Cast Your Votes for the 2015 Best of the Beat Awards

In early December, OffBeat solicited nominations from musicians and others in the music community. We gave these results to our writers and editors and, with input from both, determined the nominations in each category. Public voting on the resulting ballot is now open, with voting ending on January 5. Winners will be announced at the Best of the Beat, which returns to Generations Hall on Thursday, January 21.

OffBeat will recognize our Lifetime Achievement honorees: The Radiators (Music); Germaine Bazzle (Music Education); Roland and Mary von Kurnatowski (Music Business); and Catherine Lasperches nurse practitioner at the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and LSU Health Network will receive our Heartbeat Award. Publisher Jan Ramsey will host the awards on January 21 with an assist from WWL-TV’s Eric Paulsen at the Music Business Awards on January 13 at the Orpheum Theater.

The 2015 Best of the Beat Awards will feature performances by Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, Young Fellaz Brass Band, ROAR!, Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars, DJ Quickie Mart, A Tribute to Allen Toussaint featuring Tony Hall, Cyril Neville, Davell Crawford, David Torkanowsky, and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes pay homage to the Radiators and more.

Many of the city’s finest restaurants will be serving complimentary cuisine, including Barcadia, Bratz Y’all, Bittersweet Confections, Gumbo Shop, Custom Catering, Dat Dog, Praline Connection, Nola Foods & Whoodoo BBQ, Whole Foods, Tee Eva’s and many more.

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.

Sponsors for this year’s Best of the Beat Awards include OffBeat Media, Generations Hall, The Orpheum Theater, WWL-TV, New Orleans Live!, WWNO, WYES, WWOZ, the Voice of The Wetlands Foundation, the Positive Vibrations Foundation and the New Orleans Advocate.

Discounted advance tickets for the Best of the Beat are now on sale here; tickets purchased day-of will be $45. We hope to see you at the Best of the Beat: two stages, plenty of food, mingling with your favorite musicians—all for the cost of a good lunch.

You can cast your votes for the 2015 Best of the Beat Awards here. A full list of nominees is available below.


2015 Best of the Beat Awards Nominees:


Artist of the Year

Jon Cleary

Kristin Diable


Steve Riley

Christian Scott


Album of the Year

Terence Blanchard: Breathless (Blue Note)

Jon Cleary: Go Go Juice (Thirty Tigers)

Galactic: Into the Deep (Provogue)

Aurora Nealand and Tom McDermott: City of Timbres (Independent)

Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys: Voyageurs (Independent)

Write Brothers: First Flight (Independent)


Best Emerging Artist

The Deslondes

New Breed Brass Band

Jamison Ross

Kyle Roussel

Jamie Lynn Vessels


Song of the Year

“Boneyard” by Jon Cleary

“Does it Really Make a Difference” by Galactic and John Michael Rouchell

“I’ll be There for You” by Kristin Diable

“It’s How You Hold Me” by Dayna Kurtz

“Everything that ends begins again” by Paul Sanchez

“Cane River Waltz” by Malcolm Welbourne


Best Blues Performer

Brint Anderson

Sonny Landreth

Little Freddie King

Johnny Sansone

Walter “Wolfman” Washington


Best Blues Album

Brint Anderson: Covered in Earl (Independent)

Colin Lake: One Thing That’s for Sure (Louisiana Red Hot Records)

Sonny Landreth: Bound by the Blues (Provogue)

Johnny Sansone: Lady on the Levee (Shortstack Records)

Marc Stone: Poison & Medicine (Louisiana Red Hot Records)


Best R&B/Funk Artist

Jon Cleary


Naughty Professor

New Orleans Suspects

Nigel Hall

George Porter, Jr.


Best R&B/Funk Album

Jon Cleary: Go Go Juice (Thirty Tigers)

Galactic: Into the Deep (Provogue)

Naughty Professor: Out on a Limb (Ropeadope)

Nigel Hall: Ladies & Gentlemen… Nigel Hall (Feel Music/Round Hill Records)

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

Royal Southern Brotherhood: Don’t Look Back: The Muscle Shoals Sessions (Ruf Records)


Best Rock Artist

Bantam Foxes

Breton Sound

Lonely Lonely Knights

The Revivalists

Sweet Crude


Best Rock Album

Givers: New Kingdom (Glassnote)

Junior League: Also Rans (Kool Kat Musik)

Lonely Lonely Knights: Lonely Lonely Knights (Independent)

The Revivalists: Men Amongst Mountains (Wind-up)

Yojimbo (now ROAR!): Ghost Birthday (Independent)


Best Rap / Hip-Hop Artist


Chase N. Cashe



Nesby Phips


Best Rap / Hip-Hop Album/Mixtape

Boyfriend: Love Your Boyfriend: Pts, 1 & 2 (Independent)

Dee-1: 3’s Up (RCA Inspiration)

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

Pell: Limbo (Federal Prism Records)

Young Greatness: I Tried To Tell Em (Independent)


Best Bounce Artist

5th Ward Weebie

Big Freedia

Cheeky Blakk

Katey Red

Sissy Nobby

Tenth Ward Buck


Best Traditional Jazz Artist

Tom McDermott

Leroy Jones

Steve Pistorius Trio

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Kermit Ruffins


Best Traditional Jazz Album

Sasha Masakowski & the Sidewalk Strutters: Old Green River (Independent)

Aurora Nealand and Tom McDermott: City of Timbers (Independent)

New Orleans Jazz Vipers: Going! Going! Gone (Independent)

