My Magic City Music Award and a smack down to my cynicism.

I recently won a local music award for best bassist. Even though the award just says bass, it insinuates that it means “Billings’ best bass player” (right?). Anywho, I wasn’t there to accept it because I was playing in Handel’s “Messiah” that night. Upon hearing that I won the award,  I was honored but cynical, assuming that these award ceremonies aren’t judged on any merit, but usually just a population contest and a dash to see who can get the most friends to sign the ballot for their band. I scoffed at my award in front of peers while I was at a bar watching my friend Joe Sullivan play. I was with one of the judges (I didn’t know it at the time) and he set me straight–laid the smack down on my cynicism. He told me that I should be proud to win because of the criteria that I was selected with was valid; the award was given to the bass player that was/is involved in the community passing on knowledge, playing regularly, and improving. He then told me the names of the others that were close for the award and the major votes from the judicial committee and I was, to say the least, flattered that I was chosen (there are some badass bassists that play in Billings!). After this lecture I felt proud to receive the award, not so much the physical award, but the recognition–I don’t do it for that, but it always feels warm and fuzzy to get some recognition for the work you put in (especially when it feels like you are taking three steps forward and four back).

I also was in two other bands that won awards: “Best big band”, Alex Nauman Organ trio (big band) that I play bass in, and a band I play guitar in, Schuster, for “Best blues act”. After my rebuking I am greatful for these awards and am excited for the ceremony next year. Thank you to the community and the cats that are making this a worthy award show.


Parker Brown (bass)