Update appended at 4:41 p.m., Jan. 2, 2013.
Anyone who digs music and hangs around downtown Roanoke knows by now that Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill slings music almost every day of the week. The venue’s live music schedule received some national recognition at the tail end of 2012.
Home Grown Music Network, an independent music scene collective, selected Martin’s as its venue of the year. The Mebane, N.C.-based organization made the announcement on Jan. 28.
The network, which is affiliated with about 30 venues and about 75 bands, says on its website that its mission is “to help talented independent bands reach fans who are seeking fun, interesting & mind expanding music.”
Such HGMN acts as Big Daddy Love, Dangermuffin, The Mantras, Yarn, Sol & Funk Root (a band with Southwest Virginia connections) and Zach Deputy have played Martin’s several times. HGMN spokesman Chris Robie said that acts playing Martin’s have given him and other network representatives “good feedback” about the venue and its owner, Jason Martin.
“He’s really into the scene, and that goes a long ways into how we decide who gets venue of the year,” Robie said in a phone call today from Chapel Hill, N.C. “It’s not all about the sound system. It’s not all about the size. It’s all about how they treat musicians and the type of quality music they like to bring into the venue.”
Robie said he met Martin last July at FloydFest.
“You could tell it was something that he really loves to do,” he said. “He’s very passionate about it.”
We’ll add a quote from Martin as soon as we hear back from him today.
UPDATE: Martin said by e-mail that he considers this to be an incredible honor. Past winners include The Pour House, in
Charleston, S.C., Raleigh, N.C., and The State Theatre, in Falls Church, and Martin is happy to be included among those venues.
“It is so nice to be recognized for doing what you love,” he wrote. “I am very proud to receive this accolade from such a reputable organization such as The Homegrown Music Network. I think receiving recognition like this is a product of being committed to booking live music, not being afraid to take chances on unproven acts and how showing some love and appreciation to touring musicians really does make a difference. ”
Click the jump link for the full list of 2012 HGMN award winners.
HGMN’s 12th Annual Best of the Year Awards
STUDIO ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Dangermuffin – Olly Oxen Free CD – read our review
Runner up: Mac & Juice – Step Into the Light CD – read our review
LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Ten Toes Up – Live Vol 2: From the Beaver Bar 12/31/11 CD
CUSTOMER’S CHOICE: Retail: Everyone Orchestra – Brooklyn Sessions CD – read our review
Wholesale: Papa Grows Funk – Needle in the Groove CD
NEW HGMN BAND OF THE YEAR: – Les Racquet – We were most impressed with this new addition to our network. Pick up their CD and catch a live show!
HGMN HALL OF FAME: Sim Redmond Band joins Lotus, Moses Guest, STS9, The Motet, Umphrey’s McGee, The Recipe, Deep Banana Blackout, The Big Wu, Acoustic Syndicate, The Disco Biscuits & Keller Williams in this select list of bands that have helped define HGMN over the years.
HG REPS OF THE YEAR: Brian Riddell
HGMN VENUE OF THE YEAR: Martin’s Downtown – Roanoke VA
HGMN JAMcaster OF THE YEAR: Cleveland Carlson – WUTC – Chattanooga, TN