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

Seva Venet: Revisiting New Orleans String Bands: 1880-1949 (Threadhead Records)


Best Contemporary Jazz Artist

Terence Blanchard

Nicholas Payton

Jamison Ross

Christian Scott

James Singleton


Best Contemporary Jazz Album

Terence Blanchard: Breathless (Blue Note)

Nicholas Payton: Letters (Paytone Recors)

Jamison Ross: Jamison (Concord)

Christian Scott: Stretch Music (Ropeadope)

James Singleton: Shiner (Independent)


Best Brass Band

Hot 8 Brass Band

Original Pinettes Brass Band

Rebirth Brass Band

Soul Rebels

Young Fellaz Brass Band


Best Cajun Artist


Magnolia Sisters

Roddie Romero & the Hub City All Stars

Steve Riley



Best Cajun Album

Feufollet: Two Universes (Feufollet Records)

Doug Kershaw & Steve Riley: Face to Face (Valcour Records)

Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys: Voyageurs (Independent)

Sweet Cecilia: Sweet Cecilia (Old Man Records)

T-Monde: Yesterday’s Gone (Valcour Records)


Best Zydeco Artist

Chris Ardoin

Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

Ruben Moreno

Lil’ Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers


Best Zydeco Album

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band: Zydeco Stuff (Swampadelic Records)

Doghill Stompers: We On the Rise (Independent)

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

Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys: Raw! (Independent)

Ruben Moreno: Complique (Independent)


Best Roots Rock Artist

Dash Rip Rock

The Deslondes

Papa Mali

Paul Sanchez

Write Brothers


Best Roots Rock Album

Dash Rip Rock: Wrongheaded (Drag Snake)

The Deslondes: The Deslondes (New West Records)

Papa Mali: Music is Love (429 Records)

Paul Sanchez: The World is Round Everything That Ends Begins Again (Independent)

Write Brothers: First Flight (Independent)


Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Artist

Spencer Bohren

Kristin Diable

Dayna Kurtz

Kelcy Mae

Sarah Quintana


Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album

Spencer Bohren: Seven Birds (Valve Records)

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

Dayna Kurtz: Rise and Fall (Kismet/M.C. Records)

Louie Ludwig with the Moss Pickers: Elevation 13 (Independent)

Sarah Quintana: Miss River (Independent)


Best Gospel

Electrifying Crown Seekers

Tyrone Foster and the Arc Singers


McDonough 35 High School Gospel Choir


Best Cover Band

Bag of Donuts

Bucktown All-Stars

Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues

Gris Gris



Songwriter of the Year

Jon Cleary

Danya Kurtz

Jim McCormick

Alex McMurray

Paul Sanchez

David Shaw


Best Female Vocalist

Germaine Bazzle

Susan Cowsill

Kristin Diable

Erica Falls

Maggie Koerner

Meschiya Lake


Best Male Vocalist

John Boutte

Antoine Diel

Nigel Hall

Colin Lake

Jamison Ross


Best Bass Player

Roland Guerin

Tony Hall

Matt Perrine

George Porter, Jr.

James Singleton


Best Guitarist

Colin Lake

Sonny Landreth

Alex McMurray

Jimmy Robinson

Walter “Wolfman” Washington


Best Drummer

Derrick Freeman

Joe Lastie, Jr.

Jason Marsalis

Stanton Moore

Johnny Vidacovich

Raymond Weber


Best Saxophonist

Derek Douget

Rex Gregory

Donald Harrison

Derek Huston

Aurora Nealand


Best Clarinetist

Gregory Agid

Evan Christopher

Charlie Gabriel

Tim Laughlin

Aurora Nealand

Dr. Michael White


Best Trumpeter

Jeremy Davenport

Irvin Mayfield

Nicholas Payton

Kermit Ruffins

Christian Scott


Best Trombonist

Glen David Andrews

Troy Andrews

Corey Henry

Craig Klein

Mark Mullins


Best Tuba/Sousaphonist

Edward Lee, Jr. (Soul Rebels)

Phil Frazier

Jon Gross

Ben Jaffe

Jason Jurzak

Matt Perrine


Best Piano / Keyboardist

Jon Cleary

Nigel Hall

Tom McDermott

Josh Paxton

David Torkanowsky


Best Accordionist

Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes

Chubby Carrier

Andre Michot

Steve Riley

Roddie Romero


Best Violin/Fiddle Player

Kelli Jones-Savoy (Feufollet, T’Monde)

Louis Michot

Matt Rhody

Amanda Shaw

Kevin Wimmer (Mamou Playboys)


Best DJ

Captain Charles

DJ Matty

DJ Soul Sister

Mannie Fresh

Quickie Mart


Best Other Instrument

Debbie Davis (ukulele)

Mike Dillon (vibes)

Helen Gillet (cello)

Johnny Sansone (harmonica)

Seva Venet (banjo)

Washboard Chaz (washboard)


Best Music Video

“A Fine Romance” Alia Shawkat, James Williams & the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys, directed by Ramell Ross

“Dangerous” Big Freedia, directed by Bert Company Media

“I’ll Make Time for You” Kristin Diable, directed by Scott McKibben

“It’s How You Hold Me” Dayna Kurtz, directed by Cameron Wheeless

“Run” Helen Gillet, directed by Michael Lancaster

“The World Alive” Colin Lake, directed by Nathan Tape

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



  • jjazznola

    Lean year album wise. Is Terence Blanchard’s music NOLA music? Or Nicholas Payton’s?

  • Cori C

    no BARBARELLA BLUE???!!! whats up with that??