Cohoes Music Hall hosts second ListenUp award ceremony

COHOES — Once Joe Barna leaves the Cohoes Music Hall stage after performing at the upcoming Listen Up Awards on Sunday, March 26, it’s assured there will be no Grammy-inspired shenanigans that tie him to an award.

For one, the jazz artist isn’t up for an award this year. Because he took home the distinction as being the Favorite Jazz Artist at last year’s Listen Up Awards, he’s ineligible to receive any hardware Sunday night. Out of fairness, anyone who won a Listen Up Award last year will not be eligible to win one this year.

Rob Smittix of Radio Radio X and Frankie Cavone of Mirth Films

For the uninitiated, the Listen Up Awards is a people’s choice music award ceremony created by Mirth Films and Radio Radio X that celebrates local talent. The people chose who was to be placed in what category. Last month, their votes for each respected winner were collected and logged. Last year, they collected more than 6,000 ballots, recording over 130 nominees to determine 27 award winners. This year, they received more than 38,000 ballots.

“I learned that people understand that it’s fun,” said Art Fredette, owner and founder of RadioRadioX.

The ceremony comes in time with award season. The Academy Awards took place just a few weeks before, and there are others that will roll out the red carpet in the coming weeks. Coincidentally, Proctors Collaborative will host a Hall of Fame ceremony for local musicians the following evening in Saratoga Springs. Unlike others that incorporate a selection committee, Fredette said Listen Up was inspired by Nickelodeon.

Art Fredette of Radio Radio X

“Award shows, by their very nature, are stuffy. So the only award show I ever watched faithfully was the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards,” he said. “When my sons were little, because people got slimed and it was stupid, and I like that.”

Asked if a homage to the green slime will appear, Fredette said no.

“No sliming. No, the music hall probably would frown upon that,” he said.

Distinctions cover the gamut of musical genres, plus campy opportunities to honor [or poke fun of] players for Best Hair/Makeup, Best Dressed, Most Likely To Fall Off Stage, and Most Likely To Owe The Club Money.

Joe Barna

“They’re stupid. But that’s the first thing everybody checked in the yearbook because it’s fun,” Fredette said.

Among this year’s award winners will be four members of the local music scene who made an everlasting impact on the community. The ceremony will honor Howard Glassman; Caroline Isachsen, known by her stage name MotherJudge; Scott Dorrance and Josh Bloomfield.

Barna will perform on stage, along with additional sets by JB aka Dirty Moses and Soul Sky.

The Listen Up Awards will be at Cohoes Music Hall on Sunday, March 26, at 3 p.m. Admission will cost $15. For tickets and information, go to

Originally Published on TheSpot 518, used with permission.

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