Longtime Billings musician Ron Schuster won the Freeman Lacy Award at Sunday’s Magic City Music Awards.
The award recognizes a lifetime of achievement in the music scene in Billings. Mr. Schuster also won awards for best males vocalist, and his band Schuster was named best blues band.
The Magic City Music Awards, the new name for the annual Tuney Awards sponsored by The Billings Outpost, were held before a full house at the Garage Pub at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. Radio disc jockey Big J, who won a best DJ award, was master of ceremonies.
Retired public radio manager Marvin Granger was the announcer.
Mr. Schuster has the distinction of actually having played with Freeman Lacy in the Blues Blasters band. Mr. Lacy was a longtime figure in Billings music until his death, and the Freeman Lacy Award recognizes his legacy.
Mr. Schuster also has played in such bands as Mothers Oats, D’Club la Peach, Mumbling Eddy, the Floyds, Soul Brat and Zero House. He also was a major influence on the Tyler Burnett Band, a popular local group.
In pre-internet days, Mr. Schuster managed Budget Tapes and Records, which became a source of new musical ideas and sounds in Billings.
According to local musician Bob Brown, Mr. Schuster’s work there laid the foundation for the music scene in Billings today.
Mr. Schuster also recently gave up his weekly radio show on Yellowstone Public Radio. He had hosted a show on the station for more than 30 years, starting with the “Mystery Guest” program.
Performers at Sunday’s show included Earthshine, Pete Tolton, Reid Perry, Matt Taggert, Battlestar Kramden and Ted Ness and the Rusty Nails. Maxie Ford, an all-girl band, closed out the show.
Winners are selected by popular vote and by a panel of judges. Awards were presented by local contributors to the Billings music scene.
Here is the complete list of winners:
Country: Jimmy Dressler and Big Country
Americana: Ted Ness and Rusty Nails
Big Band: Funk In The Trunk
Jazz: Alex Nauman Organ Trio
Singer-songwriter: Steve Brown
Bass: Parker Brown
Percussion: Brad Edwards
Guitar: Jared Stewart
Keyboard: Joe Sullivan
Horn: Jeff Long
Mandolin: Jessica Garibay
Fiddle: Trevor Krieger
Banjo: Mike Bloom
Harmonica: Ed Kemmick
Female vocalist: Katy Kemmick
Male vocalist: Ron Schuster
Venue: Yellowstone Valley Brewing
Spoken word: Anna Paige
Album: Alex Nauman Organ Trio, “Too Damn Tight”
Show of the Year: Magic City Blues
Radio DJ: Big J
DJ: Danny Tellez
National group performance in Billings: Dropkick Murphys
Alternative/Independent Group: Brass Monkey