2013 Motif Music Award Winners

By Marc Clarkin and John Fuzek 

 Check out photos from the event here

Best Rock Band 2013

Atlantic Thrills


Atlantic Thrills sweep of the Best Rock and Best Punk categories attest to the fact that they’re just a great no frills rock ‘n’ roll band. I wouldn’t call them a “punk” band per se – more like a rock ‘n’ roll band for adults that grew up on punk. They just completed the mastering of their first recording, which captures all the zaniness of the Atlantic Thrills live. Look for the CD release later in the year but catch the band at Dusk on May 4.

Best Punk Act 2013

Atlantic Thrills

(See above.)

Best Live Act 2013

Vertical Twin

Vertical Twin is one of the best acts to catch live. These aren’t exactly the youngest guys out there but they’re jumping up and down without missing a beat. Their live show mirrors the intensity of ElectroSonicMotherPhonic, which is kind of like stoner rock on amphetamines. Vertical Twin’s standard brand of motor punk meets ‘70s heavy rock makes for a great night out for fans of rock ‘n’ roll.

Best Reggae/Ska Act 2013


Soulshot have been whipping crowds into a frenzy on the dance floor for over a decade now. It’s about time they get some well deserved recognition. For anyone looking for a straight up traditional true vibes reggae bands, Soulshot is your it. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of both legends like Skatalites and locals like The Agents and The Dub Squad.


Best Jam Band 2013

Fungus Amungus

Fungus Amungus have continued to be in the top tier of local jam bands since 2005 when they were a finalist in the WBRU Rock Hunt. I don’t see that changing anytime soon with marijuana decriminalized. Their annual New Year’s Eve shows are must see pilgrimages for dancing hippies. Fungus Amungus specialize in churning out funk and reggae infused jams for the masses.


Best Hip Hop Act 2013

THR33 Piece Suit

THR33 Piece Suit was born out of local rhyme vets Chanchi Carvalho and Swann Notty teaming up with J. Depina last year. THR33 Piece recently released their debut, Brand New Vintage, which features a collection of old school beats mixed with killer lines. They keep things real with a positive outlook and the beats get the masses bouncing on the dance floor.


Best Female Rock Vocalist 2013

Roz Raskin

Roz Raskin is always a captivating multi-instrumentalist performer whether she’s fronting the Rice Cakes or playing bass in her newer project, Littlefoot. After winning the 2012 WBRU Rock Hunt, Roz and The Rice Cakes have been busy doing a number of tours as well as playing packed hometown shows. The Rice Cakes are as electric as ever, blasting out their patented indie rock jams.  Roz’s vocals are always a surefire draw that compliment and amplify the tunes.


Best Male Rock Vocalist 2013

Mark Cutler

I always feel sorry for people that get nominated in the same category as Mark Cutler because it is almost an inevitable loss. Mark has been performing for what seems like forever (the man won the WBRU Rock Hunt 31 years ago with The Schemers), but he never comes off as a retro act.  Whether he’s playing solo, with his band The Men of Great Courage, or with The Schemers, he always commands a following. Sweet Pain is one of last year’s best. The record kicks off with “Salvation Cruise” that rocks in the vein of the Velvet Underground.  Gems like “Walking in the Night” and the enchanting “Come Out to the Woods” are the real treasures on this album.


Best Rock Album 2013

Mark Cutler – Sweet Pain (75orLess Records)

(See above.)


Best Americana Album 2013

Various Artists — Everyone Deserves a Home

A compilation to benefit the homeless through the efforts of Riverwood Housing First Rhode Island, aiming to, “improve the quality of life for persons who experience significant and persistent behavioral health issues or chronic homelessness by providing and coordinating a comprehensive menu of community based services that focus on recovery and personal growth.”


Best Breakthrough Act 2013

Ravi Shavi

It’s fitting that Ravi Shavi took home the Breakthrough this year because well, they’ve had a big breakout year. They played a ton of shows and released their debut album, Don’t Be a Cheater. One tune is reminiscent me of early Elvis Costello and the next song is something else. They have a varied arsenal at their disposal but it’s all energetic rock ‘n’ roll!


Best Tribute Band 2013

Forever Young

Forever Young is like a local super group assembled to pay homage to the many different musical trails blazed by Neil Young, which leaves the door open to folk, country and scorching guitar propelled rock ‘n’ roll. Forever Young packs the house, having played sold out shows in places like The Narrows in Fall River within the last year. If you’re a Neil Young fan, this could be your new favorite band to see for a night on the town.


Best Metal Act 2013

Lolita Black

When Lolita Black came up short in the WBRU Rock Finals, singer Scarlett Delgado said, “Some people say we’re too heavy for WBRU; well they also said that about the band that wrote this next song,” as they preceded to launch into Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissing.” Last year Lolita Black released their second album, Flesh, Blood, & Bone, which was as raw and grinding as the name suggests.


