Friday, February 1, 2019

Blues News You Can Use

It's been a busy week, the first of several in a row, but there's been a lot to happen in the blues world over the past couple of weeks.  Let's take a look......

The 2019 International Blues Challenge took place last week in Memphis.  Here are the big winners:

1st Place

Ms. Hy-C & Fresh Start (St. Louis Blues Society)

(Photo by Laura Carbone)

2nd Place

Sammy Eubanks & the Work’in Class (Washington Blues Society)

3rd Place

Celso Salim Band (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society)

Gibson Guitar Award

Gabe Stillman (Billtown Blues Association)


1st Place
Jon Shain (Triangle Blues Society)

(Photo by Kim Hawks)
2nd Place
Theresa Malenfant & Scott Medford (East Coast Blues Society)

Memphis Cigar Box Guitar

Steve Strongman (Grand River Blues Society)

(Photo by Laura Carbone)

Lee Oskar Harmonica Award

Darryl Carriere, the Celso Salim Band (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society)

Best Self-Produced CD

Lock Up the Liquor – The Little Red Rooster Blues Band (Central Delaware Blues Society)

A few weeks ago, the nominees for the 40th Annual Blues Music Awards were announced:

Acoustic Album
A Woman’s Soul, Rory Block
Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
Global Griot, Eric Bibb
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice
Acoustic Artist
Ben Rice
Guy Davis
Hadden Sayers
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Album of the Year
America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
The High Cost Of Low Living, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Rough Cut, Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci
B.B. King Entertainer
Beth Hart
Bobby Rush
Lil’ Ed Williams
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Band of the Year
Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars
Larkin Poe
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Welch-Ledbetter Connection
Best Emerging Artist
Burn Me Alive, Heather Newman
Free, Amanda Fish
Heartland And Soul, Kevin Burt
Tough As Love, Lindsay Beaver
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice
Blues Rock Album
The Big Bad Blues, Billy F Gibbons
High Desert Heat, Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Live At The ’62 Center, Albert Cummings
Poor Until Payday, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Winning Hand, Tinsley Ellis
Blues Rock Artist
Billy F Gibbons
Eric Gales
J.P. Soars
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Tinsley Ellis
Contemporary Blues Album
America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
Belle Of The West, Samantha Fish
Chicago Plays The Stones, The Living History Band
Hold On, Kirk Fletcher
Wild Again, The Proven Ones
Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Kenny Neal
Rick Estrin
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon
Danielle Nicole
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Scot Sutherland
Willie J. Campbell
Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel
Instrumentalist - Guitar
Anson Funderburgh
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Laura Chavez
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl
Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Billy Branch
Bob Corritore
Dennis Gruenling
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Instrumentalist - Horn
Doug James
Jimmy Carpenter
Kaz Kazzanof
Mindi Abair
Nancy Wright
Vanessa Collier
Instrumentalist - Vocalist
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Janiva Magness
Michael Ledbetter
Shemekia Copeland
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Fiona Boyes
Lindsay Beaver
Ruthie Foster
Sue Foley
Trudy Lynn
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh
Marcia Ball
Mike Finnigan
Song of the Year
“Ain’t Got Time For Hate,” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough
“Angelina, Angelina,” written by Anthony Geraci
“Cognac,” written by Buddy Guy, Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming
“No Mercy In This Land,” written by Ben Harper
“The Ice Queen,” written by Sue Foley
Soul Blues Album
Back In Business, Frank Bey
Every Soul’s A Star, Dave Keller
I’m Still Around, Johnny Rawls
Love Makes A Woman, The Knickerbocker All-Stars
Reckoning, Billy Price
Soul Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers
Barbara Blue
Candi Staton
Thornetta Davis
Whitney Shay
Soul Blues Male Artist
Frank Bey
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell
Traditional Blues Album
The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
The High Cost Of Low Living, Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
The Luckiest Man, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Tribute to Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell & the Bell Dynasty
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci
Traditional Blues Male Artist
Anthony Geraci
Cedric Burnside
James Harman
Lurrie Bell
Nick Moss

(Photo by Jennifer Noble)
Finally, the Blues World was rocked by a couple of untimely demises over the past couple of weeks.  Just before the I.B.C.'s began, it was announced that singer/guitarist Mike Ledbetter had suddenly passed away at the very young age of 33.  Ledbetter was nominated for two BMA's for Singer and Entertainer of the Year and for Band of the Year with the Welch-Ledbetter Connection.  Ledbetter and guitarist Monster Mike Welch had won the 2018 BMA for Best Traditional Blues Album for their collaboration, Right Place, Wrong Time (which also made FBF's Top Ten for 2017, for what it's worth).  He also was previously a singer/guitarist in the Nick Moss Band and appeared as a guest vocalist on Ronnie Earl's Father's Day album a couple of years ago.  He was just beginning to make his mark in the blues community, and was from all accounts a devoted family man.  Please keep his friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

(Photo  by Jennifer Noble)
Singer/guitarist Quintus McCormick passed away earlier this week, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, at age 61.  McCormick's brand of blues leaned heavily on the soul side with his smooth vocals, but he was also a fine Windy City-styled blues guitarist as well.  He relocated from Detroit to Chicago, playing with J.W. Williams' Chi-Town Hustlers while in college, and later backing James Cotton, A.C. Reed, Lefty Dizz, and Otis Clay.  He later formed his own band in the mid-90's and cut three fine albums for Delmark, the most recent was Still Called The Blues, in 2012.