FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2017
MAVIS STAPLES, MAGIC SLIM, JOHNNY COPELAND,
HENRY GRAY AND LATIMORE
ARE AMONG THE NEWEST MEMBERS
OF THE BLUES HALL OF FAME
Six performers, one album, five singles, one book and one magazine founder will be inducted at the Blues Foundation’s 38th Annual
Induction Ceremony on May 10
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Blues Foundation welcomes the 38th class of Blues Hall of Fame inductees in a ceremony taking place on May 10, 2017. This year’s 14 richly deserving honorees represent all five of the Hall of Fame’s categories: Performers, Non-Performing Individuals, Classic of Blues Literature, Classic of Blues Recording (Song) and Classic of Blues Recording (Album).
The six performers chosen for induction include two distinctive vocalists, Mavis Staples and Latimore; a pair of legendary guitarists, Magic Slim and Johnny Copeland; and longtime Howlin’ Wolf sidemen guitarist Willie Johnson and piano-man Henry Gray. They will join the more than 125 performers who already are Hall of Fame members. The year’s non-performer selection is Living Blues Magazine co-founder and radio show host Amy van Singel, who passed away in Sept. 2016.
The Classic of Blues Literature pick is the rightfully recognized Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy’s 1941 memorable autobiography. John Lee Hooker was among the Hall’s first inductees in 1980 and now his 1966 Chess album Real Folk Blues will enter the Hall of Fame too in the Classic of Blues Recording Album category. The quintet of Classic of Blues Recording songs includes Bo Diddley’s signature tune “Bo Diddley,” Tommy Tucker’s much covered classic “Hi Heel Sneakers,” the Albert King hit “I’ll Play the Blues For You,” Son House’s “Preachin’ the Blues” and “I Ain’t Superstitious,” which features 2017 inductee Henry Gray playing on Howlin’ Wolf’s well-known 1961 recording.
The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 10 at Memphis’ Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts and Education. Hosted by the Blues Foundation, the evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a Cocktail Reception, followed by the Induction Ceremony at 6:30 pm. Tickets for this open-to-the-public ceremony are $100 per seat and can be purchased online at: http://bit.ly/2kVoDRG
More festivities occur the following day, May 11, with the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards. Celebrating the past year’s best in blues recordings and performances, this event will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. A pre-ceremony party commences at 5:30 p.m., while the Awards Show, including a seated dinner and featuring performances by many of the nominees, starts at 7 pm. Individual tickets and tables may be purchased for $150 per seat at the same link as above. For more information, contact Barbara Newman, President & CEO; firstname.lastname@example.org; (901) 527-2583, Ext. 12
ABOUT THE INDUCTEES:
Henry Gray , who played piano in the Howlin’ Wolf band and other Chicago blues groups before returning to his native Louisiana in 1968, has rarely been in the spotlight, but has steadily built an impressive resume entertaining audiences around the world with his blues-drenched piano pounding. Gray, born in 1925, is still performing regularly six decades after his first recording sessions in Chicago.
Willie Johnson (1923-1995) recorded only a few songs on his own, but as a sideman his storming barrage of distortion and incendiary guitar licks in the 1950s, especially on the early records of Howlin’ Wolf, earned him a lasting reputation as a groundbreaking commando in the annals of electric guitar playing. Mentored by Wolf in their Mississippi days, Johnson played in Wolf’s band in the South and in Chicago, and recorded for Sun Records in 1955.
Mavis Staples , one of America’s premier singers of gospel and soul music, has expanded her musical mastery with her performances in more blues-based settings in recent years. The blues is nothing new to the Staples family, as Mavis’ father and founder of the Staple Singers, Roebuck “Pop” Staples, was a devotee of Delta blues master Charley Patton back in Mississippi. Mavis, born in Chicago in 1939, remains on her lifelong mission to inspire and uplift her listeners no matter what musical genre she employs.
Johnny Copeland (1937-1997) was one of a bevy of blazing guitar slingers to emerge from the vibrant Third Ward of Houston, Texas, and one of the city’s most powerful singers as well. Establishing himself with a series of blues and soul singles beginning in 1958, he attained national prominence in the 1980s recording blues albums for Rounder Records. His daughter Shemekia has followed in his footsteps by winning multiple Blues Music Awards.
