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Butcher Brown wins 2024 Newlin Music Prize for Best Album from Richmond

The Newlin Music Prize is awarded to the best full-length album from the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area in the previous year based solely on artistic merit as decided by a jury of members of Richmond’s music community. By winning, Butcher Brown receives a $2,500 monetary reward.

Trevor Dickerson

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Butcher Brown has won the 2024 Newlin Music Prize for their album Solar Music.

The Newlin Music Prize is awarded to the best full-length album from the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area in the previous year based solely on artistic merit as decided by a jury of members of Richmond’s music community. By winning, Butcher Brown receives a $2,500 monetary reward.

Released on October 6, 2023 through Concord Jazz, Solar Music is a thrilling album that deftly melds jazz, funk, hip-hop, dance, and soul into an exhilarating display of musical artistry. The collective brilliance of band members Morgan Burrs, Corey Fonville, DJ Harrison, Andrew Randazzo, and Marcus “Tennishu” Tenney shines throughout every track of the album, both as a dominant musical presence and as a harmonious backdrop for the various guest performers. Co-produced by the band and Chris Dunn, Solar Musicepitomizes their exhilarating versatility and masterful skill set, radiating brilliance that embodies the album’s tribute to astral harmony.

“All of us in Butcher Brown are humbled by this award,” the band remarked in a prepared statement. “Our love for Richmond permeates everything we do, especially the Solar Music album. We look forward to representing this city and its incredible music community for years to come. Our deepest thanks and appreciation.”

For more than a decade, Butcher Brown has stood as a cornerstone of the Richmond music scene. Their profound love for music fuels their prolific output as a collective, their various musical side projects, and their individual endeavors nurturing countless talents within the community. Since the 2014 release of the group’s All Purpose Music, Butcher Brown has garnered global acclaim for their innovative blend of jazz, soul, and hip-hop, earning recognition from NPR to Monday Night Football and ACC Men’s Basketball. Their group’s prior album, Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey Featuring Tennishu And R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND, received a nomination for the 2023 Newlin Music Prize, while solo albums by DJ Harrison and Marcus “Tennishu” Tenney were each nominated for the prize in 2022.

This is the third year for the Newlin Music Prize, named after musical prodigy, VCU professor, and performer Dika Newlin (1923-2006). A jury of more than 100 Richmond-area musicians, journalists, artists, photographers, and activists nominated over 250 local albums released in the past year for this award. From there, a 10-member committee reviewed the nominations and landed on 20 albums officially under consideration for the prize. While Butcher Brown receives $2,500 for winning this award, each of the remaining 19 artists on the list will receive $250 in the hopes of encouraging future recordings.

The 2024 Newlin Music Prize Short List was:

“The third installment of this award marked its largest scale yet,” said Newlin Music Prize president Doug Nunnally. “The depth of talent within the short list was remarkable, offering a comprehensive glimpse into Richmond’s diverse music landscape. By significantly increasing the prize money and providing awards for every artist on the shortlist, we aim to cultivate yet another remarkable year of music in Virginia’s capital, setting the stage for an even more thrilling prize next year.”

The Newlin Music Prize plans to announce a short list and award a winner in the first quarter of each subsequent year, as well as partner with local organizations and charities to continue to spread awareness for local music in the Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area.

For more information and updates, please visit NewlinMusicPrize.com.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.