2015 Best of the Beat Awards: Winners

The Best of the Beat Awards, honoring Louisiana musicians, were held on January 21 at Generations Hall. Nominees in over 50 categories attended, not only hoping to be recognized for their work in 2015, but to join in the celebration. As our readers may know, the Best of the Beat Awards started as a private party for the Louisiana music community. Although we now sell tickets to the general public, the party is for Louisiana musicians.

Jon Cleary, Go Go Juice, album coverThe big winner of the evening was Jon Cleary, who captured four awards: Artist of the Year; Songwriter of the Year (named now for the late, great Allen Toussaint); Song of the Year, for “Boneyard”; and Best Piano/Keyboardist. Hopefully this will signal Recording Academy members to give a nod to Jon Cleary’s album GoGo Juice, which is nominated for a Grammy award.

The evening included performances by Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters (who took home two awards, Best Blues Artist and Best Guitarist); the Young Fellaz Brass Band; ROAR!; Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars; A Tribute to Allen Toussaint featuring Tony Hall, Cyril Neville, Davell Crawford and David Torkanowsky; and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes paying homage to the Radiators; plus an after-party featuring Quickie Mart, Klutch and C-LaB.

Many of the city’s finest restaurants, including Barcadia, Bratz Y’all, Bittersweet Confections, Gumbo Shop, Custom Catering, Dat Dog, Fulton Alley, Creole Cuisine Concepts, Restaurant Rebirth, Praline Connection, Nola Foods & Whoodoo BBQ, The Norwegian Seaman’s Church, Whole Foods, Purloo, Milkfish, Belize, Susan Spicer’s Mondo and Tee-Eva’s served up a grand smorgasbord of Louisiana favorites.

Once again, this year’s award trophies were designed by Louisiana glass artist Ginger Kelly. Ginger is a glass-blower and giftware designer.

The Best of the Beat Awards are presented by the OffBeat Music and Cultural Arts Foundation. The Foundation was developed to create opportunities that support Louisiana artists in leading sustainable creative lives. The OffBeat Music and Cultural Arts Foundation merges education, advocacy, community engagement and creative collaboration to foster and uplift Louisiana music, arts and culture.


And without further ado…


Artist of the Year

Jon Cleary


Album of the Year

Galactic: Into the Deep (Provogue)


Best Emerging Artist

New Breed Brass Band


Song of the Year

“Boneyard” by Jon Cleary


Best Blues Performer

Walter “Wolfman” Washington


Best Blues Album

Sonny Landreth: Bound by the Blues (Provogue)


Best R&B/Funk Artist

George Porter Jr.


Best R&B/Funk Album

George Porter Jr.: It’s Time to Funk (Independent)


Best Rock Artist

The Revivalists


Best Rock Album

The Revivalists: Men Amongst Mountains (Wind-up)


Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist



Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album/Mixtape

Lil Wayne: Sorry 4 The Wait 2 (Be Music)


Best Bounce Artist

Big Freedia


Best Traditional Jazz Artist

Kermit Ruffins


Best Traditional Jazz Album

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers: #imsoneworleans (Basin Street Records)


Best Contemporary Jazz Artist

Terence Blanchard


Best Contemporary Jazz Album

Terence Blanchard: Breathless (Blue Note)


Best Brass Band

Rebirth Brass Band


Best Cajun Artist

Steve Riley


Best Cajun Album

Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys: Voyageurs (Independent)


Best Zydeco Artist

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers


Best Zydeco Album

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers: Calling Your Name (Sound of New Orleans)


Best Roots Rock Artist

Papa Mali


Best Roots Rock Album

Papa Mali: Music Is Love (429 Records)


Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Artist

Kristin Diable


Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album

Kristin Diable: Create Your Own Mythology (Speakeasy Records / Thirty Tigers)


Best Gospel

McDonogh #35 High School Gospel Choir


Best Cover Band

Bucktown All-Stars


Allen Toussaint Songwriter of the Year

Jon Cleary


Best Female Vocalist

Susan Cowsill


Best Male Vocalist

John Boutté


Best Bass Player

George Porter Jr.


Best Guitarist

Walter “Wolfman” Washington


Best Drummer

Stanton Moore


Best Saxophonist

Donald Harrison


Best Clarinetist

Dr. Michael White


Best Trumpeter

Kermit Ruffins


Best Trombonist

Troy Andrews


Best Tuba/Sousaphonist

Matt Perrine


Best Piano/Keyboardist

Jon Cleary


Best Accordionist

Steve Riley


Best Violin/Fiddle Player

Amanda Shaw


Best DJ

DJ Soul Sister


Best Other Instrument

Johnny Sansone (Harmonica)


Best Music Video

Jermaine Quiz, Director, for “That’s It!” Lyrics Born featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band


Best Club

Chickie Wah Wah


Best Radio Station



Best Large Festival

French Quarter Festival


Best Festival Outside New Orleans

Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival


Best Neighborhood Festival

Bayou Boogaloo


Best Recording Studio

The Parlor Recording Studio


Record Label of the Year

Louisiana Red Hot Records


Producer of the Year

Eric Heigle


Best Record Store

Louisiana Music Factory


Best Instrument Store

C & M Music Centers


Best Studio Sound Engineer

Chris Finney


Best Booking Agency

White Oak


Best Manager

Adam Shipley (Hep Cat Entertainment)


Best Music Attorney

Ashlye M. Keaton


Best Club Owner or Manager

Dale Triguero, Chickie Wah Wah


Best Concert Promoter

Scott Aiges, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation


Bourbon Street Award

Earl Bernhardt and Pam Fortner (Tropical Isle)


Musician Resource Award

Tipitina’s Music Office Co-Op


Best Use of Music or Musician in Local Advertising

City Park and Peter A. Mayer Advertising for “#iheartcitypark”


Music Business of the Year

Center Staging


Community Music Award

Trombone Shorty Foundation