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The Danny Lynn Wilson Band was the top winner at the Buffalo Music Awards Wednesday night, winning in four categories, including Best Blues Band for the second year in a row.

Other multiple winners were C.O. Jones, The Tails, The Blue Lights Blues Band and Stealin'.

Wilson, who has been performing for 25 years, said it was an honor just to have his music recognized. "The awards aren't always about how complicated your music is, it's that people enjoy it."

Wilson was quick to offer accolades to his bandmates. "Most of the recognition should go to my musicians I play with. They are great."

His wish was granted when Dave Whitman and Steve Stevens won Best Harmonica and Best Blues Bassist, respectively. Stevens gave the most entertaining speech of the evening as he accepted his award. Taking his plaque, Stevens let out a big "I don't believe it," before accidentally dropping the the award. "I didn't mean to do that," he said. "I appreciate all the people who for voted for me. But how do you all know me?"

The evening also brought recognition to the 1996 Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductees Rick James, Ani DiFranco, Hound Dog Lorenz, Ramblin' Lou, Al Tinney, Count Rabbit, Lucky Peterson, Tommy Tedesco, Jack Yellen, Doug Morgano and Cheryl Littlejohn.

Van Taylor of Taylor Made Jazz introduced legendary pianist Al Tinney as "the man I most look up to. He set the standard for young keyboardists and musicians." Tinney's acceptance speech was brief. "I'm not accustomed to talking. I like to play," he said.

Accepting the award for James was Mandy Hawkins, a lifelong friend and wife of his lead guitarist, Kenny Hawkins. She said the Hall of Fame award finally gives James the respect he deserves from his hometown. "I'm very glad to be accepting the award for him from Buffalo because I feel the city has really dogged him in the past. This is a hard town for everybody," said Mrs. Hawkins, who announced James will perform in December at Marine Midland Arena.

The Buffalo Music Awards were founded in 1980 by Rick and Marsha Falkowski. The awards have changed with the local scene since then, expanding from honoring only cover bands to include the diverse range of today's music including original bands, rap, hip-hop and punk.

David Lloyd of the rock cover band Bleeding Hearts has seen these changes firsthand. A winner during the first ceremony and again Wednesday, Lloyd said it's great to see anyone receive the awards, "whether it's for original music or cover bands."

"The awards are now incorporating a lot more different musical styles and people are becoming more accepting of these styles."

Falkowski said the awards are still valid today for the same reason he co-founded them 17 years ago: to get the musicians recognition and help the scene. "The local scene isn't thriving, it needs a push," he said. "When we started 17 years ago, our intent was so people nominated might get one more job playing, and maybe get a few new fans at the show."

Night Life Magazine's Dave Koester, a co-producer of the awards, said the evening is about having fun and promoting Buffalo music. "Music should be recognized as a resource valuable to the city, just like sports. The music scene should be supported," Koester said. "We're trying to showcase the talent so that, in any small way, it will help the scene."

Performing were Bleeding Hearts, Go Dog Go, Siguaraya, Stealin', Sudden Urge, the Danny Lynn Wilson Band and a rap/hip-hop show.

The winners were:

Roadside Attraction (tribute band), Sudden Urge (rock band), Stealin' (hard rock/alternative), CPR (classic rock), Why on Earth (rock/alternative), Live Urban Sex Tribe (new group).

Bleeding Hearts (group vocals), Lana Hergert (female vocals) Mike Maguire (male vocalist), Sharon Wegend (keyboard), Rob Burgio (guitarist), Jeff Becker (bassist), Colin Barrick (drummer).

Boys of Summer ('50s and '60s band), Transition (Top 40 band), Tim Wright (solo), Simpleton (duo/trio).

Danny Lynn Wilson Band (blues band), Tommy Z (blues guitarist). Danny Lynn Wilson (blues male vocalist), Gretchen Schulz (blues female vocalist), Dennis Fura (blues keyboards), Al Hury (blues drummer), Steve Stevens (blues bassist), Jukebox Scales (blues sax), Dave Whitman (blues harmonica).

Spinning Room (original hard rock), Plaster Sandals (original pop), Elevation of Depression (new, original), Them Jazzbeards (original, alternative and acoustic), Kevin Boyle (original, guitarist), John Caruso (original, bassist), Shawn Przybylak (original, drummer), Nelson Starr (original, guitarist), Geno McManus (original, male vocalist), Alison Pipitone (original, female vocalist).

C.O. Jones (R&B band), Keith Eatmon (R&B male vocalist), Hugh Arthur (R&B drummer), Mike Pennick (R&B bassist), Kimalin Jones (R&B female vocalist), Marshall Badger (R&B guitarist), Julian Johnson (R&B keyboards).

DJ Riq (mix tape): Scottie Earl (rap/hip-hop producer), Noble (rap/hip-hop solo), Poverty (rap/hip-hop duo/group).

Johnny Revolting (hardcore/punk/ska), Caribbean Extravaganza (world beat), Latin Jazz All Stars (Latin jazz/merengue/salsa), Wendall Rivera (percussionist).

Lafayette Tap Room (blues club), Hooligan's (acoustic/folk club), Flash (dance club), Zoo Bar (new club), Ogden Street Concert Hall (concert club), Calumet Arts Cafe (jazz/R&B club), Steamers (restaurant/music club), Barcade (rock/alternative club), Elmwood Lounge (pop rock Top 40 club), Funhouse (eclectic club), Coles (Party Club USA), Rock-It Room (best Fort Erie/Port Colborne club), Cell Block (best Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold club), A Taste of Buffalo (Best Festival).

Review Buffalo Music Awards Seventeenth Annual awards Ceremony. Wednesday in the Funhouse, 1830 Abbott Road, Lackawanna.

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