Magic Slim led one of the most relentless, hard-driving bands in Chicago blues history for several decades until his death in 2013. Born Morris Holt in Mississippi in 1937, he earned his nickname from his friend and fellow blues guitar ace Magic Sam. Slim was also known for possessing perhaps the largest repertoire of any blues artist, always able to pick up another song from the radio or the jukebox, enabling him to record more than 30 albums and garner dozens of Blues Music Awards nominations. His son Shawn “Lil Slim” Holt is ably carrying on the family blues tradition.
Latimore, the abbreviated stage name of singer, keyboardist and a songwriter Benny Lattimore, has cut a dashing figure on the Southern soul circuit ever since he began touring the 1970s on the strength of hits such as “Stormy Monday” and his best-known original, “Let’s Straighten It Out.” Latimore, who was born in Tennessee in 1939 but has called Florida home since the 1960s, is now a distinguished and still spirited love philosopher and elder statesman of the scene.
Individuals: Business, Production, Media or Academic
Amy van Singel, known to blues radio audiences as “Atomic Mama,” was a cofounder of Living Blues magazine in Chicago in 1970. She and her former husband Jim O'Neal published the magazine from their home in Chicago until they transferred the publication to the University of Mississippi in 1983. Her radio career began at Northwestern University and included stints at stations in Chicago, Mississippi, Memphis, Alaska and Maine. Amy died in her sleep at her home in Maine on Sept. 19, 2016, at the age at 66.
Classics of Blues Literature
Father of the Blues by W.C. Handy is a monumental opus that is indispensable to the study of American musical history. Published in 1941, the book traces Handy’s background as a trained orchestra leader, his discovery of the blues and the struggles he endured to become a successful music publisher. It is often cited as a primary resource on the earliest years of blues history. No book is more deserving of designation as a Classic of Blues Literature.
Classics of Blues Recording: Albums
The 1966 John Lee Hooker album Real Folk Blues is the latest of several Chess Records’ Real Folk Blues albums to be elected to the Blues Hall of Fame. Whereas the rest of the LPs in the series by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and others were compilations of older recordings, the Hooker album was newly recorded in May of 1966 in Chicago. Hooker was his inimitable and spontaneous self, reworking some of his older songs and improvising new ones, accompanied by his Detroit guitarist Eddie Burns and Chicago sidemen Lafayette Leake and S.P. Leary.
Classics of Blues Recording: Singles
“Bo Diddley” was not only the 1955 hit record that made Ellas McDaniel famous — it also gave him his professional name. The famed “Bo Diddley beat,” an energized update of the old “Hambone” rhythm, rocked the world, and Bo continued to create classics for Checker Records in Chicago with his innovative blend of blues and rock ’n’ roll.
“Hi-Heel Sneakers” by Tommy Tucker was the last blues record from the mighty Chess Records catalogue to hit No. 1 on the charts. Recorded in New York in 1963, the single on Chess’ Checker subsidiary label topped the Cash Box magazine R&B charts in 1964. Tucker’s enticement to “put on your red dress” and hi-heel sneakers has resounded on countless bandstands ever since.
“I Ain’t Superstitious ,” an ominous Willie Dixon composition recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961, is best known to rock audiences through the Jeff Beck Group’s 1968 cover version featuring Rod Stewart on vocals. On the original session for Chess Records in Chicago, Wolf’s band included Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers, Sam Lay and 2017 Blues Hall of Fame inductee Henry Gray.
“I’ll Play the Blues for You,” recorded by Albert King in Memphis for the Stax label in 1971, was written by Jerry Beach, a longtime fixture on the Shreveport, Louisiana, music scene who died in 2016. In Beach’s lyrics, sung with warmth and tenderness by King, the blues becomes a source of soothing and comfort. King’s 45 spent eight weeks on Billboard magazine’s Best Selling Soul Singles chart in 1972
“Preachin’ the Blues,” a two-part single by Son House on the Paramount label from 1930, is a prime example not only of House’s intensity as a Delta blues singer and guitarist but also of his lifelong inner conflict between the lure of the blues life and devotion to the church. House, who did preach in church at times, also sang of the hypocrisy he saw in religion with lyrics such as “I’m gonna be a Baptist preacher and I sure won’t have to work.”
