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Southern Maryland rock musicians gathered Feb. 16 to pay tribute to their own at the inaugural Phoenix Awards, held at the Port Tobacco Players Theater in La Plata.

Fashioned after the Grammy Awards, the evening also served as a chance for local artists, who generally don’t receive extensive radio airplay, to showcase their talents.

Nominees, winners

The nominees were and the winners [in brackets] are:

Best Rock/Alternative Band (Original)

Andy Poxon Band, Hydra FX, Odins Court, Yellowtieguy, [Justin Myles], No Luck For Landes

Best Rock/Alternative Band (Cover)

No Green Jelly Beanz, The Pirhanas, [Absinthe], Vendetta, Full Steam, GrooveSpan

Best Vocalist

Joe Henry, Sara Gray, John Luskey, [Tara Rae], Hyde Von Hitchcock

Best Guitarist

Andy Poxon, [Dylan Galvin], Jason Reigle, Greg Barrick, Kevin Trombecky

Best Bassist

Anthony Damron, Jesse Reyes, Wolf Crescenze, [Matt Wiegand], Jay Hitaffer

Best Percussion/Drums

Kenny Smith, Justin Myles, Brandon Nygaard, [Rusty Williams], Andrew Dulaney, Sean Lambert

Best Stage Performance (Band or Solo)

Naked! Jam Band, NGJB, Wasabi, [The Pirhanas], Absinthe

Best New Artist or Band

[Changing Scene], The Good Fight, Sara Gray Band, Tonights Alibi, The Coming of Astro, Like You to Me

Best Original Song

”Ride My Bike” Kirbie, “Paper Soup” Mark Glass, “No Roses” Little Paul, [“Rock Bottom” Justin Myles], “Aly Went Home” Changing Scene, “War” Yellowtieguy

Best Music Store

[Hot Licks], Island Music, Allegro Music Service, Bullocks Piano Salon East

Best Music Venue (Large)

Port Tobacco Players Theater, St. Leonard Volunteer Fire Department, [Calvert Marine Museum]

Best Music Venue (Bar or Restaurant)

[Gilligans Pier], Memories, Blue Dog Saloon, Jake and Al’s, Big Dogs Paradise, Port Tobacco Marina

Best Singer/Songwriter

Justin Myles, [Little Paul], Mark Glass, Kirbie, Michael Bell, John Luskey

People’s Choice Award

NGJB, [Justin Myles], Little Paul, Full Steam, Vendetta, Absinthe, The Pirhanas

“I’ve always thought these guys in Southern Maryland are very talented,” said John Hunt, founder and CEO of The Phoenix, a La Plata-based online radio station that specializes in playing local rock music. “This is their chance to show it.”

Mechanicsville native Justin Myles scored a trifecta at the show, claiming awards for Best Original Band/Artist, Best Original Song for “Rock Bottom” and the People’s Choice Award.

Dylan Galvin took home the award for Best Guitarist, while his band, The Piranhas, won for Best Live Performance.

Myles and Galvin brought down the house with an acoustic rendition of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” with Galvin on vocals and guitar and Myles playing body percussion.

“Southern Maryland is swarmed in so much talent,” Myles said.

Proving his point, the second-loudest ovation of the night went to Changing Scene, a relative unknown whose live performance of its original “Aly Went Home” caught the attention of several in the audience.

After the band’s five members, who hail from Pomfret’s Maurice J. McDonough High School and the College of Southern Maryland, claimed the award for Best New Artist/Band, Hunt called them a “hot prospect.”

In addition to “Aly Went Home” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” the show featured live performances from metal band Absinthe and of Best Original Song nominees “War” by Yellowtieguy, “Paper Soup” by Mark Glass, “Ride My Bike” by Kirbie and “No Roses” by Little Paul.

Nominations for all but one of the evening’s awards were made jointly by the fans and a committee of 12 members “who actually go out and see more than one band,” Hunt said.

The nominees and winner of the People’s Choice Award were chosen exclusively by listeners of The Phoenix, which began three years ago in a small Lexington Park office and moved to California and Leonardtown before finally settling in its current location on Charles Street in La Plata, one block from the theater.

Half of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to aid research for Parkinson’s disease.

Hunt said the show took eight to nine months to plan but that he is looking forward to holding it again next year, when he wants to include an award for Best Music Teacher. During the show, he gave a special shout-out to Patricia Kuzmick, the retired, longtime choral instructor at Chopticon High School, for whom Hunt sang when he was a student there.

The night also included a brief tribute to Evan Bliss, a singer-songwriter from Maryland who died in August at 35 from a pulmonary embolism linked to extensive air travel.

Hunt quoted a newspaper article that said an autopsy revealed a blood clot had migrated from Bliss’ leg to the main artery in his lungs while he was flying to and from Kenya on a work assignment researching HIV/AIDS.

jnewman@somdnews.com