Checking in: SAMMIES 2020 winners and nominees

In any normal year, we at SN&R would be in full-on SAMMIES mode, asking readers to vote for their favorite performers and prepping a big event to celebrate the winners.

Unfortunately, the SAMMIES are on hold for 2021, and COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders prevented the big shindig we’d hoped for in 2020 to celebrate the winners.

But if there’s any time we need the comfort of music, it’s now. For the next few weeks, we’ll be checking in on some 2020 SAMMIES nominees and winners and nominees to see how they’ve stayed creative over the last year. Be sure to check out the Bandcamp and Spotify pages of each artist.

JonEmery & The Unconventionals, nominee, Country/Americana/Alt-Country

JonEmery & The Unconventionals

How did you feel about being nominated last year?
It is always a thrill to be recognized for the efforts and work we do to provide entertainment. The SAMMIES are special because all of the bands get excited and talk about wanting to do shows together and wish each other luck.  The camaraderie is definitely heightened in the community during SAMMIES Season.

How have you stayed active/creative during the pandemic?
We have been oddly busier than ever! Our last indoor show was Friday March 13th at Opera House Saloon in Roseville.  That was literally the night before the shut downs.  Since, we have been writing a lot of new material and recording a new EP – Heart Broke Motel – to be released in March.  We have also organized and volunteered for a handful of Live-stream Fundraisers. Our first was for The Torch Club, featured in Comstock Magazine, then we organized one for Submerge Magazine, as Melissa & Jono are good friends of ours. We were asked to be a part of FrankenJam at Harlow’s, and the “Lovable Losers & No Account Boozers” Tribute to Texas Artists that passed in 2020, put on by Bob Waller, with proceeds going to CARE International Covid-19 Response & California Capitol Venue Coalition. If that wasn’t enough, our friends at Burgie’s built a socially distanced mobile stage we used for Blue Note Brewery’s 5 Year Anniversary Celebration.

What have you been listening to lately?
A lot of Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius along with the 30’s Jazz Station, Outlaw Country Station and old Sci-Fi radio dramas, which has lead us to some very interesting musical paths in our newest material.

Check out JonEmery & The Unconventionals’ tribute to 2020, “Hell,” on YoutTube.

Brotherly Mud, winner, Country/Americana/Alt-Country, nominee, New Artist

Brotherly Mud

How did you feel about being nominated last year?
We were satisfied that our hard work paid off and our bleeding-heart songwriting was appreciated by the community. In short, we felt very appreciated and loved by our fans.  

How have you stayed active/creative during the pandemic?
I started the pandemic out with a breakup that sort of wrecked my world. After a few months of hell, I popped out the other side sobered up and stronger than ever, ready to write about it. Some friends and I took a road trip where we wrote poetry and music non-stop, enjoying the beauty of the Mammoth and Yosemite wilderness. Nature and love from our close friends and family ultimately got our band through this. 

What have you been listening to lately?
I have honestly been obsessed with this song ‘Mercy’ that Danny (our electric guitar man) wrote for his solo project called ‘Dellow’. On my road trip, I had just discovered the album ‘Fanfare’ by Jonathan Wilson and the album ‘Poor David’s Almanac’ by David Rawlings. We had those on repeat the whole trip and they will forever remind me of 2020. 

-Seth Grauer

Cities You Wish You Were From, nominee, Rock

Cities You Wish You Were From

How did you feel about being nominated last year? 
Being nominated is always a highlight for us. We believe that Sacramento is absolutely loaded with musical talent, and being included in that conversation is extremely humbling. Given how 2020 went, any good news was more than appreciated. 

How have you stayed active/creative during the pandemic?
It has not been easy! We certainly weren’t alone in feeling the impact of the pandemic as a band (and people), and our priorities shifted. We released a few singles on BandCamp, we did our best to stay active on social media, and we took time to write new music. As painful as it was, we made sure to look back and appreciate the things that we experienced as a band, such as playing Concerts in the Park, opening for Hot Water Music, releasing music videos, and so on. I think having done that reflection, we used that to motivate us to keep going, whatever that looked like. As we all know, the live music scene may be different from here on out, but whatever live music looks like when it’s safe, we’re excited to be a part of it!

What have you been listening to lately?
We’ve been playing a lot of Dad’s Under Where and Band of Coyotes, and recently were introduced to Drifts and Lost Things. Our friend and local Sac music icon Ira Skinner is involved with those projects, and they are both excellent. Also the new Foo Fighters release, and looking forward to Manchester Orchestra’s ‘Million Masks of God’

Listen to Cities You Wish You Were From on Bandcamp

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