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2016
Memphis' legendary Clayborn Temple, pressed into service at IBC
IBC winner Dawn Tyler Watson (Photo by James Wessels)
IBC winner Al Hill(photo by Brian Anderson)
DAWN TYLER WATSON AND AL HILL SCORE TOP HONORS
AT THE 33rd ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE
260 bands from 38 states and 14 countries filled Memphis with the joyous sounds of the blues during this week-long competition
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Four years ago singer Dawn Tyler Watson reached the top five at the Blues Foundation’s 2017 International Blues Challenge. This year, she left Memphis a winner after grabbing Best Band honors. Not only did Watson wow the judges with her powerhouse vocals, but she did so only months after having triple bypass surgery. Her victory at the IBC, the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition, should serve as a launching pad for the Montreal Blues Society-nominated songstress who has been has been hailed as “one of Canada’s true blues treasures.”
For Al Hill, winning Best Solo/Duo Award represents long-overdue recognition for the hard-working musician. The Michigan native racked up numerous blues awards in his home state before moving to Nashville in 2008. The winner of the Nashville Blues Society’s local challenge , Hill probably is best known for his role as music director for soul legend Bettye LaVette. Hill, whose gritty, soulful sound impressed the judges, was double IBC winner as he also was chosen Best Solo Guitarist in the Best Instrumentalists category.
Brody Buster finished second to Hill as the Best Solo/Duo act, but he didn’t go home empty-handed. Buster, representing the Kansas City Blues Society, was named Best Harmonica Player. The other Best Instrumental Award, for top guitarist in a band, went to Montreal-based Ben Racine, who frequently collaborates with Dawn Tyler Watson. Fellow Canadian JW Jones, representing the Ottawa Blues Society, earned Best Self-Produced CD honors for his album High Temperature. Worthy of recognition too are the Souliz Band featuring Sugar and Spice (Suncoast Blues Society) and Rae Gordon & the Backseat Drivers (Cascade Blues Association) for finishing second and third, respectively, in the Best Band category.
The International Blues Challenge’s opening round kicked off on Wednesday, February 1, with more than 260 bands, representing 14 countries and 38 U.S. states, battling it out on Beale Street to be named Best Band or Solo/Duo act. The quarterfinals and semifinals shows occurred the following two days, with judges selecting the top nine finalists in each category to perform in the big Saturday showdown at the Orpheum Theatre. Besides the Challenge competition performances, the IBC also presented a variety of stellar showcases, and blues fans crowded Beale Street to see the amazing performers playing their hearts out. The Blues Foundation estimated IBC attendance figures at approximately 3,000 people per day.
The IBC, however, wasn’t just about competition. It was also about community. The five-day event opened with a free International Showcase on Tuesday, January 31. Held this year in Memphis’ historic Clayborn Temple, the concert brought together musicians and festival attendees from Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America, along with local Memphians, to celebrate the power and joy that the blues can bring. Whether they were from Poland, Ireland or Israel, everyone spoke the common language of music. This community of the blues played out at packed IBC events up and down fabled Beale Street, which Blues Foundation’s President and CEO Barbara Newman describes at “the Mecca” for the blues.
The power of the blues might have been best epitomized by the conference’s keynote panel entitled “Blues as Healer.” Musicians Walter Trout, Patti Parks and Kenny Neal all shared personal testimonies on the positive impact that the blues have played in their lives, getting them through personal trauma, illness, family deaths, PTSD and more. Dr. Marie Trout shared her research dealing with the healing effect that people have experienced through the blues. The panel’s moderator, journalist and Vietnam veteran Don Wilcock, said he knows music saved his life or at least his sanity when he was overseas but never thought he’d have the opportunity to drive home the power of music to so many, as he was able to at the “Blues as Healer” seminar. He is convinced the music saves lives and he saw the audience weeping and being transformed in front of his eyes.
The role of healing is one that the Blues Foundation takes seriously. Its HART Fund, which provides medical assistance to blues musicians in need, was a strong presence at the IBC, with Health Fairs offering free mammograms; blood pressure tests; screenings for diabetes, cholesterol and other illnesses; even custom-made earplugs provided at no cost by MusicCares for qualifying musicians.
