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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11th, 2018

LITTLE STEVEN TO COLLABORATE WITH THE BLUES FOUNDATION AS PART OF ITS ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF ITS 2018 BLUES HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES AND BLUES MUSIC AWARD NOMINEES AND WINNERS
The sounds, and the stars, of the blues rule Memphis when Blues Music Week kicks off on May 8.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There has never been a Blues Music Week quite like one that will be happening this May, and it all starts and ends with Little Steven Van Zandt. Back in January, Little Steven served as a finals judge for the International Blues Challenge, and came away so impressed with the Blues Foundation’s work to preserve blues heritage and celebrate blues recording and performance that he offered to return as the host of the Blues Music Awards in order to help bring even greater awareness to the significance of this music form. He will launch Blues Music Week with a special Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul show at Memphis’ Minglewood Hall on Tuesday, May 8. Then, on Thursday, May 10, he’ll emcee the biggest awards show in Blues at the Cook Convention Center, where he will be joined on stage by such big-name award presenters as Steve Miller, Joe Louis Walker, Janiva Magness, Tito Jackson, Candi Staton, and Tony Joe White.

Wednesday, May 9 holds its own rewards for music fans when The Halloran Centre for Performing Arts will open its doors for the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. There is a cocktail reception at 5:30 pm, which leads into the ceremony at 6:30 pm. This event is open to the public; tickets are $75 per person and are available at 2018 Blues Hall of Fame Ceremony Tickets

The 39th class of Hall of Fame inductees features an illustrious lineup: guitar great Roebuck “Pops” Staples, the incomparable drummer Sam Lay, the renowned blues pianist and songwriter Georgia Tom Dorsey, the acclaimed Chicago blues band The Aces, and the first “Queen of the Blues,” singer Mamie Smith.

After the joy-filled BHOF ceremony concludes, everyone is invited attend Big LLou’s 6th Annual Blues Hall of Fame Tribute Jam & Juke Joynt Party at the Warehouse. The show, which begins at 9 pm, serves as a fundraiser for the Blues Foundation and Generation Blues, a program that sends qualified music students to blues camps or workshops to study their instrument of choice.

The Blues Hall of Fame Museum is the starting point for the festivities on Thursday, May 10. Visitors will get a first look at newly installed memorabilia from its 2018 inductee class, to include such items as Sam Lay’s cape and cane to Aces’ member Louis Myers’ harmonica. Then, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., the museum will host a special meet-and-greet with painter Michael P. Maness, whose art is currently on display in its Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise Gallery. The exhibit showcases his portraits of Blues Hall of Famers and past Blues Music Award winners, and many are signed by the performers represented in the works. Don’t be surprised if a number of the musicians depicted in the paintings visit this program to sign paintings. All the artwork is available for purchase, with a portion of each sale being donated by the artist to the Blues Foundation.

Also May 10, from noon-2:30 pm, the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund will hold health screenings for all musicians, free of charge, on the mezzanine level of Sheraton Hotel, which is the official BMA host hotel. MusicCares will be on hand to fit musicians who qualify for custom-made ear molds to protect their hearing. Additionally, The Memphis, Chicago and Texas chapters of the Recording Academy will host their annual BMA reception, at 1 pm. Taking place at the Sheraton Downtown Memphis Hotel, this event is open to all BMA attendees.

The day’s main event is the Blues Music Awards, which starts off with a reception beginning at 5:30 pm in the Grand Lobby of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. There will be live music from various nominees, along with a cash bar. The BMA ceremony, hosted by Little Steven, commences at 7 p.m. sharp in the Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom. The exciting evening includes a seated dinner, 26 award presentations and a full night of nominee performances. The fun will spill out into the Grand Ballroom’s foyer, where you’ll find a one-of-a-kind silent auction. BMA tickets are available to the public and are on sale now — $150 per person or a table of 10 for $1500 — at www.blues.org/ .

