Local music patron organization Black Fret announced ten winners of $10,000 grants during its first annual Black Ball, a four-and-a-half-hour event at the Paramount Theatre that included brief two-song sets by 16 of the 20 nominees.
The grant recipients were Amy Cook, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, the Rocketboys and Wild Child.
All recipients were among the evening’s performers except Wild Child, who are currently on tour overseas. Cook, the first recipient announced during the early part of the show, closed out the marathon by inviting renowned Austin singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin onstage to sing Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” with her.
Other winners whose performances stood out included Mother Falcon, a sprawling ensemble whose intriguing sound included strings and horns; McQueen, who invited local hop-hop duo Riders Against the Storm to join her on her second song; and Chavez, who brought members of Mother Falcon onstage for “Siete-D,” a Spanish-language song that recently won the Latin category of the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Nine-piece collective East Cameron Folkcore, which didn’t receive a grant, led off the second half of the show with one of the night’s most compelling performances. Others acts that performed but did not receive grants included Danny Malone, Elias Haslanger, Emily Bell, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray and Little Radar. All will be eligible for grants again next year, as will Dawn & Hawkes, the Whiskey Sisters and Zeale, three nominees who did not perform at the Black Ball.
Black Fret currently has about 170 members who paid dues of $1,500 for a 2014 season that included admission to more than a dozen private events throughout the year at which nominees and other local musicians performed. Members nominated the 20 finalists and then voted on the 10 grant recipients. More details about the organization are at blackfret.org.