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Arts & Culture

Excitement Builds for Syracuse Area Music Awards; WAER Alum Lou Reed Among the Honorees

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John Smith
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WAER News

It’s almost time to Rock n’ Roll with the Syracuse Area Music Awards next month known as the SAMMY’S. The list of 13 nominees were announced today at the Palace Theatre in Eastwood. The show has been awarding groups and artists since 1993. Some of the categories include Best Pop, Americana and Rock.

Executive Director Liz Nowak said there’s an incredible amount of bands and musicians represented this year.

“I think the SAMMY’S is important because the amount of hard work that each musician puts into honing their craft, and to be recognized for their accomplishments on a year to year basis is really exciting,” Nowak said. “I think that the SAMMY’s event itself, held here at the Palace Theatre, is Syracuse music’s favorite night because so many of the bands that work so hard don’t get to hang out with each other, and I’m telling you, it’s a party.”

There’s a familiar name for the Lifetime Achievement Award this year.  Lou Reed will be posthumously awarded.  He once drew attention on this very radio station.

“He worked as a DJ on campus radio station WAER but was quickly fired for his esoteric playlist and on-air arguments with listeners, while launching the underground campus literary magazine called Lonely Women’s Quarterly. Sounds just like Lou, doesn’t it?”

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Credit John Smith / WAER News
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WAER News
SAMMY's Executive Director Liz Nowak says excitement is building for the awards ceremony in March.

The creator of the SAMMY’s, Frank Malfitano, chose to honor a street musician and TV producer for the Founder’s Award. His name is Elijah Harris, and he often performs outside of local venues.

“The guy that gives you everything he has every time out. He expects nothing in return. He comes with an open guitar case. Sometimes when he leaves, it’s an empty open guitar case. He comes there to make you feel good. He’s a part of the DNA of Syracuse. He’s a part of the soul of Syracuse. I think he’s one of the music scene’s greatest goodwill ambassadors,” Malfitano said.

There are two nominees in the Best Jazz category this year: Bob Holz and Byron Kidd Cage. The SAMMY’S are scheduled for Friday, March 8th at the Palace Theatre.