Music education holds high priority for the Blues Foundation, which collaborates with local blues societies for Blues in the Schools programs and provides Generation Blues Scholarships. The result of its youth outreach efforts was well in evidence at the IBC. The Blues Foundation produces a special Youth Showcase on Friday of the IBC, and close to 40 youth bands were sponsored by their local affiliated societies to perform. Each day, you could watch impressive young musicians, some not even old enough to drive yet, playing the blues like they were old masters.
Besides working to build blues’ future, the Blues Foundation strives to maintain the music’s rich heritage. During the IBC, the Blues Foundation bestowed its annual Keeping the Blues Alive Awards, which salute non-performers who have worked to keep blues flame glowing strong. This year’s 16 honorees, who were recognized at a luncheon on February 3, included record labels, music festivals, recording studios, clubs, radio stations, publications and individuals located all around the world.
The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge was sponsored in significant part by ArtsMemphis, AutoZone, Beale Street Merchants Association, BMI, First Tennessee Foundation, Gibson Guitar, Lee Oskar Harmonicas, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Tennessee Arts Commission, Canada Department of Tourism, and VividPix & Design.
Stage Sponsors for the 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge included Redirect Health, Global Electronic Technology, I-55 Productions, Four Roses Bourbon, Handy Brothers Music Company, West Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Notodden Blues Festival, Berkshire Hathaway – Taliesyn Realty, and Biscuits and Blues.
Media sponsors included Beale Street Caravan , Big City Rhythm and Blues, Blues Festival Guide, Blues Matters!, Downtowner, Elwood’s Bluesmobile, Living Blues, and Music on the Couch.
About the Blues Foundation : This world-renowned, Memphis-based organization holds a mission to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Blues Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The recent opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, in Memphis, now adds the opportunity for music lovers of all ages to interact with the music and the history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2017
THE BLUES FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES
38TH BLUES MUSIC AWARD NOMINEES
Awards ceremony to be held May 11, 2017 in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Blues Foundation is pleased to announce the nominations for its annual Blues Music Awards, which the international organization will present on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded blues musicians, The Blues Music Awards upholds its rich cultural tradition by honoring the past year’s superior achievements in blues performance, songwriting, and recording. This annual ceremony represents the premier event for blues professionals, musicians, and fans around the globe.
Sugar Ray Norcia, individually, and collectively with his band, The Bluetones, received the most nominations with seven, including B.B. King Entertainer Award, Best Song, Best Album and Best Band. The total reaches ten with the inclusion of his Bluetones bandmates Monster Mike Welch (Instrumentalist-Guitar), Michael “Mudcat” Ward (Instrumentalist-Bass) and Anthony Geraci(Pinetop Perkins Piano Player). Chicago-based guitarist Toronzo Cannon garnered four nominations and he faces off against Norcia in both the Best Song and Best Album categories. Best Album probably ranks as the most competitive category, with Norcia and Cannon battling Bobby Rush, Kenny Neal, William Bell and the Nick Moss Band, who all have three nominations.
Several nominees will be defending their titles won at last year’s Blues Music Awards. Instrumentalist-Harmonica winner Kim Wilson is one of this year’s nominees, and Cedric Burnside might again claim the Instrumentalist-Drums crown. Shemekia Copeland and Bettye LaVette also return to the categories they won last year (Contemporary Blues Female Artist and Soul Blues Female Artist, respectively), while 2016’s Acoustic Artist winner, Doug MacLeod, is one of this year’s contenders too.
The Awards also honor the next generation of blues performers with the Best Emerging Artist Album category. In fact, two Emerging Artist nominees also are contenders for a second award. Detroit native Thornetta Davis’s “I Gotta Sang the Blues” is up for Best Song, while Terrie Odabi is competing against the likes of Bettye LaVette and Mavis Staples to be named Soul Blues Female Artist.