The first big event for Little Steven during Blues Music Week is the Minglewood Hall concert on Tuesday, May 8. This Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul show is part of their landmark tour benefiting the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation’s TeachRock initiative, which is centered around a national middle and high school curriculum. This outreach program fits in with the Blues Foundation’s own educational mission to bring more blues to the next generation. Before the concert’s sound-check, the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation will also host free TeachRock Professional Development Workshops, and educators who attend will receive a complimentary ticket to that evening’s show. Educators in the Memphis area can contact Christine@RockAndRollForever.org for more information.

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 over 4,000 individual members and close to 200 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, 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. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.

About the Blues Hall of Fame Museum: Since opening in May of 2015, the Blues Hall of Fame Museum has become a must-see destination for blues aficionados and casual fans alike. Through its ten permanent galleries and the Upstairs Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise Gallery’s temporary exhibit space, the museum exposes, educates, and entertains visitors, providing them a unique way to explore blues culture and history, while also highlighting its 400 inductees. Visitors can use interactive touchscreens to access databases that allow them to hear music, watch videos, and read stories about every museum’s inductees. Guests can also view one-of-a-kind memorabilia, from musical instruments and tour attire to awards and artwork. Located at 421 S. Main Street, Memphis, the museum is open seven days a week (Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m.). Admission is $10 per person; free for children and Blues Foundation members. The museum is also available for private parties and events after hours. For more information, call 901-527-2583.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6th, 2017


THE BLUES HALL OF FAME WELCOMES ROEBUCK “POPS” STAPLES, SAM LAY, MAMIE SMITH, GEORGIA TOM DORSEY AND THE ACES AS ITS NEWEST MEMBERS ON MAY 9 AT THE BLUES FOUNDATION’S 39TH ANNUAL INDUCTION CEREMONY

Historic recordings by Ma Rainey, B.B. King, Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, Albert King and Booker T. & the MG’s will also be recognized with Hall of Fame induction

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—On May 9, The Blues Foundation will celebrate the 39th class of Blues Hall of Fame inductees in a ceremony taking place at the Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts and Education in Memphis, Tennessee. This year, there will be 13 illustrious honorees, representing 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 2018 class of performers covers nearly a century of music making. The inductees include Mamie Smith, the 1920s singer who has been hailed as the first “Queen of the Blues,” and Georgia Tom Dorsey, the blues pianist and songwriter who was Ma Rainey’s accompanist in the 1920s and later Tampa Red’s musical partner. The golden age of Chicago blues is represented by renowned band The Aces (featuring Louis Myers, Dave Myers, and Fred Below) and the legendary drummer Sam Lay. The late Roebuck “Pops” Staples will be joining his daughter Mavis, a 2017 inductee, in the Blues Hall of Fame.

B.B. King ’s 1967 album Blues Is King is this year’s Classic of Blues Recording Album entrant, while the five classic blues recordings feature Ma Rainey’s “See See Rider Blues,” Albert King ’s “Cross Cut Saw,” Joe Turner’s “Roll ’Em Pete,” Booker T. & the MG’s “Green Onions,” and Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man,” the B side to “Bo Diddley,” which was inducted last year as a Classic of Blues Recording.

The year’s honoree in the Non-Performer category is Al Benson, the disc jockey, promoter, and music entrepreneur who was the long-time powerbroker of the Chicago blues scene. The 2018 pick for the Classic of Blues Literature is I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy , the authoritative 2011 biography written by Bob Riesman.

May 9’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will kick off at the Halloran Centre (225 South Main Street, Memphis) at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, which will be followed by formal inductions at 6:30 p.m. More music magic continues the next evening, May 10, when the Blues Foundation presents the 39th Annual Blues Music Awards at Memphis’ Cook Convention Center. Both events are open to the public and tickets are now on sale at THIS LINK . The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tickets cost $75 per person; Blues Music Award tickets are $150 per person.

