Johnny Vidacovich is our 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Music winner. Photo by Noe Cugny.

The 2016 Best of the Beat Music Awards Nominees and Tickets

Tickets are on sale now for the January 19 event.

Many of the city’s fine restaurants will be serving food that when the Best of the Beat Music Awards and Party returns to Generations Hall. Last year, 20-plus restaurants served our guests, and we expect a similar number this year, including the Gumbo Shop, Aurora Catering, Tee-Eva’s, Barcadia, Little Gem Saloon, Southern Candymakers, Three Muses, the Norwegian Seamen’s Church,  Whole Foods Market, Bratz Y’all, Delish Mama, Nacho Mama’s, and many more.

The 2016 Best of the Beat Music Awards and Party will feature performances by Valerie Sassyfras; Mia Borders; Soul Brass Band; the Fortifiers featuring Sonny Boy Schneidau; Khris Royal and Dark Matter; Naughty Professor; and of course a tribute to Johnny Vidacovich with special guests.

A brief history:

OffBeat’s annual Best of the Beat Awards started 22 years ago, in 1995. Better Than Ezra was the big winner and took home Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Deluxe and Song of the Year for “Good.”

Over the last 22 years we’ve seen others dominate the awards. For instance, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has been the Artist of the Year a total of seven times, five times in a row from 2010 through 2014.

12108162674_b15634bd0e_oOur Lifetime Achievement Award in music has recognized Aaron Neville, Tommy Ridgley, Dr. John, Earl King, Pete Fountain, Art Neville, Eddie Bo, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Fats Domino, Wardell Quezergue, Bo Dollis, Harold Battiste, Jr., “Deacon John” Moore, Dave Bartholomew, George Porter, Jr., Cyril Neville, Ellis Marsalis and the Radiators, as well as New Orleans R&B legends Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Jean Knight, Frankie Ford, Ernie Vincent, Robert Parker and the Dixie Cups: a Who’s Who of Louisiana artists.

This year we honor drummer extraordinaire Johnny Vidacovich for his Lifetime in Music. 

Our process: We solicited nominations from musicians and others in the music community, for excellence in recordings and performances during 2016. We then gave the results to our writers and editors and with input from both, determined the nominations in each category, keeping in mind that these nominations only recognize work done in 2016.

This year we have instituted a “three-year” nomination policy. If you’ve won a Best of the Beat Award three years in a row in a specific category, you cannot be nominated the fourth year. This year we combined Rap and Hip-Hop with Bounce—that eliminated Big Freedia, who has won the Bounce category four years in a row. We hope that this new policy will recognize other hard-working musicians and give them the opportunity to win a Best of the Beat Award.

The public begins voting on the resulting ballot on December 14. Voting ends on January 4, so make sure to get to it before time runs out.


Sponsors for this year’s Best of the Beat include Positive Vibrations Foundation, Generations Hall, The Orpheum Theater, WWL-TV, WWNO, WYES, the New Orleans Advocate. The event will be broadcast live on WHIV-FM 102.3 the night of the event. Tickets for the Best of the Beat are on sale now. They’ll be $45 the day of the show. We look forward to seeing you there! 

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

Inspired by the work of OffBeat Magazine, which has a robust history contributing to the promotion, visibility and legitimacy of Louisiana’s music and cultural scene, the OMCAF are committed advocates for the preservation of Louisiana culture.

The nominees for this year’s Best of the Beat Music Awards are listed below. You can cast your ballot here.