2013 Best Americana Act

Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons

They may be the Wrong Reasons but they certainly have the right stuff. Since 2005, the band’s fluid lineup has been fronted by Fletcher. His story-driven songs have drawn comparison to Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. He will be appearing at the legendary Newport Folk Festival again this year where many of his musical doppelgangers have performed in the past. This hard working group keeps on keeping on and chalking up the accolades. joefletchermusic.com 


2013 Best Bluegrass Band

The Big River Stomp

The Big River Stomp’s web bio touts them as “offering nothing but the best in original, modern bluegrass music. This is the new acoustic!” Obviously they are correct. Big River Stomp has enjoyed a lot of success in a very short amount of time and this is yet another notch, of the many to come, on their stringed instrument straps. Jim Studley, Jesse Burdick, Jeff Budzinski and Matt DiPinto are the men who make the grass blue. reverbnation.com/bigriverstomp 


2013 Best Americana Singer-Songwriter

Mark Cutler

From the Schemers, The Raindogs, The Dino Club, The Men of Great Courage, The Tiny String Band, Forever Young and other musical incarnations, Mark Cutler is possibly the hardest working RI musician. In his 35+ year career, he has played just about everywhere in RI and toured extensively, sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, Don Henley, Warren Zevon and many others. He has taken home just about every area musical award. His music just keeps getting better. It should be no surprise that he just keeps on winning! mcutler.com


2013 Best Open Mic

The Met Cafe Legends Jam.

Sundays haven’t been the same since the Met jams have started. From young to old, beginner to pro, they all play side-by-side during the Sunday sessions at The Met. With rotating hosts selected from the finest RI musicians, the Met Cafe Legends Jam lives up to its legendary status. themetri.com


2013 Best New Americana Act

King Sickabilly & His Full Moon Boys

“Serious songwriting from years of hardship, road experience and inner turmoil all blended together by three best friends with all acoustic instruments.” Guess what? The combination works. This new combo of seasoned pros pepper the lineup further with guest performers whose chemistry will make the perfect blend for a “formula of acoustic madness, sadness and spirit.” reverbnation.com/DaveSasquatch


2013 Best Blues Act

Superchief Trio

Superchief has a super-sized winning streak that goes with a super-sized trio. The Superchief Trio features a unique combination of two-fisted piano, red hot trombone, blazing guitar, rock solid bass, powerful vocals and frenzied percussion antics. Superchief’s top-notch players perform top shelf originals and covers of swing, New Orleans R&B, jump blues and boogie-woogie style tunes. superchieftrio.com


2013 Best Choral Act

Providence Gay Men’s Chorus

Their tag line is “Harmonizing Diversity In Song.” Started in 1995, the multi award-winning chorus has been ambassadors of sorts for the LGTB community, breaking down barriers and gaining acceptance with their music. They strive to produce professional quality shows, combining the best of musical theater, cabaret and traditional choral performance. Their struggle for equality has been an uphill battle – but as times change and minds open, someday it will all just be about the music. provgmc.org


2013 Best Folk Act

Lisa Couto

The lovely Riverside resident dealt the Best Folk Act and Best American Vocalist categories a one-two punch and scored a knockout with both. Her soulful singing can be compared to Alicia Keys and Sade. She has toured the East Coast and beyond. She has released two albums as part of the band Most People and is currently working on an acoustic solo project. Lisa can often be seen performing with partner Ray Cook. lisacouto.com


2013 Best Americana Female Vocalist

Lisa Couto

(See above.)


2013 Best Americana Male Vocalist

Bob Kendall

Kendall wound up in RI by way of California, Alabama and Boston. He was a founding member of Lifeboat, The Blood Oranges and The Brothers Kendall. He has shared the stage with the likes of Billy Bragg, Big Country, 10,000 Maniacs and Marshall Crenshaw as well as adding an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival to his lengthy resume. His latest release, Midnight Flower, is the collection of material written over the past decade. Kendall describes his songs as “tales of recrimination and self-deception.” bobkendall.com


2013 Best Jazz Act

Miss Wensday

The beautifully illustrated woman that is Wensday Greenbaum, also known as Miss Wensday, is a performing artist, singer, songwriter, actress and theatre and voice educator. She’s shared the stage with Alice Cooper, Stephen Stills, Michelle Branch, Tesla and Todd Rundgren. Alice Cooper has been quoted as calling her “the other girl next door.” Wensday also spreads awareness about domestic violence and violence against women and children, working directly with victims of domestic abuse and teaching theatre, voice and movement as a means of healing and empowerment. misswensday.com


2013 Best Celtic Act


Pendragon has won this award so many times that I don’t even know what the total is now! The heart and soul core of the band – Mary Lee, Bob and Russell – have been doing the Celtic thing since the mid-1980s. Great original and traditional tunes, talent and a little “luck o’ the Irish” keeps ‘em winning. In addition to the music, the members of Pendragon have been the driving force behind the Blackstone River Theatre, bringing traditional and ethnic performers to the Blackstone Valley since 1995. pendragoncelticmusic.com


2013 Best EDM DJ

DJ Venom

Venom has been a major fixture in the North American rave scene for over 20 years, gaining a wide following through his energetic club performances, on point mixing and wild turntable tricks. Always striving for more, he started up Volume Productions in 1994 to advance the underground electronic and rave scene. His many career highlights include two second place wins at the WMC battles in Miami. djvenom.com


2013 Best Club DJ

DJ Nook

This career DJ spins everything from electro, hip hop, punk, metal, funk and rock. Nook has a deep love for music and a huge knack for remixing, blending and scratching – always keeping the party going all night long. He’s worked a wide variety of places in Boston, Providence and Newport including Karma, The Roxy, Whiskey Park, Pearl, Local 121, Monet and Salvation Café just to name a few. facebook.com/dj.nook.official