Winners of the 2019 Magic City Music Awards were announced Friday in a celebration of the local arts and music community. Winners in 32 categories, selected by the public in an online ballot, were tallied and revealed throughout a night of performances by local acts at the Pub Station, named music venue of the year.
“I’m totally appreciative,” said Pub Station owner Sean Lynch. “Billings has been really supportive of us, and we’re thankful. There are great venues in town.”
The night's most awarded musician DaNe RiCo captured eight honors including songwriter, solo act, and hip hop/rap artist of the year, as well as snagging album of the year for 2018's “Monét” and original song of the year and video of the year for “Lo$er.”
“It’s crazy, I’ve never won anything in my life,” said Darius Morup, whose stage name is DaNe RiCo in honor of his Danish and Puerto Rican heritage.
On Saturday, the 18-year-old rapper will release his second album, "Daddy Rico,” at 2905 Montana Ave.
Wes Urbaniak's efforts were awarded in three categories including sound engineer of the year, string instrument musician of the year, and Americana/folk act of the year for his group Wes Urbaniak and the Mountain Folk, which is currently touring.
Calvin and the Coal Cars, comprised of Billings and Red Lodge musicians, came onto the scene strong in 2019 and were named country act of the year and new band of the year.
Frontman Lee Calvin, who plays frequently solo, said it just isn’t the same without the Coal Cars, which he formed 18 months ago. “It’s an acknowledgment of all the work these guys have put in — and we’re just glad to beat Bucky Beaver,” he said with a laugh.
Skyler Finch also had his hands in multiple awards, as he was named photographer of the year in addition to directing DaNe RiCo's video for "Lo$er."
George Moncure, brewer and founder of Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co., was given the Freeman Lacy Award, recognizing his service in the local music scene. Moncure oversaw YVBC, which became one of the region's most popular live music venues, for 22 years before selling the business and retiring.
Several musicians honored in the past were also given awards, including Arterial Drive — last year's big winner of best new band, among others. This year, the group picked up best alternative/indie act.
Jared Stewart, winner of blues, soul, funk, or R&B artist of the year and guitar musician of the year, said he’s got more than 40 Magic City Music Awards to his name, which he traced back to its beginnings 19 years ago.
“I appreciate it so much more now,” Stewart said. “It’s a huge validation to all the friends and family that voted for me — all those people who have supported me.”
The full list of award winners includes:
• Freeman Lacy Award for outstanding service: George Moncure
• Venue of the year: The Pub Station
• Spoken word artist of the year: Anna Paige
• Radio DJ of the year: Big J (Jason Harris), Hot 101.9
• Club DJ/EDM artist of the year: DJ Tektonics
• Country act of the year: Calvin and the Coal Cars
• Jazz act of the year: MSU Billings Jazz Ensemble
• Punk act of the year: Deathwish
• Reggae/Island act of the year: Yellowstoned
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• Drums/percussion musician of the year: Bart Barkac
• Sound engineer of the year: Wes Urbaniak
• Keyboard musician of the year: Erik Olson
• Horn musician of the year: John Roberts
• Classic Rock act of the year: Midlife Chryslers
• Metal act of the year: Kicking Karma
• String instrument musician of the year: Wes Urbaniak
• Songwriter of the year: DaNe RiCo
• Original song: DaNe RiCo, “Lo$er”
• Video of the year: DaNe RiCo, “Lo$er”
• Blues, Soul, Funk or R&B act of the year: Jared Stewart
• Alternative or Indie act of the year: Arterial Drive
• Hip hop or rap act of the year: DaNe RiCo
• Bass musician of the year: Parker Brown
• Guitar musician of the year: Jared Stewart
• Album of the year: DaNe RiCo, “Monét”
• Americana/folk act: Wes Urbaniak and the Mountain Folk
• Solo performer of the year: DaNe RiCo
• Male vocalist of the year: DaNe RiCo
• Female vocalist of the year: Jessica Eve
• Show of the year: Tektonics Presents: We Graduated with DaNe RiCo
• Music photographer of the year: Skyler Finch
• New band of the year: Calvin and the Coal Cars
Disclosure: Anna Paige, winner of the spoken word artist of the year award, is The Gazette's entertainment reporter.