Local stars shine at MVAs

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks. Photo: WILK

Soul virtuosos Emma Donovan & The Putbacks were the standout triumph at the 2021 Music Victoria Awards.

The group, which has a local connection, scooped up three awards at the 17th annual event at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday evening including Best Soul, Funk, R’n’B or Gospel Act, Best Group, and Best Album for their long-awaited and utterly powerful LP Crossover.

The band is headed up by acclaimed Melbourne Indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan and rhythm combo The Putbacks’ lineup includes a wealth of local talent including drummer Rory McDougall and percussionist Justin Marshall, who both live in Castlemaine, guitarist Tom Martin who is based in Woodend and manager Ali Webb who hails from Kyneton.

Ali said the group, currently on tour with Australian music legend Paul Kelly, were elated to receive the awards and were thrilled to announce they would be touring regional Victorian in January.

“Our first stop will be Castlemaine’s Bridge Hotel on Saturday January 29. We cannot wait to return to central Victoria with new music,” she said.

Castlemaine’s Eliza Hull is the inaugural winner of the Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award. Photo: Cathy Ronalds

The awards night also saw Castlemaine’s Eliza Hull take home the inaugural Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award for Deaf and Disabled Acts with $3000 cash from Arts Access Victoria and a rehearsal package from Bakehouse.

Eliza told the Express winning the Music Victoria Arts Access Amplify Award was such an honour.

“Especially being nominated within such incredible company. I am excited to continue my disability advocacy work in the music industry and make a new record out in 2022. Awards like this are game changers in creating the space for disabled musicians to be recognised and celebrated,” she said.

Melbourne sister duo Charm of Finches, who have many close friends in the region and recently filmed video clip Treading Water at Vaughan Springs, took out the industry award for ‘Best Folk Act’ and James Ellis & the Jealous Guys – several band members hail from the ‘Maine – were nominees for ‘Best Country Act’.

The latest success comes after Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal won the ‘Best Regional/Outer Suburban Venue’ at the industry section of the awards in October.

Thursday’s event honoured the state’s best acts, albums, songs and musicians of the year.

The Melbourne Recital Centre came alive once again with music lovers, industry and artists gathering together during Melbourne Music Week to celebrate a joyous end to one of the hardest hit years the sector has ever faced.

The ceremony was live-streamed on Youtube and MC’d by Australian music industry veteran Myf Warhurst.

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks won a pool of prizes thanks to public voting including a $5000 media package from Plakkit and a $2000 voucher for Yamaha gear.

The band was also one of the night’s captivating live performers, sharing the stage with fellow award winner Maple Glider who the public voted the year’s Best Breakthrough Act.