Stayin' Alive--State Fair season is officially over, but the honors bestowed upon this year's homegrown competitors will live on, at the very least, until next September. In the midst of bake-offs and livestock auctions, the New Mexico Music Commission helped reaffirm music's rightful place as a state treasure with the Fair’s second annual talent showcase
On Saturday, Sept. 16, a pool of 16 acts from all over the state was whittled down through live performances and a panel of expert judges at the Ford Pavilion. When the dust settled, only a handful of winners escaped with their lives.
Well, no, that's not true. Everyone survived, but only four acts can call themselves 2006 New Mexico State Fair Talent Showcase winners, which is tantamount to getting a life support system for the New Mexico music industry. The evening's top talents earned a windfall package of 12 hours recording time from one of four New Mexico studio sponsors (Stepbridge, Wall of Sound, Rancho Digital Recording Studio or Eagle Rock Recording Studio), a 2007 City of Albuquerque-backed concert, gear from Music Go Round and more career-extending booty from people on the other side of the business.
Enough with the pleasantries. The winners are, by category:
• Ethnic/Traditional: Ramon Bermudez Jr., who plays contemporary Latin and world music out of Santa Fe. Both of his albums, Ramón Bermudez Jr. and the award-winning Fuego en el Alma, are for sale at www.ramonbermudez.com.
• Blues/Jazz/Gospel: The Ben Martinez Project walked away with a blue ribbon in this broad category thanks to straight-up jazz from the Duke City. Many other accolades can be viewed at at www.benmartinez.com.
• Rock/Alternative: The Dirty Novels, god bless them, are among the most hard-working, professional and consistently righteous rock and roll acts to emerge from Albuquerque. Listen and learn at www.thedirtynovels.com.
Cheers to everyone involved in the showcase and check back at www.newmexicomusic.org for more golden opportunities from the New Mexico Music Commission.