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Rock Band of the Year: Dead 27s

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By this point, it's safe to say that the people of Charleston like the Dead 27s (see the 2014 CPMAs, when the band took home four accolades), and it's easy to see why when you have a song like "What a Waste." It's just plain fun to listen to. Its winding guitar lines are always on the edge of dueling and complementing each other — often doing both thanks to guitarists Wallace Mullinax and Will Evans. "We wanted to feature harmony guitars acting like a horn section over a funk-rock pulse," says Mullinax. Drummer Daniel Crider contributes an exciting atmosphere with his smooth drum intro, which he says was a "busier play" on "When the Levee Breaks," before punching into the forefront with an energetic cowbell beat. Bass player Oliver Goldstein holds down the fort nicely while still catching your ear with wah-wah grooves. And all is anchored by Trey Francis' soulful and confident voice. "Lyrically, the song is basically about coming to a point in your life where you feel lost and alone, not knowing which way to turn," says Francis. If that's true, alienation and confusion has never been this much of a good time.

Guitarist of the Year:
Wallace Mullinax, Dead 27s

Song of the Year:
"What A Waste," Dead 27s

The MVP of this song, though, is the climactic bridge. "It took about half a day to work out the bridge, which has ended up being one of my favorite parts of the album," Francis says.

The Steve Miller-esque verse and the blue-eyed soul chorus stack on top of each other, leading to a soul-funk breakdown where the guitars and drums go to war, and we're the winners. Bill Withers would be proud. "This was our first attempt at group writing without an initial idea," says Mullinax. "This song was pulled out of thin air."

Crider adds, "Will told me to record it. Then we took it to the writing session, and it just snowballed from there."

When the Dead 27s aren't snagging awards, the guys can be found touring around the East Coast and beyond. Currently, the band is on the road in support of their new album, Ghosts are Calling Out. So far they've hit New York, New Orleans, Nashville, Washington D.C., Key West, and everywhere in between. Judging by the present and near future, the Dead 27s are more alive than ever.

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