Artist of the Year

Anders Osborne

Bobby Rush

Lost Bayou Ramblers

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The Revivalists

Album of the Year

Aaron Neville: Apache (Tell It Records)

Allen Toussaint: American Tunes (Nonesuch)

Bobby Rush: Porcupine Meat (Rounder)

Nolatet: Dogs (Royal Potato Family)

Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars: Gulfstream (Octavia Records)

Best Emerging Artist

Alfred Banks

Motel Radio

Renshaw Davies

Sexy Dex and the Fresh

Soul Brass Band

Stoop Kids

Song of the Year

“Gulfstream” by Eric Adcock and Roddie Romero

“Lovely In That Dress” by Sophie Lee Lowry

“No More Crying Today” by Luke Winslow-King

“Stompin’ Ground” by Dave Gutter, Eric Krasno and Aaron Neville

“Wish I Knew You” by David Shaw and Zack Feinberg

Best Blues Performer

Bobby Rush

Kenny Neal

Luke Winslow-King

Sonny Landreth

Walter “Wolfman” Washington

Best Blues Album

Bobby Rush: Porcupine Meat (Rounder)

Dick Deluxe: Turning 61 on Highway 61 (Independent)

Gregg Martinez: Soul of the Bayou (Louisiana Red Hot Records)

Kenny Neal: Bloodline (Cleopatra Blues)

Luke Winslow-King: I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always (Bloodshot Records)

Mike Zito: Make Blues Not War (Ruf Records)

Best R&B/Funk Artist

Corey Henry

Davell Crawford


Naughty Professor

Tank and the Bangas

Best R&B/Funk Album

Aaron Neville: Apache (Tell It Records)

Cha Wa: Funk ’n’ Feathers (UPT)

Corey Henry: Lapeitah (Louisiana Red Hot Records)

Davell Crawford: Piano in the Vaults, Vol. 1 (Basin Street Records)

John “Papa” Gros: River’s on Fire (Uncle Bud’s Music)

Will Porter: Tick Tock Tick (Ace Records)

Best Rock Artist

Alexis & the Samurai

Anders Osborne

Mountain of Wizard

New Orleans Suspects

The Revivalists

Best Rock Album

Anders Osborne: Flower Box (Back on Dumaine)

Brass Bed: In the Yellow Leaf (Modern Outsider)

Mountain of Wizard: Major Waves of Minor Resolve (Independent)

New Orleans Suspects: Kaleidoscoped (Independent)

ROAR!: La-Di-Da (Independent)

Best Rap / Hip-Hop / Bounce Artist

5th Ward Weebie

AF the Naysayer


Nesby Phips

Young Greatness

Best Traditional Jazz Artist

Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns

New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

Panorama Jazz Band

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Tuba Skinny

Best Traditional Jazz Album

Charlie Halloran & the Quality 6: Charlie Halloran & the Quality 6 (Independent)

Leroy Jones: I’m Talkin’ Bout New Orleans (Independent)

Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns: Bad Kids Club (Independent)

Smoking Time Jazz Club: Make a Tadpole Holler Whale (Independent)

Tuba Skinny: Blue Chime Stomp (Independent)

Best Contemporary Jazz Artist

Aurora Nealand

Delfeayo Marsalis

Gregory Agid Quartet

Magnetic Ear


Best Contemporary Jazz Album

Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra: Make America Great Again! (Troubadour Jazz Records)

Gregory Agid Quartet: Words Are Not Enough (Independent)

Herlin Riley: New Direction (Mack Avenue)

Magnetic Ear: Live at Vaughan’s (Independent)

Nolatet: Dogs (Royal Potato Family)

Best Brass Band

Hot 8 Brass Band

New Breed Brass Band

Soul Rebels

To Be Continued Brass Band

Treme Brass Band

Best Cajun Artist

Courtney Granger

Lost Bayou Ramblers

Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars

Steve Riley


Best Cajun Album

Barry Jean Ancelet & Sam Broussard: Broken Promised Land (Swallow Records)

Bruce Daigrepont: Bienvenue Dans le Sud de la Louisiane (Bayou Pon Pon)

Courtney Granger: Beneath Still Waters (Valcour Records)

Michael Doucet and Tom Rigney: Cajun Fandango (Parhelion Records)

Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars: Gulfstream (Octavia Records)

Best Zydeco Artist

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

Geno Delafose

Lil’ Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers

Sean Ardoin

Best Roots Rock Artist

Batture Boys

Creole String Beans

Dave Jordan and the NIA

Honey Island Swamp Band

Mia Borders

Best Roots Rock Album

Batture Boys: Muddy Water (Independent)

Creole String Beans: Golden Crown (Independent)