As part of the Induction Ceremony, the Blues Hall of Fame Museum is securing special items representing each of the new inductees, and those artifacts will be installed and available for viewing beginning May 9.

Since opening in May, 2015, the Museum has been a treasure for both serious blues fans and casual visitors. Offering intriguing exhibits (including traveling exhibits that rotate in conjunction with major Blues Foundation events) and in-depth history, the museum educates and entertains visitors with all that is blues culture, while 10 individualized galleries feature interactive touchscreen displays along with three master databases where they can hear the music, watch videos, and read the stories about each of the Hall of Fame’s over 400 inductees. Additionally, each gallery displays an array of cool items: album covers, photographs, historic awards, unique art, musical instruments, costumes, and other one-of-a-kind memorabilia such as R.L. Burnside’s guitar, Koko Taylor’s dress, Otis Spann’s piano, Eddy Clearwater’s Indian Headdress, and Charlie Musselwhite’s harmonica.

The Blues Hall of Fame Museum was built through the generosity and support of blues fans so that it would serve all four components of the Blues Foundation’s mission: preserving blues heritage, celebrating blues recording and performance, expanding awareness of the blues genre, and ensuring the future of the music. The Museum ( 421 S. Main St., Memphis ) is o pen Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission for adults is $10; students with ID are $8. Entry is free for children under 12 and for Blues Foundation members. To become a member, visit www.blues.org and click on Join Now, for as little as $25 per person.

ABOUT THE INDUCTEES:
Performers
Roebuck “Pops” Staples was the leader of Staples Singers, formed with his children Pervis, Cleotha, Mavis, and Yvonne. Known as “the first family of gospel music,” the Staples were a rare gospel group that crossed over to fans of rock, blues, folk and soul. This was partly due to the universal appeal of songs like “Respect Yourself,” partly to Mavis’ powerhouse singing, and partly due to Pops’ blues-style guitar playing. He grew up on Mississippi’s famous Dockery plantation, the long-time home of Charley Patton. Patton and Howlin’ Wolf (who frequently performed in the area) inspired Pops to learn the guitar and their influence permeated Pops’ “gospel” guitar work. He won the Grammy’s Contemporary Blues honors in 1994 for his final CD, Father Father.

Sam Lay is a drummer’s drummer. His career stretches back 60 years, and even now, in his early 80s, he still takes the stage on occasion. Lay’s resume reads like an all-star lineup of blues giants: Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Magic Sam, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and the list goes on. A 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Lay accompanied Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and on one Highway 61 Revisited studio session. The Chicago-based Lay also was a founding member of the fabled Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with three other members (Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop) previously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Lay attributes his signature double-shuffle drumming style to the double-time rhythms he heard in church growing up in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mamie Smith earned her place in music history with her recording of “Crazy Blues,” which caused a sensation in 1920. Its success, coupled with her extravagant stage shows, brought her fans across racial lines, which was a huge rarity in those days. A trailblazer, Smith spread the popularity of blues and gave it commercial legitimacy. She also was a pioneering artist in the so-called “race record” market. Smith continued her success through the ’20s and, after some lean years in the ’30s, found a brief second career in film during the early ’40s before her death in 1946. Her final years were shrouded in mystery; she was buried without a headstone, which was rectified a few years ago through the efforts of blues journalist Michael Cala.

Georgia Tom Dorsey was born Thomas A. Dorsey in 1899 in Georgia. He first earned the nickname “Barrelhouse Tom” as a teen playing piano in Atlanta. Moving to Chicago, he joined Ma Rainey’s band in the 1920s. Dorsey also began writing songs, penning some of the most humorous and risqué tunes of the ’20s and early ’30s . He formed a successful duo with Tampa Red from 1928 to 1932, and it was then that he started calling himself “Georgia Tom.” Dorsey subsequently devoted his career to gospel music. He wrote two of gospel music’s most famous songs, “Precious Lord” and “Peace in the Valley,” and become known as “The Father of Gospel Music.”

