2015 SAMMIES nominees are made at Sac State

Marissa Montoya

“Like swimming in a dark river on a hot summer night”

The 2015 Sacramento Area Music Awards- also referred to as the SAMMIES- included a few talented and creative Sacramento State alumni with nominations, and a couple wins, in several categories.

Salt Wizard won Best Folk Rock band of the year. Half of the band’s members, Rachel Lomax and Anthony Ordonez, graduated from Sac State in 2007 and 2003, respectively. Lomax majored in English and creative writing while Ordonez studied graphic design.

Lomax and Ordonez describe their music as a blend of individual influences that form a “folky, dreamy groove.”

“Like night swimming in a dark river on a hot summer night,” described Lomax, who sings and writes half of Salt Wizard‘s songs, as well as plays the guitar and piano.

Lomax is not the only multi-talented Salt Wizard member. Eric Warren also sings and writes the band’s songs and plays guitar and bass. Ordonez plays the drums and does graphic design work for the band.

The band’s array of talent helps them manage all aspects of their career from Warren and Ordonez creating the graphic design for their last album to Warren recording and mixing at the band’s home studio, Riverbank Records.

While Ordonez misses hanging out in the Terminal Lounge in the Union, Lomax said she misses the infamous squirrels of Sac State.

“Sac State squirrels are fearless creatures,” recalls Lomax.

The winner of the pop/rock category was Humble Wolf, who also boast a Sac State alumni and recently performed at a Nooner concert on campus Feb. 28. Bassist David Albertson graduated from Sac State in 2012 with a degree in music business. Other band members include lead singer and guitarist Jason Angrove, lead guitarist Chris Winger and Jesse Sherwood on drums.

“Our music is like, if the Black Keys met the Foo Fighters at a Led Zeppelin show at Madison Square Garden, and all of them became good friends,” said Albertson.

Also nominated for a SAMMIE in the singer/songwriter category was Rebecca Peters, who described her music as a mix of soul, folk and pop. Although she admits she is not yet a complete rock star, she has started to play guitar at some of her shows.

Peters studied public relations at Sac State and attributes a lot of her success to the skills she learned in classes and the supportive groups she networked with during her time at Sac State.

“Public relations allowed me to explore a different career option, but also further my career in music through the understanding of self-promotion and strategic marketing that it instilled in me,” said Peters. “Of course the friendships and relationships that I made at Sac State also helped to propel my music in more way than one, providing inspiration and content for songs, but also an immensely supportive group of friends that also became a thriving fan base.”

Peters credited the Public Relations Student Society of Sac State as being one of her largest support systems, allowing her to maintain connections that ultimately would not be available to her if not for Sac State.

Ordonez of Salt Wizard agreed that the students at Sac State helped to motivate his music.

“I met a lot of people with different musical tastes while at Sac State,” said Ordonez. “I think the music they introduced me to helped shape the way I play drums now.”

Although Lomax, also of Salt Wizard, blames early morning classes for keeping her from playing very much while in school, she also gave credit to Sac State for partially inspiring her music.

“The contemporary poetry writing class I took with [professor] McKinney was awesome and definitely influenced my lyrics,” said Lomax.

Albertson said that Sac State taught him to work hard, be goal oriented and multi-task.

Ordonez explained that although music is a huge passion of theirs, all the members of Salt Wizard have day jobs as well and they practice after work and play gigs on the weekend.

“Do it because you love it,” said Ordonez. “Find a group of people you share the same musical interests with and jam a bunch.”

Peters also believes her fellow musicians should pursue what they love and have a passion for, whether it be in the music industry or in medicine.

“Ignore everything inside that says the pursuit of music is not logical,” advised Peters.

Follow Salt Wizard, Humblewolf and Rebecca Peters on their Facebook pages to be inspired by their soulful music and see what all the SAMMIES buzz is about.