The complete list of 38th Blues Music Award nominees also can be found at the Blues Foundation’s website — www.blues.org. A ballot will soon be sent to all Blues Foundation members, as they have the privilege of deciding which nominees will actually take home a Blues Music Award in May. Anyone interested in casting a vote to decide this year’s winners may receive a ballot by joining or renewing their membership with The Blues Foundation at any time up to February 28, 2017.
The Blues Music Awards ceremony annually proves to be one of the year’s best shows. Not only does almost every nominee attend, but they also perform, creating a lineup featuring the best of the best in blues all in one evening. More information regarding membership, voting, ticket, and host hotel information can be found at www.blues.org or by calling 901.527.2583.
Major funding is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The 38th Blues Music Awards are also sponsored by BMI, GET and I-55 Productions, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony/Legacy.
The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renowned as THE organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has approximately 4000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international center of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The recent opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, in Memphis, TN, now adds the opportunity for music lovers of all ages to interact with the music and the history. For more information, log onto www.blues.org.
38th Blues Music Award Nominees
Doug MacLeod - Live in Europe
Eric Bibb - The Happiest Man in the World
Fiona Boyes - Professin' the Blues
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes - Live at Briggs Farm
John Long - Stand Your Ground
Luther Dickinson - Blues and Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook) Vol I and II
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes
Bobby Rush - Porcupine Meat
Kenny Neal - Bloodline
Nick Moss Band - From the Root to the Fruit
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones - Seeing is Believing
Toronzo Cannon - The Chicago Way
William Bell – This Is Where I Live
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Sugar Ray and the Bluetones
Tedeschi Trucks Band
B.B. King Entertainer
Lil’ Ed Williams
Sugar Ray Norcia
Best Emerging Artist Album
Corey Dennison Band - Corey Dennison
Guy King - Truth
Jonn Del Toro Richardson - Tengo Blues
Terrie Odabi - My Blue Soul
Thornetta Davis - Honest Woman
Contemporary Blues Album
Al Basile - Mid Century Modern
Kenny Neal - Blood Line
Nick Moss Band - From the Root to the Fruit
The Record Company - Give It Back To You
Toronzo Cannon - The Chicago Way
Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Alexis P Suter
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, A Music Man Like Nobody Ever Saw, Bear Family Records
B.B. King, More B.B. King: Here’s One You Haven’t Heard, Ace Records
Bobby Rush, Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush, Omnivore Recordings
Michael Burks, I’m A Bluesman, Iron Man Records
Pinetop Perkins & Jimmy Rogers, Genuine Blues Legends, Elrob Records
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
R W Grigsby
Monster Mike Welch
Sugar Ray Norcia
Sax Gordon Beadle
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Rock Blues Album of the Year
Albert Castiglia - Big Dog
Mike Zito - Keep Coming Back
Moreland & Arbuckle - Promised Land or Bust
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Let Me Get By
Walter Trout - Alive in Amsterdam
“Blues Immigrant” written by Matthew Skoller & Vincent Bucher and performed by Matthew Skoller on Blues Immigrant
“I Gotta Sang The Blues” written and performed by Thornetta Davis on Honest Woman
“Seeing Is Believing” written by Ray Norcia and performed by Sugar Ray & The Bluetones on Seeing Is Believing
“Walk A Mile In My Blues” written by David Duncan, Curtis Salgado & Mike Finigan and performed by Curtis Salgado on The Beautiful Lowdown
“Walk it Off” written and performed by Toronzo Cannon on The Chicago Way
Soul Blues Album
Bobby Rush - Porcupine Meat
Curtis Salgado - The Beautiful Lowdown
Johnny Rawls - Tiger in a Cage
Wee Willie Walker - Live! Notodden Blues Festival
William Bell - This Is Where I Live
Soul Blues Female Artist
Soul Blues Male Artist
Wee Willie Walker
Traditional Blues Album
Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore - House Party at Big Jon's
Bob Margolin - My Road
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue - Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
Lurrie Bell - Can't Shake This Feeling
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones - Seeing is Believing
Traditional Blues Male Artist
Lil’ Ed Williams
Sugar Ray Norcia
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2016
RISING BLUES STARS BATTLE IT OUT
IN MEMPHIS THIS FEBRUARY
AT THE BLUES FOUNDATION’S
33rd ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE
The Blues Foundation will also bestow 16 individuals and organizations
with its prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Awards
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis’ claim as the “Home of the Blues” will be indisputably evident the first week of February when The Blues Foundation hosts its 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge. Musicians from around the globe will convene in Memphis to compete for cash, prizes, and bookings as they are judged the best in IBC categories, among them Band, Solo/Duo, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica Player, and Self-Produced CD. The Challenge’s alumni include such acclaimed musicians as Susan Tedeschi, Tommy Castro, Delta Moon, Trampled Under Foot, Sean Costello and Grady Champion.
