Local Native American Musicians Nominated for 7 Native American Music Awards – The Ripcords, Irv Lyons Jr., West Side Social Club and Joanne Shenandoah Get Nods

Three of Central New York’s most notable groups and one late legend have been nominated at the international level, recognizing the artists’ performance and songwriting ability. Songwriter, Irv Lyons Jr., has been nominated for four Native American Music Awards, including Best Rock Recording and Artist of the Year for “Private Invitation” from his latest EP of the same name.

Irv also was nominated for Best Male Vocalist and Song of the Year (with Joanne Shenandoah) for “Save The Planet.” Rex Lyons, his cousin Irv, and The Ripcords, were nominated for Group of the Year and Best Blues Recording from The Ripcords album Unmasked (Live). They were also nominated for Best Blues Recording with the group West Side Social Club which includes Earl Slick, Pete McMahaon and Liz Strodel. 

“To be nominated for the Native American Music Awards is an amazing honor and great privilege,” says Irv. “Private Invitation is my best work to date. The most complete in lyrics and music. It is a snapshot of my experiences in love, friendship and the heart. These songs are all radio-ready as any of them could be on the charts now. My true labor of love that hopefully people will enjoy, and play over and over.”

The Ripcords’ strong musical collaboration comes from cousins, Rex and Irv Lyons Jr. along with Ripcords members Jay Gould, Tom Witkowski and Steve Palumbo. They are a versatile group of musicians who can deliver blues, rock, swing and jazz and write their own originals as well. “People will listen and hopefully see how we can deliver a great sound and performance in this live recording,” states Irv.

“I’m honored and excited to be up for a couple of NAMMY awards!” adds Rex Lyons. “We’ve been making original music for over three decades, hopefully, third time’s a charm and we bring home the hardware. Congrats to all my fellow nominees. Good luck!” The Native American Music Awards has nominated The Ripcords in the categories of ‘Best Blues Recording’ and ‘Best Group of the Year.’ 

The musicians are extremely pleased and humbled to have been nominated with Earl Slick and the West Side Social Club, for Best Blues Recording.  This is a collaboration of The Ripcords with Earl Slick, Pete McMahon and Liz Strodel. “In a day and age when blues albums are rarely recorded, with the exception of legends Buddy Guy & Gary Clark Jr., this recording is a breath of fresh air! Recorded on tape and for the most part live, this recording sounds and feels like it was recorded at 2120 S. Michigan Ave! I am proud to be a part of it!” adds Slick.

Another 315 artist nominated for this year’s NAMMYS is the late Joanne Shenandoah in the Best Country category for her album Shenandoah Country.

Shenandoah, considered the matriarch of American Indigenous music, died on Nov. 22 at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ due to complications of liver failure.

She was widely regarded as the most influential Native American musician of her generation, as the New York Times stated in its obituary.

Sheandoah won a Grammy in 2006 for her contributions to the album Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth.

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