Music Showcase, Take Three

Nominated in Rock/Pop

If you're hoping to unearth a scandal in the nominating procedure for the Westword Music Awards Showcase, here's one that looks really bad: Marty Jones, who is both a Westword contributing writer and part of the Showcase's nominating committee, admits to voting for his own group, the roots-and-country band Marty Jones and the Pork Boilin' Po' Boys (Jones, guitarist Chuck Cuthill, multi-instrumentalist Dario Tuccarelli and drummer Eric Baker). But before you alert Kenneth Starr to this situation, you should know that Jones's vote played no part in their being recognized, since they were among the top ten vote-getters in any category. Much of the credit for this should be laid at the doorstep of Jones, who finds time to compose songs and play guitar, washtub and harmonica when not penning articles for this very publication and serving as the beer columnist for the impending Denver Sidewalk, an Internet service. Right now, the Boys are in the midst of completing a CD with the assistance of (surprise, surprise) Bob Ferbrache; in addition to originals by Jones, Tuccarelli and Cuthill, it will sport a hillbilly cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." With luck, the project will reach fruition in October, giving more people than ever a chance to compare Jones's physical voice with the one they no doubt hear in their heads as they read his reviews and artist profiles. "One thing that writing about music has reinforced in me is the idea that the best music doesn't come from major labels or Fiddler's Green," he says. "It comes from bars, local dives and the basements of people from the community who make music because it makes them and others happy. Money has very little to do with it."

Nominated in Country/Bluegrass
7:15 p.m. Blake Street Baseball Club

Rude One's Money Making Scheme, the first CD by Judge Roughneck, is doing its job by entertaining fans even as it exposes others to the joys inherent in the group's ska sound. "We've already sold out the CD's first pressing," says trumpeter Rolf Reitzig, who makes beautiful music with vocalist Byron Shaw (former leader of the Jonez), bassist Kyle Jones, saxophonist Jon Hegel, guitarist Chris Reidy and drummer Scott Seiver. "And we haven't even fired up our national distribution yet." Moon Ska, a ska-oriented distributor partially owned by members of the Toasters, is preparing to deliver Scheme to stores nationwide in October, around the same time that the Roughnecks are appearing at North by Northwest, a music conference based in Portland, Oregon. There's also talk of an industry showcase in Los Angeles, but plans for that have yet to be firmed up. However, A&R types who do check out the band will discover that Judge Roughneck has plenty of ideas about future recordings. "We may put out another disc soon," Reitzig reveals. "We've had the itch to do an old-school EP with four or five classic tunes, just for the fun of it." That's apropos, since having fun has been the musicians' goal from the start. Judge Roughneck began as something for Shaw to do while he prepared his solo album, but it's taken on a life of its own--and Reitzig is glad it has. "We're getting great feedback from everybody. And we're having a really good time."

Nominated in Reggae/Ska
11:15 p.m. Blake Street Baseball Club

Lonesome Dan Kase hasn't been nearly as lonesome as he expected to be when he moved to Denver three years ago: He's attracted a sizable fan base with his old-fashioned approach to the blues. "I do some of my own stuff, but mostly I do traditional blues," he says. "They're not really covers in a sense, because that's what the original blues guys did. They took the same songs and intertwined them and made them their own. That's what I'm trying to do--maybe with less originality than them, but I'm doing my best." For someone in his early twenties, he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of worthy precursors such as Robert Johnson and Blind Blake, and he sees no reason to fiddle too much with what they did. "It's kind of rough music. The words, the music and everything about it is rough, and that's the way it's supposed to be. It loses its roots if it gets too polished. Once the edge is gone, the heart goes with it. And you can't fake the edge. There's an ego thing in a certain style of blues, where people get a big head and try to play as loud and as fast as they can. But the blues was always slow music. If you play it too fast, it becomes rock, and that's not what I'm interested in." Blues aficionados in the area recognize Kase for the talent he is, but he responds to their compliments with becoming modesty. "I'm a young guy, and my whole life and my whole career is still down the road. So I've got time to get better. I'd just like to be able to give people some good blues music instead of all the crap that seems to be out there."

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