H-F students win most talented teens at the 2017 Chicago Music Awards

  The McDowell brothers, Carlton, left, and Peyton, 
  play the blues at the Homewood Farmers Market 
  last summer.
(Photos by Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The McDowell Brothers, Carlton and Peyton, were named Most Talented Teens in the 2017 Chicago Music Award contest on Saturday, March 18. 

CMAs are awarded based on nominations and votes from the public. 

Their debut recording, “A Tribute to Inspiration,"  was released last year.

CMA officials called the recording "a mature mix of Delta blues, traditional jazz and thoughtful soul music." 

The McDowell Brothers are both students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and are active in the music department. They performed several times at the Homewood Farmers Market in 2016.

“Thank you to everyone who voted for us,” Carlton said. "A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this music project, so we really appreciate the recognition that this CD is receiving.”

Peyton McDowell has been playing the bass guitar since the age of 7, and his brother Carlton began playing the piano at 8 years old. Carlton also plays the drums and guitar. 

Through their grandmother’s love for blues music and many talented music educators and musicians, the McDowell Brothers have developed a broad appreciation for music.
The brothers called the recording project an ode to all of their music teachers in and out of the classroom. 

Carlton, 17, and Peyton, 14, said they have been influenced by some of Chicago’s best blues and jazz musicians and singers. The album includes music or arrangements by those very teachers, including Fernando Jones, John Falstrom, Frank Anastos, Rose Reed and the entire family of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jimmy Reed, Dr. Roosevelt Griffin, and influential artists Jamiah Rodgers and Brother Jacob Schulz. 

The inside of the CD cover also includes a dedication to the music teachers of Homewood School District 153.

"Tribute to Inspiration" starts off heavy with two blues remakes of Jimmy Reed’s songs, “I’m a Love You” and “Close Together.” The songs are sung by Rose Reed, daughter of Jimmy Reed, and his grandchildren. 

The album includes songs arranged, performed and composed by Carlton and Peyton, topped off with a jazz cover of Billy Preston’s, “With You I’m Born Again.” 

The 36th Annual CMA event was held at the Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium in Chicago. The CMA event is Chicago’s biggest music night and features 20 genres of music, according to organizers.

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