Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Austin Music Awards celebrate local musicians, supporting SIMS foundation

Courtesy of David Brendan Hall

Moving to New York after graduating from college in Georgetown, musician and producer Walker Lukens quickly realized he wanted to take part in the Austin music scene. Sunday evening, he took the stage at the iconic Antone’s Nightclub to play the finale of the Austin Music Awards, surrounded by friends and fellow music-makers.

In the 42nd annual celebration hosted by The Austin Chronicle, the Austin Music Awards honored local musicians from across genres, including student jazz band Mockjaw and new Austin Music Hall of Fame inductee, Cherubs. Voted on by The Austin Chronicle readers, the awards have long celebrated the artistry in the live music capital of the world.

“As a young person, we’re always trying to carry out the legacy of former foundational Austin Chronicle music writer Margaret Moser, who helped launch the awards,” said Rachel Rascoe, UT alumna and music editor at The Austin Chronicle. “She cared about making the bands feel special for a night and getting everyone together.”

Rascoe said Austin classic Shinyribs posted an Instagram story with fellow winning band Die Spitz the night of the awards.

“It’s nice to see those generational crossovers happening at the event,” Rascoe said. “That’s the whole point.”

Finale headliner Walker Lukens brought together nominated artists including Ben Kweller and Sabrina Ellis to conclude the concert-esque event with a lineup of cover songs.

“It’s a small community in Austin,” Lukens said. “If you live here long enough, you start to know everyone. Everyone that was part of the show, I had done stuff with over the years.”

Lukens said when a producer of the awards reached out to him asking for a one-hour set, he reached out to musician friends to pull together a group that included past and present nominees and winners.

“It always feels great to have your work to be recognized,” Lukens said. “Getting competitive is silly and a total waste of time and energy.”

The show presented several legacy awards, including the Margaret Moser Award to Rosa Madriz and the induction of legendary illustrator Jim Franklin into the Austin Music Industry Hall of Fame. The night also featured the SIMS Foundation, an Austin-based nonprofit that provides mental health and substance abuse resources for musicians and music industry professionals.

“Two Austin pillars of the community saw a good opportunity to be able to work together,” said Lee Young, donor relations coordinator for the SIMS Foundation.

Young said the foundation is named for Sims Ellison, an Austin-based songwriter and bassist who died by suicide in 1995. After his death, Ellison’s father and management came together to start the SIMS Foundation.

“They didn’t want any other young musicians in this town to feel like they had to suffer quietly,” Young said. “Our tagline is ‘we’re listening.’ This foundation is here for anyone in the music industry.”

Young said the foundation provides support including medication management and recovery resources.

“To know that we have support from folks who are so passionate about the work that we’re doing, and about the work that the music industry is doing, feels really good,” Young said.

100% of the night’s proceeds will benefit the work of the SIMS Foundation.

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