This always hotly contested category had several different finalists for 2022 than in years past, but singer and acoustic-guitarist performer Jason McKenzie topped them all. McKenzie hails from Pawnee and often spends his time gigging in the smaller towns and villages around Springfield, playing restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries that appreciate his easy-going manner and powerful, on-the-money voice. One night he's in Carlinville or Taylorville, the next in Chatham or Buckhart or Witt. Then the weekend after, it's downtown Springfield or maybe Pawnee or Auburn, Diveron or Rochester.
His choice of song material sets him apart from the average guy with an acoustic guitar as he takes on a wide range of popular and eclectic artists that compliment his extensive and pleasing vocal range. At a McKenzie show, expect to hear tunes from a variety of acts that cut across generations of music listeners including Black Crowes, Modern English, Van Morrison, Stealers Wheel, Jason Isbell. John Denver, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Petty, just to give you a sampling of the company of songs McKenzie likes to keep.
And as the surest sign he knows how to please his audience, you can sure bet McKenzie plays the same spots again and again as a return performer, reminding us why voters chose him as our best male vocalist of 2022.