Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s decision to wear an all-black ensemble to this year’s Washington Area Music Awards ceremony was a prescient one. Even with Carpenter among the crowd that packed the Washington Hilton, there was a noticeable pall over the festivities. The numerous scripted eulogies that were delivered for recently (Danny Gatton, Jerry “the Bama” Washington, Quentin “Footz” Davidson) and not-so-recently (Dave Allen) departed pillars of the local scene lent a morbid ambience to the proceedings. Eve Zibart got caught up in the mood and gave a teary-eyed death notice for her “Dr. Nightlife” column from the podium. The normally hyper-positive leader of C.J.’s Uptown Crew, Carl “C.J.” Jones, used his time at the mike to observe the passing of local publisher Calvin Rolark. The night’s biggest winner, Bill Kirchen, who collected eight Wammies and must have logged a couple miles just running between his table and the stage, didn’t want to screw things up with a feel-good speech. So he asked attendees to take note of Too Much Fun drummer Dave Elliott’s imperfect health. “He’s in the hospital getting a new hip,” Kirchen explained.