For the second year in a row, CBS recording artist Mary Chapin Carpenter was the big winner at the fifth annual Washington Area Music Awards, held in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Sunday night.
Carpenter, who won eight Wammies last year, took nine of this year's 83 awards: Artist and Entertainer of the Year, Best Video for "Never Had It So Good," Best Song and Best Songwriter in the general awards category, Best Artist, Best Female Vocalist and Best Recording in the country/roots category and Best Female Vocalist in the folk/bluegrass category. John Jennings, Carpenter's guitarist and producer, was named Best Producer.
The Wammies are voted on by the 400 members of the Washington Area Music Association, and a number of general awards are determined by the general public. The event was attended by 800 musicians, studio representatives, deejays and others connected with the local music scene.
The only other group to win three awards was E.U., which was named Best Go-Go Group, while William "Ju Ju" House was named Best Instrumentalist. The group also tied with Chuck Brown for Best Go-Go Recording. Brown was named Best Male Go-Go Vocalist. Me'Shell Johnson was named both top Best Female Go-Go Vocalist and Best Female Rapper. DJ Kool won honors as Best Rap Artist and Best Rap Recording ("What the Hell You Come in Here For").
Guitarists were big winners, led by Danny Gatton (Best Instrumentalist in the blues, country/roots and jazz categories and Best Jazz Artist/Group); Pete Kennedy (Best Freelance Musician and Best Instrumentalist in the folk/bluegrass category); and Michael Fath (metal instrumentalist, record design). Fath's wife, Kris, was named Best Female Metal Vocalist.
Kix, Egypt and Strange Boutique were multiple rock award winners: Kix was named Best Metal Band and leader Steve Wightman took the male vocalist honors; Egypt was named Best New Band and Best Alternative Rock Band. Also in the alternative rock category, Strange Boutique's Monica Richards was named Best Female Vocalist, Frederick E. Smith Jr. was named Best Instrumentalist and the group's eponymous album was named Best Recording.
Johnny Gill, whose new eponymous Motown album is No. 16 in pop charts and No. 2 on the black album charts, won for Best R&B/Urban Recording ("Can You Stand the Rain") and tied for Best Male Vocalist with Jr. Cline. Starpoint was named Best R&B/Urban Group, and its guitarist, Ernesto Phillips, was named Best Instrumentalist.
In jazz, Shirley Horn and Tim Eyerman were double winners: Horn was named Best Female Vocalist and tied with Eyerman for Best Recording; Eyerman's East Coast Offering was named Best Small Ensemble. In the blues category, guitarist John Cephas was named Best Male Vocalist and Best Group for his partnership with harp player Phil Wiggins. Street singer Flora Moulton was given a posthumous award as Best Female Blues Vocalist.
Other double winners: New Potato Caboose, whose "Promising Traveler" was named Best Debut Recording and Best Rock/Pop Recording; Englishman, for Best Reggae Vocalist and Best Reggae Recording, the last a tie with Black Sheep, which was named Best Reggae Group; Cathy Fink and Marci Marxer, for Best Children's Group and Recording; Jonathan Edwards, for Best Male Vocalist in both the country/roots and folk/bluegrass categories.
Damian Einstein, the deposed WHFS deejay whose discrimination complaint against the Bethesda station was recently upheld by the Maryland Human Rights Commission, was given a standing ovation after being named Most Supportive Radio Deejay and Most Supportive Music Personality.