The Aces were a crucial band in the Chicago blues music scene. The core members were b rothers Louis and Dave Myers and their longtime friend Fred Below. Louis played guitar, Dave played bass and Below was the drummer. They first rose to prominence backing Little Walter, forming one of the most exciting blues combos of the early ’50s. While the Aces were only a unit together for a few years, the Myers brothers and Below all enjoyed lengthy careers as musicians. Their long list of credits include working with Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker, Louis Jordan, and Koko Taylor. Below was a major influence on Sam Lay and their inductions this year mark the first two Chicago drummers to become part of the Blues Hall of Fame.

Individuals: Business, Production, Media or Academic

Al Benson , whose legal name was Arthur Leaner, was a famous (and sometimes infamous) figure during the heyday of Chicago blues from the late ’40s through the early ’60s, parlaying his popularity as a DJ into running a number of other lucrative businesses in Chicago’s black music scene. His fame was so great that both Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton paid tribute to him in song. Benson’s empire includes a broadcasting studio in his home, a television show, record shops, a nightclub, concert promotion and record labels. Benson’s labels released recordings by Albert King, Snooky Pryor, T-Bone Walker, J.B. Lenoir, Sunnyland Slim, and Magic Sam. He also was active in the Civil Rights movement.

Classic of Blues Literature

I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy, by Bob Riesman , has earned a place as one of the most definitive blues biographies since it was published in 2011 by University of Chicago Press. To get the full story on Big Bill, music journalist and blues historian Reisman followed a trail from Chicago to Holland to a church in Arkansas and to a meeting with Broonzy’s grandnieces. Reisman reveals how Broonzy (born Lee Conley Bradley) reinvented himself in name, birthdate and birthplace, along with many other details of his life. The book explores Broonzy’s career as a premier blues artist, influence, mentor, and spokesman in the U.S. and abroad. Broonzy becomes the first artist to be the subject of two books in the Blues Hall of Fame; the 1955 autobiography Big Bill Blues was inducted in 1990.

Classic of Blues Recording (Album)

B.B. King: Blues Is King becomes the third B.B. King album selected for the Blues Hall of Fame, joining Live at the Regal and Live in Cook County Jail. All three were recorded live in Chicago for the ABC label group. This album captures him performing with his band (Bobby Forte, Duke Jethro, Sonny Freeman, Kenneth Sands and Louis Satterfield) at The Club on November 5, 1966 and at the Burning Spear on November 17. The 1967 release was the first one put out on ABC’s BluesWay imprint. While Blues Is King didn’t achieve the initial acclaim of the prior ABC albums, it is now seen as one of King’s best. One reviewer describes King’s performance on this album as “both cathartic and awe-inspiring.”

Classics of Blues Recording: Singles

“See See Rider Blues” by Ma Rainey is the original rendition of a song that has now become a standard. Versions of the song (sometimes titled “C.C. Rider”) have found success with Chuck Willis, LaVern Baker, Bobby Powell, the Animals, and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Rainey’s rendition gives a low-moaning rendition that really highlights her title as the “Mother of the Blues. Released in 1924 as the B-side of a Paramount single “Jealous Hearted Blues,” this recording features Rainey’s Georgia Jazz Band, which on this occasion starred Louis Armstrong on cornet, Fletcher Henderson on piano, Charlie Dixon on banjo, and horn men Buster Bailey and Charlie Green.

“I’m a Man” by Bo Diddley was released on the Checker label in 1955 as the flip side to his eponymous “Bo Diddley,” which was selected as a Blues Hall of Fame classic in 2017. Both sides of this single won over listeners. In fact, “I’m a Man” charted higher, according to Cash Box, in several Southern markets, including Memphis. Diddley recorded this song before “Bo Diddley,” using a crack band featuring Billy Boy Arnold, Otis Spann, Jerome Arnold, Willie Dixon and Clifton James.