Dave Jordan & the NIA: No Losers Tonight (Independent)

Honey Island Swamp Band: Demolition Day (Ruf Records)

Mia Borders: Fever Dreams (Blaxican Records)

Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Artist

Alexandra Scott

Miss Sophie Lee

Paul Sanchez

Sarah Quintana

The Deslondes

The Kid Carsons

Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album

Amanda Shaw: Amanda Shaw (Independent)

Michael Cerveris: Piety (Low Heat Records)

Miss Sophie Lee and the Parish Suites: Traverse This Universe (Independent)

Paul Sanchez: Heart Renovations (Independent)

The Tumbling Wheels: Play the No Counts (United Bakery)

Best Gospel

Eleanor McMain “Singing Mustangs”

Electrifying Crown Seekers

Johnson Extension

McDonogh #35 High School Gospel Choir

Rocks of Harmony

Best Cover Band

Bag of Donuts

Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues

Mixed Nuts

The Boogie Men

The Topcats

Songwriter of the Year

David Shaw

Ed Volker

Luke Winslow-King

Mia Borders

Paul Sanchez

Best Female Vocalist

Alexis Marceaux

Mia Borders

Miss Sophie Lee

Robin Barnes

Tonya Boyd-Cannon

Best Male Vocalist

Aaron Neville

Antoine Diel

Bobby Rush

Gregg Martinez

John Boutté

Best Bass Player

Charlie Wooton

George Porter, Jr.

James Singleton

Noah Young

Tony Hall

Best Guitarist

Alex McMurray

Anders Osborne

Andrew Block

Cliff Hines

Russell Welch

Best Drummer

Aaron Hill

Alvin Ford, Jr.

Herlin Riley

Johnny Vidacovich

Sam Shahin

Best Saxophonist

Aurora Nealand

Clint Maedgen

Donald Harrison

Khris Royal

Roger Lewis

Best Clarinetist

Charlie Gabriel

Doreen Ketchens

Evan Christopher

Gregory Agid

Tim Laughlin

Best Trumpeter

Ashlin Parker

Ashton Hines

Eric Benny Bloom

Glenn Hall III

Leroy Jones

Best Trombonist

Carly Meyers

Charlie Halloran

Corey Henry

Craig Klein

Mark Mullins

Best Tuba/Sousaphonist

Ben Jaffe

Edward Lee Jr.

Jason Jurzak

Jon Gross

Matt Perrine

Phil Frazier

Best Piano / Keyboardist

Davell Crawford

David Torkanowsky

Joe Ashlar

Jon Cleary

Josh Paxton

Tom McDermott

Best Accordionist

Andre Michot

Chubby Carrier

Roddie Romero

Steve Riley

Valerie Sassyfras

Best Violin/Fiddle Player

Courtney Granger

Kevin Wimmer

Louis Michot

Matt Rhody

Tanya Huang

Best DJ

Ann Glaviano

DJ Matty

Mannie Fresh

Quickie Mart

Tony Skratchere

Best Other Instrument

Daria Dzurik (steel drums)

Debbie Davis (ukulele)

Helen Gillet (cello)

Mike Dillon (vibes)

Washboard Chaz (washboard)

Best Music Video

5th Ward Weebie and New Breed Brass Band: “What’cha Working it Fa” – directed by 5th Ward Weebie

Bobby Rush “Porcupine Meat” – directed/produced by Patrick Tohill

Brass Bed: “Yellow Bursts of Age” – directed by Makemade, Edited by Allison Bohl DeHart and Peter DeHart

Luke Winslow-King: “No More Crying Today” – directed by Victor Alonso

Miss Sophie Lee: “Lovely In That Dress” – directed by Jason Jurzak (Killer Kowalski Productions)

The Revivalists: “Wish I Knew You” – directed by Mikey Cosentino & Sam Green of Rite Media Group

  • Everyone does not get an award

    This list is bogus with no CR and no ET on it just to name a few. This is a travesty which looks to be part of that “everybody gets an award for being alive culture” piss poor SMH offbeat is way off