Historic Beale Street will be the site for each of the challenge rounds, opening with the International Showcase on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, quarter-finals on Wednesday, February 1 and Thursday, February 2, and the Youth Showcase and semi-finals on Friday, February 3. The finals round of the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition will be held at Memphis’ grand Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, February 4 beginning at noon. Besides the amazing live blues performances, the five-day-long IBC will also present a variety of lectures, seminars, workshops, film, networking events, a silent auction, and affiliated blues society receptions that will appeal to blues professionals and fans alike.
While the International Blues Challenge looks to the future, The Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Awards honor those individuals and institutions that have helped to keep the blues going strong. As Blues Foundation President and CEO Barbara Newman proclaimed, “Our 2017 Keeping the Blues Alive recipients are all wonderful examples of blues flame keepers, each working in their own sphere of influence to move the genre forward while honoring its past.”
The 2017 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:
Baltimore Blues Society
Blues and Soul Records
Briggs Farm Blues Festival
Highway 99 Blues Club
Porretta Soul Festival
These honorees, who will be recognized during a luncheon on February 3, represent a broad spectrum of the music world: record labels, music festivals, recording studios, clubs, radio stations, publications, and individuals with an undying passion to preserve and sustain the blues. They include grassroots blues heroes like Steve Salter, who created the nonprofit Killer Blues Headstone Project so that blues musicians wouldn’t be buried in unmarked graves, and Eddie Stout, who is known as the “Ambassador of Texas Blues” for his work single-handedly running Dialtone Records. The KBA’s spotlight also shines on events like the Briggs Farm Blues Festival, which has been bringing the Mississippi Delta to eastern Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years, and Greaseland Studios, the San Jose recording studio where Kim Wilson, Maria Muldaur, Elvin Bishop, and Charlie Musselwhite have laid down tracks.
2017’s KBA recipients not only cover America coast-to-coast — from the Baltimore Blues Society to Seattle’s Highway 99 Blues Club — but also reveal blues’ international popularity. Wolf Records has been promoting Magic Slim and other Chicago blues acts for over 30 years, and they aren’t doing it from Illinois, but Austria. The Chicago blues were also very important to 92-year-old Jacques Morgantini, known as the Alan Lomax of Europe, who brought many American bluesmen to play in France. The Porretta Soul Festival, meanwhile, has turned a small Northern Italian town into a mecca of soul music, particularly the Memphis variety.
The International Blues Challenge is sponsored in significant part by ArtsMemphis, AutoZone, Beale Street Merchants Association, BMI, First Tennessee Foundation, Gibson, Lee Oskar Harmonicas, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Saint Blues Guitar Workshop, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Tennessee Arts Commission, and VividPix & Design
Media sponsors include Beale Street Caravan, Big City Rhythm and Blues, Blues Festival Guide, Blues Matters!, Downtowner, Elwood’s Bluesmobile, and Living Blues
More information on the International Blues Challenge can be found at http://blues.org/international-blues-challenge/. Passes to the IBC for the entire week’s events are just $100 and add-on tickets for the Keeping the Blues Alive luncheon are available online at www.blues.org or by calling 901-527-2583, ext. 10
About The Blues Foundation: This world-renowned, Memphis-based organization holds a mission to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The recent opening of the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, in Memphis, now adds the opportunity for music lovers of all ages to interact with the music and the history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2016
BUDDY GUY, WALTER TROUT, CEDRIC BURNSIDE, RUTHIE FOSTER,
VICTOR WAINWRIGHT, BETTYE LAVETTE AND THE LATE OTIS CLAY
NUMBER AMONG THE MULTIPLE WINNERS AT
THE BLUES FOUNDATION
37th ANNUAL BLUES MUSIC AWARDS
Ceremony honors several generations of blues performers
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tennessee was packed on May 5 with musicians, music business professionals and fans who gathered to honor the past year’s best in blues. For the 37th year, the Blues Foundation handed out its Blues Music Awards, recognizing the accomplishments of many extraordinary musicians.
