Of all the various NZ music awards - The Tuis, The bNets, Juice TV Music Awards?? etc - the most interesting have to be the Silver Scrolls. Running for over 40 years the Silver Scrolls are also regarded as highly credible. And that is because the nominees and winners are selected on the basis of songwriting talent rather than commercial success. Also the winner is voted on by a large panel that are songwriters themselves.
This can mean that you you get incredibly diverse selections amongst the 5 finalists. For example last year saw Evermore up against The Mint Chicks and Dave Dobbyn. The selected songs don't have to be by well known artists, they don't have to be singles and they don't have to be from a single genre.
This years final five are again an interesting mix. I will be featuring all five on Counting The Beat this Sunday. So in no particular order here they are.
First up, Evermore with Running. Evermore won the Silver Scroll last year with It's Too Late. This year they are up with a song from their latest album. These three brothers are huge in Australia and have also featured in the soundtrack of US teen telly show The OC. So, definitely a commercial song, with a pretty international flavour.
Anika Moa's Stolen Hill is the title track of her second album. She took a lot of time out to find herself after resisting record label attempts to market her as the next Bic Runga/Jewel. This track is representative of her attempt to assert her own personality through her songs.
Don McGlashan gets two tracks in the final five. Miracle Sun is the first single from his great solo album Warm Hands. McGlashan has an indisputable talent for story telling and characterisation in his lyrics. This song tells the story of a summertime visitor to Opononi during the season of Opo the Dolphin, managing to capture both the joy of the event and the melancholy of times past. This is the one that I think will win.
McGlashan is also nominated for Bathe in the River, a song from the soundtrack to the movie No. 2. It is soulful song delivered with vocal punch by Hollie Smith. Despite his talent I can't help thinking that a McGlashan win is a bit safe. Worldwide there seems to be a trend towards awards celebrating longevity and past glories - even Barry Manilow won an award last month ferr chrissakes!
Finally is the song I would like to win. The Pool is written by James Milne who performs under the name Lawrence Arabia. It is on one of two albums he has put out this year, a solo Lawrence Arabia album and the one that features this track with his band The Reduction Agents. The album, The Dance Reduction Agents, is great. It is full of 60s inspired pop songs that are interesting and unexpected. The nominated track is quite reminiscent of 'For the Benefit of Mr Kite' from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper. The album got great reviews but no-one bought it. Put this right - get it today. You won't find The Pool here but there are downloadable tracks on MySpace.
The Silver Scroll will be announced on Sept 20th. The award ceremony is also something special. Each nominated song is performed by another top NZ music act in their own style. Unfortunately it is invite only. My aim this year is to get meself a ticket.