Best of SA 2007

Music 

Best Rock Band

1. Los #3 Dinners
       Number3dinners.com
2. Dog Men Poets
       Dogmenpoets.com
3. Skunkweed
       Skunkweed.com

Dog Men Poets’ loyal crowd always comes out in big numbers for Best-of votes, but the Poets couldn’t quite match a large turnout for veteran rockers Los #3 Dinners, a band once praised (in its previous incarnation, Los #2 Dinners) by Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes.


Best R&B

1. Beverly Houston
       Beverlyhoustononline.com
2. Ruben V
       Rubenv.com
3. Planet Soul
       Home.satx.rr.com/planetsoul

Houston walks away with the R&B award with such regularity that the award could easily be named after her. A longtime local favorite who blends elements of soul, jazz, and pop in her smooth mix, Houston is also a beloved pre-game performer at Spurs games.


Best Vocalist

1. Ken Slavin
       Kenslavin.com
2. Haley Scarnato
3. Ruben V
       Rubenv.com

The power of American Idol was no match for the velvety pipes of Ken Slavin, as SA’s favorite torch singer bested Idol contestant Haley Scarnato. To everyone’s great relief, Sanjaya Malakar received no love from Current readers, although the long-deceased Frank Sinatra defied expectations by drawing two votes.


Best Instrumentalist

1. Eddie “Amadeus”
    Fernandez
2. Joe Reyes
3. Charlie Wood

With a nickname like “Amadeus,” it stands to reason that Eddie Fernandez isn’t a three-barre-chords-and-a-cloud-of-dust player. The leader of local jam band Last Of Our Kind, Fernandez unleashes fluid guitar licks over his band’s Latin-inflected groovesmanship. The result is what would happen if the Dave Matthews Band collided with Los Lonely Boys.


Best Americana

1. The Lavens
       Thelavens.com
2. Middle Ground
       Myspace.com/findthemiddleground
3. James Pardo

The Lavens are a country-flavored family act that has become a Friday favorite at The Cove. Think of them as The Judds-times-two, or The Cowsills with a twang.



John Magaldi
Best Jazz Performer

1. John Magaldi
2. (Tie) Chuck Kerr Quartet
       Myspace.com/chuckkerrquartet
    Sexto Sol
       Sextosolsa.com

John Magaldi is a versatile woodwind
(saxophone, clarinet, flute, piccolo) master with deep roots in big-band swing. The last year has been a difficult one for him, as his wife, pianist/singer Joan Steele Magaldi, passed away in December.


Best Tejano/Conjunto

1. Rebecca Valadez
2. Flaco Jimenez
3. Grupo Vida

Probably the most experienced young performer in contemporary Tejano, Rebecca Valadez was singing with Mazz before she was old enough to drive, and toured as a backup singer for Janet Jackson while still in her teens. Valadez’s solo career is currently in ascendance, with a Grammy nomination for her recent self-titled album.



DJ Jester
Best DJ

1. DJ Jester the Filipino Fist
       Myspace.com/filipinofist
2. DJ Jmix
       Myspace.com/djjmix
3. Donnie D

DJ Jester has long been SA’s most endearing musical subversive, juxtaposing wildly disparate sonic elements (Fraggle Rock, Cameo) into a beat-crazy, pop-culture free-for-all. And you’ll never hear Willie Nelson the same way once you’ve witnessed Jester put a hip-hop beat underneath Shotgun Willie’s drawl.



Varcity Squad
Best Hip-Hop

1. Varcity Squad
       Varcitysquad.com
2. Mojoe
       Mojoefamily.com
3. (Tie) Lotus Tribe
    Just Us

While it’s great to see less well-known acts like Varcity Squad and Just Us crack this year’s list, in terms of SA hip-hop, the last year was all about Mojoe. Tre and Easy Lee have parlayed their connection with Destiny’s Child mastermind Mathew Knowles into extensive exposure and glowing reviews for their Classic.Ghetto.Soul. debut. They continue to spread the gospel at college campuses and mansion parties across the country and next month they’ll hit the road with R&B studs Brian McKnight and Joe.


Best Cover Band

1. Dragonfly
2. Jawbreaker
3. Drive
    Myspace.com/drivesanantonio

It’s fair to say that there is no consensus in SA when it comes to cover bands. An astounding 74 bands received votes in this category, but no choice ran away from the pack, with Dragonfly taking a narrow win over a bunched-up field. Of course, this category also drew several “All Cover Bands Suck” votes, but we were particularly pleased with the six votes for the wonderfully named Too Tall and Oates (and who knew Ed “Too Tall” Jones could sing?).



Delphine Gunning and Robin Lambaria 
Best Live Music Event

1. SA Indie Fest
       Multiple locations, March 7-13, Saindie.com
2. Jazz’SAlive
       Travis Park, September 15-16, 
       Saparksfoundation.org/jazzalive.html
3. Bob Marley Festival   

Tired of seeing San Antonio languish in the long shadow of SXSW, Delphine Gunning and Robin Lambaria created SA Indie Fest. The week-long celebration of underground music gave San Antonians a chance to see 150 up-and-coming artists without breaking the bank on a SXSW wristband. 


Best Record Store

1. Hogwild Records
       1824 N. Main Ave., 733-5354  
       Myspace.com/hogwildrecords
2. CD Exchange
       Mulitple locations
3. 180 Grams
       2120 San Pedro Ave., 320-8534, 180grams.com

Hogwild has long been the retail epicenter of the SA indie-rock scene, so it’s no surprise that it easily carried this category. But 180 Grams, a small upstart with a strong jazz-vinyl selection, demonstrated that it has a loyal core of supporters.


Best Live Music Venue

1. The Cove
       606 W. Cypress, 227-2683, Thecove.us
2. Sam’s Burger Joint
       330 E Grayson St., 223-3820,  
       Samsburgerjoint.com
3. Casbeers
       1719 Blanco, 732-3511, Casbeers.com

These three venues are SA mainstays, with considerable appeal to mature, roots-rock listeners, and they consistently perform well at the Best-of ballot box. Their collective popularity is such that Limelight, the local club scene’s brightest (relatively) new light, could only place a distant fourth.


Best Open Mic/Karaoke

1. Dad’s Sing Along Club
       2615 Mossrock, 340-3887
2. London Sub & Pub
       8425 Bandera Rd., 682-1070
3. (Tie) Crabby Jack’s
       16084 San Pedro, 496-3386
    Santa’s Place
       417 Spriggsdale Ave., 223-6884
    Chacho’s
       7870 Callaghan Rd., 366-2023

Given the popularity of Tuesday open-mic nights at Casbeers and Thursday songwriter showcases at Scenic Loop Café & Bar, it was a surprise to see voters throw their support to Dad’s, a sing-along bar just north of the 410 Loop.

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