Youngstown Music Awards are coming

Just above this column is an article about the demise of the Marquee Awards, which were like the Tony Awards for Mahoning Valley community theaters.

But in a case of “one thing ends and another one begins,” the inaugural Youngstown Music Awards (the Grammys of the Mahoning Valley?) will be in December.

The YMAs will avoid the angst, grumbling and tantrums that the Marquees spawned by allowing the general public to select the winners via online voting. Of course, that also will make it totally unjuried, and little more than a popularity contest (or a ballot box-stuffing exercise). But it also will keep it loose and with the emphasis on fun, which is the goal.

The website is currently being constructed, according to Michael Kermec, who is spearheading the YMAs.

Youngstown has plenty of bands that make original music, and also a lot of cover bands. Both will be welcome to take part in the YMAs, although in different categories. Country bands, and other genres, also will be part of it.

Kermec is the guitarist in the popular duo Perfect Pair, with vocalist Ashley Miller. He also owns the Brickhouse bar on Midlothian Boulevard, and handles booking for several bands and clubs.

The date and location of the YMA ceremony haven’t been determined yet, but Kermec envisions it on a Sunday night in early December at a large venue. A series of musical showcases with multiple bands will be scheduled this summer as a lead-in to the YMAs.

Rucker raised a ruckus

Darius Rucker meandered between his acoustic-pop roots and his country conversion during his sold-out show at Covelli Centre on Friday.

The easy-going South Carolinian, accompanied by a six-piece band, seamlessly transitioned between the songs of his two eras. Of course, Rucker hasn’t changed at all — just the structure of his songs did.

He mixed in his four biggest Hootie and the Blowfish hits — “Time,” “Let Her Cry,” “Hold My Hand” and “I Only Want to be With You” — with his country tunes. These included “Radio,” “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” “History In the Making” and “Southern State of Mind.”

The evening couldn’t come to an end without his anthemic hit “Wagon Wheel,” which he played as an encore, along with a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

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