Friday, January 25, 2019

Cream Of The Crop: 39th Annual Blues Music Awards Nominees Announced

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 at 3:36 PM

click to enlarge 2018 solo International Blues Challenge winner Kevin B.F. Burt is now a BMA nominee - TOM DAVIS
  • Tom Davis
  • 2018 solo International Blues Challenge winner Kevin B.F. Burt is now a BMA nominee
The blues, in all its permutations, can be polarizing in Memphis. Many have built their lives around the genre; others are at best indifferent. Alicja Trout, on the Lost Sounds' album Black Wave, expressed a punk's frustration with the style: "This city's filled with reasons to kill/But everybody wants to play the blues."

But the blues as an artistic approach has a staying power that cuts across mere genre. The much-beloved Oblivians made their name, in part, as creators of their own blues/punk hybrid. Meanwhile, rapper Al Kapone and singer Barbara Blue are pioneering a hybrid of blues and rap on their song, "Fish in Dirty H2O." The blues also permeates the two greatest historical legacies of the city, Sun and Stax. And it continues to draw thousands to Memphis.

Standing amid this constant destruction and rebuilding of the form is the Blues Foundation, which can function as a kind of corrective to the whims of the market and its hunger for novelty. Although contemporary blues bands can draw huge crowds in places, they often toil in a kind of parallel universe, with little media attention. And attending the Foundation's gala Blues Music Awards (BMAs) can indeed feel like a alternate reality, with entirely new rules of glamour and achievement. This may explain the deep familial feeling one experiences at the ceremonies. 

This month, the Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the spring's awards event, honoring artists and releases from November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018. This year, the prestigious Blue Music Awards will honor achievements in 26 categories, including two new ones: Blues Rock Artist of the Year and Instrumentalist: Vocals.

Winners will be announced at the 39th Annual Blues Music Awards, scheduled for May 10th at the Cook Convention Center. Any Blues Foundation member, even those just joining now, can vote on the categories. It's a rare opportunity to participate in a uniquely global community (of 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies, representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world). And the vista of faces at the BMAs is indeed international. Moreover, every nominee not only attends the Awards show, but also performs at it – making for an unforgettable evening for blues fans.

Click here or scroll down for the complete list of nominees.

The 39th Annual Blues Music Awards, Thursday, May 10th at 7 p.m. at Memphis’ Cook Convention Center. Individual tickets are $150 per person; Regular Tables for 10 are $1,500 and Premium Tables for 10 are $1,800 each. All tickets can now be purchased  as of January 9th. The Blues Foundation’s hotel block of rooms at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown also opened for reservations on January 9th.

Major funding for the Blues Music Awards is provided by ArtsMemphis and Tennessee Arts Commission. The 39th BMAs are also sponsored by AutoZone, BMI, Ditty TV, First Tennessee Foundation, Gibson Foundation, and Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

40th Blues Music Award Nominees

Acoustic Album:
A Woman's Soul, Rory Block
Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
Global Griot, Eric Bibb
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice

Acoustic Artist:
Ben Rice
Guy Davis
Hadden Sayers
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block

Album of the Year:
America's Child, Shemekia Copeland
The High Cost Of Low Living, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Rough Cut, Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager
Why Did You have To Go, Anthony Geraci

B.B. King Entertainer:
Beth Hart
Bobby Rush
Lil' Ed Williams
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford

Band of the Year:
Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars
Larkin Poe
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Welch-Ledbetter Connection

Best Emerging Artist Album:
Burn Me Alive, Heather Newman
Free, Amanda Fish
Heartland And Soul, Kevin Burt
Tough As Love, Lindsay Beaver
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice

Blues Rock Album:
The Big Bad Blues, Billy F Gibbons
High Desert Heat, Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Live At The '62 Center, Albert Cummings
Poor Until Payday, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Winning Hand, Tinsley Ellis

Blues Rock Artist:
Billy F Gibbons
Eric Gales
J.P. Soars
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Tinsley Ellis

Contemporary Blues Album:
America's Child, Shemekia Copeland
Belle Of The West, Samantha Fish
Chicago Plays The Stones, The Living History Band
Hold On, Kirk Fletcher
Wild Again, The Proven Ones

Contemporary Blues Female Artist:
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist:
Kenny Neal
Rick Estrin
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Instrumentalist – Bass:
Danielle Nicole
Michael "Mudcat" Ward
Patrick Rynn
Scot Sutherland
Willie J. Campbell

Instrumentalist – Drums:
Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist – Guitar:
Anson Funderburgh
Christoffer "Kid" Andersen
Laura Chavez
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist – Harmonica:
Billy Branch
Bob Corritore
Dennis Gruenling
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel

Instrumentalist – Horn:
Doug James
Jimmy Carpenter
Kaz Kazzanof
Mindi Abair
Nancy Wright
Vanessa Collier

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano):
Anthony Geraci
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh
Marcia Ball
Mike Finnigan

Instrumentalist – Vocals:
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Janiva Magness
Michael Ledbetter
Shemekia Copeland

Song of the Year:
“Ain't Got Time For Hate,” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough
“Angelina, Angelina,” written by Anthony Geraci
“Cognac,” written by Buddy Guy, Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming
“No Mercy In This Land,” written by Ben Harper
“The Ice Queen,” written by Sue Foley

Soul Blues Album:
Back In Business, Frank Bey
Every Soul's A Star, Dave Keller
I'm Still Around, Johnny Rawls
Love Makes A Woman, The Knickerbocker All-Stars
Reckoning, Billy Price

Soul Blues Female Artist:
Annika Chambers
Barbara Blue
Candi Staton
Thornetta Davis
Whitney Shay

Soul Blues Male Artist:
Frank Bey
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell

Traditional Blues Album:
The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
The High Cost of Low Living, Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
The Luckiest Man, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Tribute to Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell & the Bell Dynasty
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist):
Fiona Boyes
Lindsay Beaver
Ruthie Foster
Sue Foley
Trudy Lynn

Traditional Blues Male Artist:
Anthony Geraci
Cedric Burnside
James Harman
Lurrie Bell
Nick Moss

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