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The rest of the bands 

GRIMM MUSIC: Aaron Grimm fronts The Munks.
  • GRIMM MUSIC: Aaron Grimm fronts The Munks.

Ho hum, the Rockets win again. The 10-piece cover band has reigned supreme in this annual poll for about 50 years now, it seems, but this year, there are some young bucks nipping at their heels.

Christopher Denny is a folk-rock prodigy with a voice that sounds like a young Roy Orbison, a high and lonesome warble that never fails to provoke goose bumps. The 23-year-old always works songs from the roots-rock standards into his sets, but he’s also got a handful of original tracks that could easily be mistaken for songs from the canon. In August, Denny will release his sophomore album on 00:02:59 Records, a Brooklyn-based independent label. One of New York’s most influential PR agents, whose clients include Björk and Emmylou Harris, is representing him, so don’t be surprised if you hear about him blowing up nationally in the not-too-distant future.

If the Rockets represent the nostalgia of the Boomer generation and Denny the promise of youth, the Munks fall somewhere in the middle. The Little Rock five-piece is part of the growing number of local 30-something musicians who’re passionate and prolific and immensely talented, but who have little ambition beyond playing local shows. That’s fine by us. Lead singer Aaron Grimm fronts the band with Tom Waits-style gutbucket of a voice and his supporting players meld the traditional guitar, bass and drums with a violin and lap and pedal steel. Look for a follow-up to the band’s excellent debut album coming in August.

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