newsnewlin music prize releases short list fans may vote through march 17

Newlin Music Prize releases short list; fans may vote through March 17

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The Newlin Music Prize has revealed the 20 albums on the 2023 Short List, all of which are in consideration for this year’s award that celebrates excellence in music from the Richmond metropolitan area.

Founded in 2022 and named after musical prodigy, VCU professor and performer Dika Newlin (1923-2006), the Newlin Music Prize is awarded to the best full-length album based solely on artistic merit without regard to style or popularity, as decided by members of the local music scene and fans.

“The 2023 Short List offers an excellent overview of the Richmond music scene and its endless wonder,” said Newlin executive director Doug Nunnally. “Each of the 20 albums on this list has a unique and memorable voice that has helped add to the rich music history in Virginia’s capital city. Nearly 200 albums were nominated for this year’s award, showing the musical depth Richmond has to offer. Consider these 20 albums a personal invitation from the Newlin jury to learn all about the exciting music that was created in your hometown.”

The albums that comprise the 2023 Newlin Music Prize Short List are:

  • Armagideon Time – Crime As Theatre
  • Butcher Brown – Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey Featuring Tennishu And R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND
  • Cassidy Snider And The Wranglers – A Good Heartbreak
  • Deau Eyes – Legacies
  • Drook – Life In Estates
  • Dumb Waiter – Gauche Gists
  • Erin & The Wildfire – Touchy Feely
  • Justin Golden – Hard Times And A Woman
  • Mackenzie Roark – Rollin’ High, Feelin’ Low
  • Monday Night & Heather Grey – Soon You’ll Understand
  • Ms. Jaylin Brown – Take It Easy
  • No BS! Brass – Undying
  • Piranha Rama – Omniscient Cloud Cover
  • Radio B – Stop Looking For Noise
  • Spooky Cool – Existential Pie
  • Strawberry Moon – Habitual Creatures
  • Timothy Bailey And The Humans – Timothy Bailey And The Humans
  • T V L P A – Walk With Me
  • Ty Sorrell – HomeGrown
  • Tyler Meacham – Into The Fray

The short list was chosen from albums released by artists in the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area in 2022 that either exceeded 25 minutes in length or contained at least five songs. All albums released under these parameters were considered for the award. There was no submission process or entry fee required from local musicians, labels or studios.

A jury of more than 80 musicians, journalists, artists, photographers and activists nominated albums for this award. From there, a 12-member committee reviewed the nominations and determined the official short list of 20 albums. Each member of the jury will now review the 20 records and submit a ranked ballot which will be used to determine the winner.

There is also a public fan vote open through March 17 at, valid for one vote per e-mail address. Results of the fan vote will count as one ballot towards the final result.

Modeled after similar awards such as Canada’s Polaris Music Prize and the United Kingdom’s Mercury Prize, the goal of the Newlin Music Prize is to raise awareness of the diverse music scene in Richmond and to encourage more great recordings in the future.

The inaugural award in 2022 was won by McKinley Dixon for the album For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her.

The winner will be revealed on March 20, with the winning artist receiving a cash prize of $1,000 and a commemorative trophy.

For more information on the Newlin Music Prize and each nominated album, visit

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.