“Roll ’Em Pete” by Joe Turner amazingly was the first studio recording showcasing Turner’s powerful vocals and Pete Johnson’s rollicking boogie-woogie piano. Released by Vocalion, this now-classic track was recorded just a week after the two appeared at the landmark 1938 “From Spirituals to Swing” concert at Carnegie Hall. Some years later, Turner proclaimed that rock ’n’ roll was nothing more than the boogie woogie and blues he and Johnson trademarked in Kansas City. Listen to this exuberant tune and you can hear that there isn’t much of a leap to a rock ’n’ roll standard like Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire.”

“Green Onions” by Booker T. & the MG’s ranks as one of the top instrumentals in the rock, R&B and pop worlds. It reached #3 on the pop charts and #1 on the R&B charts. At its essence, however, this iconic 1962 tune was built around a 12-bar blues groove. The recording was done at Memphis’ Stax Studio by some of their best session musicians: Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Lewie Steinberg and Al Jackson. While neither the tune nor the band had a name when they recorded it, when the 45 came out on Stax’s Volt subsidiary and subsequently on the hit Stax re-pressing, it was dubbed “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the MG’s.

“Cross Cut Saw” by Albert King comes with a long, rather convoluted, history. It was recorded in 1941 by both Tommy McClennan and Tony Hollins; however, it was earlier claimed by Lucious Curtis, a bluesman who also recorded some songs for John Lomax and the Library of Congress in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1940. Curtis held on to this one thinking it would be a hit, which it turned out to be in the hands of Albert King around 25 years later for Stax Records. There are several accounts on how the song got to King. He credits fellow Stax artist William Bell, who in turn credits Al Jackson (of Booker T & the MG’s). However it got into King’s hands, he transformed the song into what one writer declared “ one of the necessary pieces of modern blues.”

For complete bios on each of the 2018 inductees, please visit http://www.blues.org/2018-blues-hall-of-fame-inductees-press-release .
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 more than 4,000 individual members and close to 200 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, 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. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.


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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; barbara@blues.org; (901) 527-2583, Ext. 12

ABOUT THE INDUCTEES:
Performers

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.

https://blues.org

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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

Acoustic Album
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

Acoustic Artist
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
Fiona Boyes
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes
Luther Dickinson

Album
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

Band
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
Joe Bonamassa
John Nemeth
Lil’ Ed Williams
Sugar Ray Norcia
Sugaray Rayford

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
Ana Popovic
Janiva Magness
Shemekia Copeland
Susan Tedeschi

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Albert Castiglia
Kenny Neal
Mike Zito
Sugaray Rayford
Toronzo Cannon

Historical Album
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

Instrumentalist-Bass
Biscuit Miller
Bob Stroger
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
R W Grigsby

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

Instrumentalist-Guitar
Bob Margolin
Joe Bonamassa
Kid Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist-Harmonica
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Sugar Ray Norcia

Instrumentalist-Horn
Al Basile
Nancy Wright
Sax Gordon Beadle
Terry Hanck
Vanessa Collier

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Inetta Visor
Shaun Murphy
Trudy Lynn

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Barrelhouse Chuck
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Victor Wainwright

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

Song
“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
Bettye Lavette
Lara Price
Mavis Staples
Terrie Odabi
Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist
Bobby Rush
Curtis Salgado
Johnny Rawls
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell

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
Bob Margolin
John Primer
Lil’ Ed Williams
Lurrie Bell
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
Kathy Bolmer
Briggs Farm Blues Festival
Kyle Deibler
Greaseland Studios
Highway 99 Blues Club
Jay Miller
Jacques Morgantini
James Nagel
Porretta Soul Festival
Steve Salter
Eddie Stout
Suzanne Swanson
WGLT radio
Wolf Records

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.
http://blues.org

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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 .

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Artist Photo