American Music Festival on June 30th, and also has a highly anticipated set coming up at this year's Lollapalooza.

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