Seventy-nine-year-old Buddy Guy, a veteran of 35 BMAs, won both Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for Born to Play Guitar, while 30-something bluesmen Cedric Burnside and Victor Wainwright were also double winners. The Cedric Burnside Project’s Descendants of Hill County was chosen Traditional Blues Album of the Year and, for the fifth time, Burnside was named top drummer. Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots was selected the Band of the Year, with Wainwright receiving the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year title.
One of the evening’s feel-good stories was Walter Trout. After defeating Hepatitis C and liver failure, the veteran bluesman recorded the CD Battle Scars, which nabbed the Rock Blues Album prize, while his tune “Gonna Live Again” was named the Song of the Year. The late Otis Clay posthumously received his first two Blues Music Awards, for best Soul Blues Male Artist and Soul Blues Album for This Time for Real, his collaboration with Billy Price. The late Allen Toussaint also was honored with his first Blues Music Award, the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year.
Other notable winners included Duke Robillard for Acoustic Album of the Year ( The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard) and Mr. Sipp for Best New Artist Album ( The Mississippi Blues Child). Ruthie Foster collected her fourth Koko Taylor Award for Best Traditional Blues Female Artist, while the Bear Family Records’ 5-CD Slim Harpo box set Buzzin’ the Blues picked up the Historical Album of the Year.
Here is the complete list of Blues Music Award winners (final)
1. Acoustic Album: The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard - Duke Robillard
2. Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
3. Album: Born to Play Guitar – Buddy Guy
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Victor Wainwright
5. Band: Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots
6. Best New Artist Album: The Mississippi Blues Child - Mr. Sipp
7. Contemporary Blues Album: Born to Play Guitar – Buddy Guy
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Shemekia Copeland
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Joe Louis Walker
10. Historical: Buzzin’ the Blues by Slim Harpo (Bear Family Records)
11. Instrumentalist-Bass: Lisa Mann
12. Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
13. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Sonny Landreth
14. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Kim Wilson
15. Instrumentalist-Horn: Terry Hanck
16. Koko Taylor Award: Ruthie Foster
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Allen Toussaint
18. Rock Blues Album: Battle Scars – Walter Trout
19. Song: "Gonna Live Again" written and performed by Walter Trout
20. Soul Blues Album: This Time for Real - Billy Price & Otis Clay
21. Soul Blues Female Artist: Bettye LaVette
22. Soul Blues Male Artist: Otis Clay
23. Traditional Blues Album: Descendants of Hill Country – Cedric Burnside Project
24. Traditional Blues Male Artist: John Primer
The night before the Blues Music Awards, the Blues Hall of Fame inducted musicians Elvin Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, John Mayall, and the Memphis Jug Band along with Malaco Records partners Tommy Couch Sr. and Wolf Stephenson. The ceremony, which took place at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts and Education, also honored Jeff Todd Titon’s landmark book Early Downhome Blues: A Musical and Cultural Analysis as well as the songs “Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith, Jimmy Rogers’ “That’s All Right,” Billy Boy Arnold’s “I Wish You Would,” Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers’ “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Blues Before Sunrise” by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell and the classic album Blues in the Mississippi Night. This event also marked the first anniversary of the Blues Foundation’s new home, the Blues Hall of Fame Museum located at 421 S. Main Street in Memphis, Tenn.
The 37th Blues Music Awards were sponsored by Arts Memphis, AutoZone, BMI, First Tennessee Foundation, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony Music/Legacy Recordings. The Awards ceremony was taped for later broadcast in edited versions on SiriusXM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville channel and local public television stations.
About the Blues Foundation:
The Memphis-based Blues Foundation upholds the mission to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the globe. With its Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge, Keeping the Blues Alive Awards and the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, this non-profit organization has helped to maintain Memphis as the international epicenter of blues music. For more information, log onto www.blues.org .