BOSTON -- Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Paula
Cole, Buffalo Tom and former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre were winners at the
12th annual Kahlua Boston Music Awards on Thursday.
But the show was dominated by a new generation of Boston musicians, including
country singer Jo Dee Messina -- who won three awards including Best Act -- and such
young rock bands as Godsmack and Big Wreck.
"It's wonderful to come back to Boston after everything," said singer Ian Thornley of Big
Wreck, who were named Outstanding Debut Rock Band. "I think it's vibrant and
wonderful here, and I don't think Boston gets nearly as much attention as it deserves."
"There's a lot of opportunity for bands here," said singer Sully Erna of Debut Album of the
Year winners Godsmack, who are actually from Salem, N.H. "Aerosmith is still going
strong, and there's tremendous opportunity for younger names, too."
Messina, a Boston native who lives in Nashville, beat out Aerosmith, Rob Zombie and
the Bosstones for the Best Act trophy. Her album I'm Alright (1998) spawned three
#1 country singles.
"This is awesome, to come back to Boston and win an award," she said. "I thought they
forgot about me when I moved to Nashville."
Messina also picked up trophies for Outstanding Female Vocalist and Outstanding
Country Act. She dedicated her performance of "Even God Must Get the Blues" to victims
of Tuesday's school shootings in Littleton, Colo.
McIntyre, whose first solo album, Stay the Same, came out in March, said he was
shocked when the album's title cut was named Single of the Year.
"Other than the fact that they usually give you an award when you're performing, I didn't
think I had a chance," McIntyre said. His competition included songs by Godsmack,
Paula Cole and Aerosmith (whose "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" also was
nominated for an Academy Award).
"I've been doing this show almost since its inception," said McIntyre said, who had a
large cheering section of screaming teenage girls at the Orpheum Theatre ceremony.
"I'm 26, but I'm a BMA veteran. It still feels really good to be accepted."
With the emergence of such boy bands as 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, McIntyre
was asked if a reunion of the New Kids on the Block -- whose Jordan Knight also has a
new solo album -- was in the works.
"Don't hold your breath," McIntyre said. "Otherwise, you'll turn very,
very blue ... and eventually die."
Godsmack, who will spend the summer on the Ozzfest tour, were honored for their 1998
self-titled album. The other Debut Album of the Year nominees were Guster, Mary Lou
Lord, Rob Zombie and Jude.
"I can't believe we won," Godsmack lead singer Erna said. "I couldn't believe some of the
competition that was out there tonight. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my
Following their performance of "Whatever"
(RealAudio excerpt), which was nominated for Single of the Year, Erna
said Godsmack's success hasn't changed his appreciation for his hometown.
"I love it here," he said. "I grew up here, and I would never bail out of this place."
Big Wreck, whose four members met as students at Boston's famed Berklee College of
Music, opened the show with a performance of "The Oaf"
(RealAudio excerpt). "It's nice to be appreciated by your brothers and
sisters," Thornley said after they were named Outstanding Debut Rock Band.
The awards also recognized established talent. Tyler, who wasn't at the ceremony, won
Outstanding Male Vocalist honors, while the Mighty Mighty Bosstones grabbed the
Outstanding Rock Band accolade. Buffalo Tom's Smitten was named Album of the
The Pat Metheny Group were named Outstanding Jazz Act, and Melissa Ferrick, one of
Boston's most heralded folk artists, took home the Outstanding Folk Rock Band trophy.
"Boston has always been such a mecca for music, especially for women artists," Ferrick
said. "When I grew up, I had Shawn Colvin and Tracy Chapman and Michelle Shocked,
and the whole women's folk thing started happening. For me, it was a great place to
learn about how to grow up as a female singer/songwriter."
Berklee College, whose alumni include Juliana Hatfield, the Gigolo Aunts and Tracy
Bonham, as well as all the members of Big Wreck, paid homage to a possible future star with its "Discover"
award. It went to 16-year-old R&B singer Daniel McClain, a high school senior from
Cambridge. McClain won a five-week scholarship for the school's summer performance
Berklee's stellar reputation can only be enhanced by the fact that 17
of the 41 awards went to Berklee artists such as Paula Cole -- or to
such bands as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Aerosmith and Combustible
Edison, all of which include Berklee alumni.